Well, we harvest the chives, wash, and chop them and add browned sunflower seeds. Then we add a clove of garlic, a little grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt. Fill into jars and seal with seed oil.
Et voilà. Chives-pesto, perfect for pasta.
A sunny day, clear skies.
At the Sparerhof the weather is always nice. If you work in tourism like the concierge, the weather is "always nice", even when it rains.
But today it was actually nice. So what to do with such splendid weather?
How about we pay our colleague Anton Dalvai a visit.
Where to then? Onwards to Montan, south of Bozen. From Montan we go on to Gschnon where the Dorfner restaurant is situated.
Anton, owner and chef, has been working behind the stove since he was a boy.
For him cooking means: "Think global, act regional, for us, that’s a thousand meters above sea level."
This is one of Anton's core beliefs; next to his hotel and restaurant is the family-run farm, which is a source of inspiration and success for Anton.
Mere meters form the restaurant, they grow many of the ingredients they use in their dishes themselves. The concierge is visiting for the second time and the food still tastes excellent, each dish carefully and masterfully prepared.
Great attention to details is put into everything. Even the porcelain and cutlery, right down to the glasses in which Baron Longo's "Solaris" wine is tasted, have been carefully selected.
It might be best not to order a second glass of wine though, as the pathway back is narrow and steep.
Next time it would be best to come prepared. Sturdy shoes, a comfortable backpack. It might even be best to dine and then stay the night. Ah well, next time…
From Munich to Vilpian by bike: 270km, a 16-hour ride, 2500 meters of altitude difference. Starting at 4:00 in the morning, passing Bad Tölz, the Sylvenstein dam, Lake Achen, riding through the Inn valley, up the Brenner and then along the cycle path from the Italian border exactly 100km to the Sparerhof. Could it be a coincidence that the Sparerhof is exactly 100km away from both Reschen and Brenner?
Time for a road trip. The Concierge loads a big quantity of wine from the Cantina Terlano into his truck, to deliver to the wine cellar of a good colleague. Then he continues towards Treviso, more precisely towards Roncade, on his own initiative, to visit the Bekeke winery, whose wines were created by Simone Maculan, agronomist, and oenologist.
The journey continues, with the aim of loading a pallet of Prosecco in Valdobbiadene and then continuing towards Belluno to buy new glasses.
After Belluno a short detour to the Dolomites, which are particularly beautiful in this early summer sunshine, and then back to the Sparerhof.
A detour that is strenuous but rewarding!
At least that was the plan...
From Terlan we take the A22 motorway in the direction of Modena; in Verona we leave the motorway and follow the road until the Oppeano exit. This is what the navigator indicates after all, and then... JUNCTION! abrupt braking, clutch and... Hello? The clutch won't work.
HI-VIS vest pulled out of the car drawer, safety triangle on the road and the next car-workshop called. With all these fine wines in the car... Fortunately, the depot where we wanted to bring the wines is only a few kilometres away. One phone call and one reloading later, the car is still in the same place, but at least without load.
At lunchtime, the car is at the mechanic and the concierge is busy with phone calls to postpone or cancel appointments, a trip to the Dolomites? Impossible.
Lunch consists of a porchetta sandwich and a glass of Soave in the green of the Veronese hinterland.
The emergency plan was to stay overnight in Verona and continue the planned tour the next day after the car was repaired. However, as shops, restaurants and maybe even hotels might be closed during the Corona pandemic, it was best to return that day by regional train. Verona - Bolzano.
Two days later: return to Verona. This time with the Freccia Argento, the Italian version of the Shinkansen, the Japanese super-fast train. In the meantime, the car was repaired in the workshop. As good as new.
The concierge returns to the wine depot, hundreds of pallets of wine are stored here ready for dispatch.
In a corner, a treasure chest:
Many bottles, individually and carefully packed. One label in particular strikes the Concierges eye: Château d'Yquem, 1944. The bottle is in mint condition. It has been carefully stored under optimal conditions, temperature and humidity constantly controlled, for many years. Price at the appraiser? About 10.000€
I wonder who they're selling it to. A rich American? A Russian oligarch? Or maybe a scratch-off winner?
Hah! On closer inspection of the Sauterne bottle, the fill level seemes to be slightly lower than it should be. That wouldn’t fly with a new one.
I wonder who'd want to drink it now. Maybe we'll find out.
Our hotel management software has a useful function.
If a supplier's invoice has not been paid by the due date, it will light up red.
Now that the lockdown is over again, in between all the items that need to be paid in cash to maintain a good relationship with the suppliers, there is also an invoice for the maintenance of our fire extinguishers.
According to the law, these must be checked by our fire safety outfitter from Tisens in their Lana branch.
The office manager of "Firetech", is a childhood friend of the concierge. Time to pay Karl a visit, or "Karele" as he is known to his friends.
On the concierge's day off, equipped with the exact amount of 102,48€ and armed with the South Tyrol Pass - an electronic public transport ticket, he takes the train to Lana - Postal.
On to Karele's office.
A quick affair. A delivery note and an elbow greeting later, the concierge is ready to head out.
Now, what to do with the rest of the day?
The concierge decides to return to the hotel on foot. A nice walk, about 8-9 km.
Starting point is the historical railway locomotive in Lana, along our walk we pass the old "Pomus" headquarters, a cooperative for fruit and vegetables, which in 2009 merged with "Ogol" into "Lanafruit".
A sculpture tells about the work of the farmers. If you continue to follow the route, you will pass historic farms like the Bach and Gerengut, which has been owned by the Karnutsch family since 1739, or the Tonner Hof, where wine was cultivated for the Tegernsee monastery in Bavaria until 1803.
