Alpine treks, world-class food and unrivalled natural beauty – welcome to South Tyrol, Italy’s best-kept secret.
Nestled just south of the Alps, the country’s northernmost province offers a landscape like no other, which is courtesy of the impressive backdrop of the Dolomites mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Such a location means there’s an array of activities for lovers of the great outdoors – and it’s a year-round option too, thanks to the more than 300 days of sunshine the region is graced with every year.
However, it’s not just the clement weather and striking landscape that make a visit worthwhile: South Tyrol’s joint Alpine and Mediterranean cultural heritage influences everything from the region’s food and wine to architecture and design, all of which adds to its eclectic and unique nature.
For centuries, South Tyrol has been renowned across Europe for its fine wines, and its award-winning reds and whites are popular across the globe. More than 20 grape varieties are grown in the region and a day at one of the picturesque vineyards is a must for any budding connoisseur, with the chance to sample native varieties such as Vernatsch, Lagrein and Gewürztraminer.
But nowhere is South Tyrol’s dual heritage more palpable that in its food. As well as the region’s specialities, such as speck – a dry-cured ham – and the famous knödel bread dumplings, South Tyrol also boasts 19 restaurants awarded Michelin stars (more than any other Italian province) with an impressive total of 23 stars between them.
One notable two-star eatery is Restaurant St Hubertus in San Cassiano, where executive chef Norbert Niederkofler – who has previously collaborated with renowned chef and fellow Italian Giorgio Locatelli in London – serves up dishes that showcase local Alpine ingredients.
Thus visitors can rest assured that a trip to South Tyrol will involve the best food and drink Italy can offer, in a setting that’s surely hard to beat.
Visit suedtirol.info for more information
A refreshing combination of South Tyrolean apples and British artisan brewing, Hoila Cider is the first cider to be produced in the Alps. The cider is produced in Cortina, South Tyrol, and was born out of a research project in collaboration with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in Edinburgh, where more than 20 apple varieties were evaluated in order to create a premium blend. At last year’s Apfelwein Weltweit in Frankfurt, Hoila Cider was awarded the prestigious Pomme d’Or for Best Product – the first award of its kind for a South Tyrolean product, and proof that this region can produce quality ciders as well as fine food and wines. hoila-cider.com
This article was published 9 May 2016