Although most travel books group the Alto Adige and the Trentino as a singular region, the two prove quite different from one another. While Trentino shares more cultural ties to the Italian provinces of the Veneto, the Alto Adige exhibits many similarities to the neighboring Austria due to the people who live in the region.
The people of Alto Aldige refer to the region rather as Sudtirol, literally Southern Tyrol (a Euro-region that spans from southern Austria to northern Italy). Outside of the main Italian offices, the residents speak mostly German and come from Austrian-Bavarian descent. From this, the people generally appreciate a cuisine rich with ingredients like sauerkraut, horseradish, and liverwurst. As you would see polenta and luganega sausages dominate the menu in the Trentino, you can be more likely to see canederli (bread dumplings, often served with liver), spaetzle and gulasch on any given menu in the Alto Adige.
They say that Sigmund Freud used to come to this town for a Grape Cure, during which you drink five to six glasses of freshly pressed unfermented wine grape juice a day for about a week.
I love Fink for its excellent selection of local salumi, spinach krapfen and the classic canederli with wild mushrooms.
The unabashed consumption of calorie-laden foods at Oste Scuro is impressive. There’s nothing served there that can be termed “light,” from the zuppa di vino to the testino fritto, a breaded and fried head cheese cognate that is worth any heaviness of the stomach that it may induce. Happily, the perfect curative for those heavy feelings of fullness is within easy grasp. Just order at least two of the magnificent grappe or distillati on the extensive menu.
In addition to packing some great grappa to go, Alois will also box up vinegar and other food stuffs for your friends back home.
With a killer wine list led by the exquisite wines from the Laegeder estate, as well as those from Tiefenbrunner, Zur Rose has a lot to offer. This superb restaurant only seats 50 people per meal, so reserve early—the Germans are coming to dinner.