South Tyrolean dumplings on the Moaregg hut
They come in many varieties and even more colours: South Tyrolean dumplings called Speckknödel. The typical South Tyrolean dish made from simple ingredients is a must on mountain pastures and huts.
Manuela shows us the hut. Outside, you can eat on the large terrace. Right next door there are deckchairs to relax on and a small playground with everything a child's heart desires. Inside, we are greeted by a cosy parlour typically called “Stube” with a traditional farmhouse stove – lovingly furnished with lots of wood, it immediately feels homely.
Then we have a look in the kitchen. Armin is already busy cooking, and we look curiously over his shoulder. The pan is sizzling, and the chef is busy chopping. Milk, eggs, salt, pepper, bread, onion, bacon, and chives – everything points to a typical South Tyrolean dish: bacon dumplings. He briefly fries the onion and speck, then mixes the various ingredients together. Making dumplings may sound simple, but it is an art in itself. The consistency, the flavour, and the shape – everything has to be just right. Like almost all chefs, Armin goes by feel. “It's important that the dumplings are well flavoured and rolled tightly so that they don't disintegrate in the water but rise nicely,” he tells us.
It's a classic recipe, where the quality of the ingredients used determines the flavour. That's why the couple buys regional products from local producers and farmers. The meat even comes from cattle of the Moaregg farm itself. With years of experience and great passion, Armin's mother makes the typical Ahrntaler Graukäse, which is a very spicy Alpine cheese. She has already won several awards for her grey cheese.
Passion for the fire
A glance at the menu at the Moaregg Alm reveals that mainly traditional South Tyrolean specialities are served: from typical pancakes called Kaiserschmarren to homemade pasta with chanterelles and ox ragout. His own creations with fresh mountain flowers and herbs, such herb pressed-dumplings, ensure a varied culinary diversity - depending on what is blooming and thriving at the time. He himself defines his cuisine as a mixture of rural South Tyrolean cooking and Mediterranean flavours. Influenced by his great passion, travelling, he is constantly trying out new recipes and experimenting, which is why he also ventures into foreign dishes. “When it comes to cooking, you always learn something new,” says Armin. The Moaregg Alm also organises themed culinary evenings. “Something different” is particularly popular with locals!
However, his favourite thing to do is operate his barbecues and smokers. Cooking outdoors on an open fire when grilling and the smoky flavours when smoking guarantee a real taste experience. He not only conjures up juicy steaks, spare ribs and delicious burgers, but also fruity-sweet delicacies such as grilled peaches.
The finest dumpling dishes
The restaurant slowly fills up, we sit down at a table on the terrace and enjoy the marvellous view across the valley to the Zillertal Alps. Manuela brings us several dishes to savour: a dumpling soup with 3 different dumplings, bacon dumplings with goulash from Andreas's organic cattle and herb pressed-dumplings. Our mouths are watering. Simply delicious! Dumplings are usually served in soup or with salad, but people also like to eat them with goulash or with pickled cabbage and smoked meat. For dessert, we are served a delicious homemade apple strudel. Before we leave, we thank our hosts and get a glass of schnapps. This South Tyrolean custom is a sign of good company. Invigorated, we go for another walk before taking the cable car back down to the valley.
How to prepare the round wonder
If you'd like to put your cooking skills to the test, Armin has given us his bacon dumpling recipe to try. We hope you enjoy it!
- 50 g South Tyrolean bacon (preferably with a little fat or pancetta)
- 100 g dumpling bread, cut into cubes
- 25 g onion, finely chopped
- 1–2 eggs
- about 100ml milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ tablespoon chives or parsley, finely chopped
Cut the bacon into small cubes and fry together with the chopped onion and a little butter until golden brown. Pour the milk over the bread cubes. Add the eggs, finely chopped chives (or parsley), salt and pepper and mix well. Knead well with your hands and work everything into a smooth mass. Leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes. Then form dumplings with wet hands, place in boiling salted water and simmer for 10–15 minutes.