4 October 2018

Alpe Adria cuisine in Klagenfurt

The first edition of a seven day event dedicated to exceptional food

For one week, from the 24th to the 30th of September, Klagenfurt became the heart of Alpe Adria, with dinners prepared by famous chefs from Slovenia, Italy and Austria and a colourful market with 30 selected producers. The latter were all from the countries mentioned above.

As you know I’m often invited to these events, but let me just say that this event was really incredible. I couldn’t wait to tell you all the details about my latest trip to Austria 🙂

The project started last year, with the idea of turning Klagenfurt into the “heart of he Alpe Adria, a region which is united by common traditions, and the territory of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Slovenia and Carinthia”. I was lucky enough to hear all this from Helmuth Micheler, the Executive officer of the Klagenfurt’s Turism Company. Micheler, 44 years old, is a kind, helpful and pleasant person with exceptional ideas, who felt it was appropriate to create this trait d’union in his city. What surprised me most was the care and attention given to every little detail of the event’s organization. The project started a year ago, with the idea of shedding some light onto small local producers, which have less visibility but work with great passion and talent.

These producers were very carefully selected! They were all visited by  Klagenfurt’s Turism Company, which evaluated their professionality and the quality of the products. The work of a well-balanced team with people from all the countries involved.

These seven days started with a series of dinners created by different chefs of this territory, like the famous Antonia Klugmann; then Jure Tomic, Luka Kosir, Gunter Piccolruaz, Christian Cabalier, Stephan Vadnjal and Thomas Kropfitsch. They were welcomed in the kitchens of various Klagenfurt restaurants, where they created a special menu with the chefs of the restaurants, to promote the local cuisine as well as local products. During the event 15 local restaurants promoted their special Alpe Adria menu.

I couldn’t miss out on such a special occasion! I returned to Gasthaus im Landhaushof to try what they had to offer. Bruschetta bread with tomatoes and pumpkin, free-range chicken from a farm in Carinthia served on truffle polenta and a lemon sorbet for dessert.

But watch out. The event is not only about restaurants! The city centre is closed off to traffic and you can walk around the market I wrote about above, to discover the farmers that create these exceptional products. Thirty might not seem a large number, but it took me two days to discover them all properly.

I had even planned a guided tour of Klagenfurt, but I didn’t have time to see everything (here’s the link to a previous article about this lovely city https://www.missclaire.it/blog/11-cose-da-fare-a-klagenfurt/ )

But let’s get started! Here are the stalls I was most interested in. I’ll start with  Natura Tartufi from Croatia, which had the most interesting smell as you passed, it almost seemed to invite you over for a taste! So I stopped by and tried cheeses, sausages, chips as well as oil, sauces and much more. Delicious. My next tip will be to Buzet to discover this incredible place!

Close to this truffle dream there was a cheese stall with two young Slovenians of Kmetija pri Pustotniku; they had cow cheese, sheep and goat cheese. They had tasting cones with cheese and fruit which were incredible 🙂

Our next stop is a Tavagnacco (Udine). Ironic I had to travel to Klagenfurt to discover them. Ladies and Gentlemen I present “Il Campo Incantato” ( the enchanted field). Mother and daughter farm and grow vegetables form the area of Friuli. I bought (and ate in less than an hour) a jar of zucchini wrapped around sundried tomatoes and capers, white asparagus tips preserved in oil, purple onion and aubergines. Everything was very tasty and all natural.

What’s for dessert? I was captured by Cioccolateria Veneziana, a small company from San Donà which works with chocolate in its most delicate and tasty form. They work with cocoa butter and create chocolate bars (dark, white and milk chocolate) with pepper, orange, cinnamon, pistachio and hazelnut. Their recommended product is a chocolate spread with pistachio (I had to by a jar J), or with hazelnut!

Our next stop is in the Dolomites with the cured meats of the Fratelli Billo, that almost melt in your mouth. I can almost still taste them they were so Exceptional. I then tasted a particular seabass from the seas of Slovenia, precisely from the gulf of Pirano, the most delicate you can find!

Next I tried the natural fruit juices of Terra Mater (a local product from Klagenfurt).

We return to Italy next, to Padova where Michele Littamé has a farm with four thousand geese! They have a range of 26 products, with fresh meat, dried and cooked. Their company started in 2001 after farming crisis in the period of Mad Cow disease; from a bovine farm it became a goose farm 🙂

I tried a goose ragù with a plate of gnocchi that had the most incredible flavours! Then I also tried a goose burger with carrot mayonnaise (in the spring they have a pea mayonnaise) and marinated sauerkraut. Their products were selected by chefs like Massimo Alajmo and Norbert Niederkofler! Michele always says “WHO DOESN’T EAT GOOSE ON SAINT MARTIN’S DAY WON’T SEE A CENT!”...I’d trust it!

Next we visit the Zoff farm from Cormons, a small farm which breeds 60 Italian bovines that are fed with organic food; it’s the first cheese farm in Gorizia and started out in the year 2000; they have fantastic products, with A2 milk. Fresh and aged cheeses, cream cheese desserts and yogurt. This specific milk protein is easier to digest and some people can manage it even if they are intolerant to milk! Try it to believe me!

My last stop is a stall from Slovenia with a local folkloristic group that cheered up the crowd J They danced, sang and played all in traditional clothing. They introduced us to their traditions with lots of music, traditional lace, a parade of traditional bicycles and a lot of laughter!

I could write lots more but I’d never manage to write everything. Now we just have to wait for the next edition of the event (that will be held in Klagenfurt) in 2019.

Next year I’ll give you a little warning, because I can’t wait to return to such an event and to introduce the Turism company that organizes the event to a few small producers that could be included in next year’s event, filled with little wooden houses, fresh flowers, delicate perfumes and incredible people that love their work and can’t wait to share it!

Thank you Klagenfurt for your wonderful hospitality, I can’t wait to return 🙂

Ph. LARA PERENTIN 

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