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Gerstensuppe: barley soup

On a fresh autumn evening, during a “Törggele” dinner or after a wonderful day on the South Tyrolean ski runs: there is nothing better than a delicious, hot barley soup.

Gerstesuppe / Barley soup
Gerstesuppe / Barley soup

The barley soup or Gerstesuppe, as it is called in South Tyrol is a dish that never fails in the menu in the fall and winter.

© Comugnero Silvana -

Everyone who travels to South Tyrol should have tried a traditional barley soup at least once. The “Gerstensuppe” or barley soup is a typical farmers’ dish with a very special taste. The ingredients are rather simple, as the mountain farmers frequently lived in modest conditions. However, the taste is excellent.

The barley soup from South Tyrol is served in cosy mountain huts and farm taverns, and in elegant hotel restaurants too. During the “Törggele” time in autumn, barley soup is a real must on every menu. In some holiday regions, such as in Pustertal, the soup is served with a “Tirtl” (baked dumpling, filled with curd, spinach or sauerkraut).

With the addition of vegetables, corn and meat, barley soup is a satisfying meal. This also the reason why it has always been loved by farmers.

The recipe

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 30 gr carrots, celery, wild celery and chopped potatoes
  • 100 gr smoked bacon
  • 100 gr barley
  • 2 l meat soup
  • some butter
  • 1 bay leaf


Chop the onion and roast it in the butter. Then add the vegetables and the barley and let it roast. Then add the soup and the bay leaf. Cook for 1 hour. At this point chop the bacon and the potatoes, add to the pot and cook for another 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to your taste.

South Tyroelan specialities