Trentino Alto-Adige on the Table – Italian Regional Cuisine
This mountainous region in northeastern Italy is known for its dramatic views and hearty foods like delicious Canderli and speck.
Trentino Alto-Adige: the Region
Trentino Alto Adige is located in north-eastern Italy and stretches across the Dolomite Alps. This region is home to aromatic pine forests, crystal clear alpine lakes and gently rolling, vine-covered hills that lead down to the Veneto plains. Many of the people the live on the high slopes of the mountains are originally from Tyrol and are proud to say they are.
The fortressed castles and mountain dwellings are symbols of their cultural autonomy and protectionist instincts. Towards the South you will find the beautiful mountain valleys, where allegiance shifts towards the ancient Veneto-padano culture; and where agriculture and farming is rife.
Just like the geography and its inhabitants, the cuisine of Trentino Alto-Adige is divided, where half of the food is Central European, and the other half is strongly influenced by its original cuisine. The only thing the two have in common is their reliance on food preservation, which was a necessity during the long winters. The only common thing the two have is their reliance on food preservation, which was a necessity during the long winters. Throughout the region, you can find long-lasting breads, smoked sausages, cheeses and fermented vegetables.
The food of Trentino Alto-Adige
Any leftover bread was and is still used to make Canederli, or Austrian knodel which is large potato dumplings flavored with smoked speck, and mixed with milk, egg and flour. The dumplings are cooked in stock and served in the stock itself, or dry and tossed with sauce. Canederli are more commonly served with spicy meat goulash.
Speck is the region’s most important salami. Often handmade by local farmers, speck which is like prosciutto, is made from a pig’s rear thigh. The meat is slowly smoked so that it will remain edible for months. Mortadella, from Val di Non, is another important type of local smoked salami. As in all mountainous areas, game is eaten throughout the region, and is often served with berry or applesauce, as is the custom in Austria.
Dark forest berries are also used, together with cream or chocolate, in many of Alto-Adige’s classic desserts. The most famous dessert is in undoubtedly the Strudel, where a simple sheet of pastry dough is rolled up with apples and spices. Val di Non is known to have the perfect growing conditions for apple trees. In the valleys, the desserts resemble that of the sweets in Veneto.
The “Torta Fregolotta”, which is a crumply almond tart, and Grostoli, a type of fritter, are both made from simple recipes that pair well with the excellent wines of the region.