We reach the parish church of Maria Himmelfahrt, consecrated in 1492, a late Gothic church with a bell tower that is 79 meters high.
Here you’ll also find the Schnatterpeck Altar, the largest altar in Tyrol with a height of 14 metres, almost 7 metres wide, made by the master Hans Schnatterbeck in 1503 and decorated with over 80 figures. After visiting the church, it was time for the concierge to get back on the road. 7 kilometres remain.
That’s not nearly far enough for the concierge and so instead, he decided to continue along one of the ancient water channels, the so-called “Waalwege”.
The Waalweg runs for 12 km from Töll to Lana and is thus the longest Waalweg in South Tyrol and offers a view of the church of St. Margaret of Antioch and its beautiful frescoes.
The Waalweg leads right through the middle of chestnut woods, which grow to an average height of over 20-25 metres and can live to be over 500 years old. These trees are cultivated in South Tyrol not only for their edible fruits, but also for their wood. In addition, the chestnut trees provide a habitat for many birds and other animal species and protects the soil from frost and erosion.
The route takes us to the Lebenberg Castle. Along the path we look down on the city of Cermes and walk along the long walls of Lebenberg Castle, also known as Castel Monteleone in Italian.
The castle is the villages symbol. It was built in the 13th century by the Lords of Marling. The castle can be visited, but unfortunately for the concierge, not today. The way is still long, and he is beginning to feel his legs.
The concierge arrives on a hill above Marling and enjoys a spectacular view of the Merano Hippodrome and the city. A short break offers itself.
Unfortunately, this break proves to much for the concierge. The view is just too good and the bench to comfortable. His strength continues to dwindle.
The concierge decides to leave for Marling and heads toward the train station. A short wait for the train later, he boards the train and finally heads home.
Thank you Karele and the bill I had to pay. The concierge was able to spend a nice day because of it.
Spinach and ricotta for the "Schlutzkrapfen"
The concierge recently drove to Lana, which is only a few kilometres from the hotel and where, purely by chance, a farmers' market sells produce on the central street of the village.
When the concierge noticed fresh spinach, he did not hesitate for a moment and made his first purchase. He continued to the concierge's favorite dairy farm, cheese was already on the shopping list and all he needed for his personal favorite meal was ricotta cheese.
Arriving at the hotel, the concierge, wearing the typical Tyrolean blue apron, started to prepare the dough and the filling.
All that was missing now was sage and butter. Local butter and self-grown sage. Some chives and voilá.
"Schlutzkrapfen", dumplings, "Kaiserschmarren", apple strudel... What is your favorite dish? We are curious!
The other day, to stretch his legs (wearing a mask of course, if social distance could not be guaranteed, which was not the case), the concierge walked along the Adige river. Not along the cycle path, but along the riverbank.
Along the embankment the elderberry is in full bloom. At this sight, the various uses of elderberry immediately came to his mind. In his childhood it was a tradition to cut off a branch and make flutes and small pipes from it.
Grandmother always said that you should always bow twice to an elderberry plant. Elder is so healthy that it was also called the poor man's pharmacy.
What the concierge remembers most was the refreshing elderberry juice. A delight on hot summer days.
So, the small, white, star-shaped blossom wildly growing along the riverbank was plucked and used to make elderberry syrup.
And now that the lockdown has been lifted and the measures have been relaxed, we can open the bar again and serve our delicious homemade elderberry syrup.
Water, sugar, citric acid, elderberry, lemon, and organic oranges.
Tasty elderberry juice. Just in time for summer.
#Iorestoacasa continues and the concierge uses the time to clean the attic. Between a lot of wastepaper and objects that will go directly to the recycling centre, there are also some interesting things. A collection of notes, sketches, notebooks and books that should not be lost under any circumstances.
If we look through these books (since we have time for that right now), we discover that one of them is all about cheese. And in South Tyrol we have a large selection of cheese.
On these pages Mrs. Johanna from the Hotel Management School Kaiserhof in Merano lists all the different types of cheese:
1. low fat cheese
2. a quarter-fat cheese
3. semi-fat cheese
4. three-quarter-fat cheese
5. fatty cheese
6. full-fat cheese
Seventh cream cheese:
8. double cream cheese
And then explains how to serve it correctly:
1. the cheese must be taken out of the fridge in time
2.Select the cheese accordingly to menu and taste...
3. etc. etc.
But now comes the point our concierge is interested in.
Under garnishes, with which the cheese can be served, the following can be found:
pears or apples
So finally, we have an answer to the question what can be done with the remaining apples in our refrigerator: Apple chutney.
Now we just need a recipe. Maybe in one of these old books?
From an old cookbook from the hotel management school:
Wash and peel the apples and then cut them into small pieces.
Cut the onion into slices.
Put the sugar in the pot and caramelise it with wine and water.
Add apples and onion and bring to the boil with cinnamon, ground black pepper and chilli.
Then pour the mixture into glasses and let it cool down.
Do not forget to label the glasses, or otherwise you might confuse them with the breakfast jam!
The last box of apples of the 2019 season is gone. When the chutney is ready to be served with the cheese, the concierge will document it here on this blog.
As part of the #Iorestoacasa initiative, the concierge unfortunately can only take photographs in and around the currently empty hotel.
Unfortunately, without the opportunity to explore the wonderful places we have within a few kilometres of the hotel, we have no choice but to look around the archives and look at the photographs taken over the years during this period.
And so the concierge can watch the apple and cherry trees in blossom, or visit the lake of Kaltern and watch his brother-in-law riding his horses through the pastures and mountains of the area.
Meanwhile in our fridge, some apples still wait to be processed…
The apple is in the undisputed centre of our region. Everywhere you look, apples surround us. So of course, our fridge was full of them. And so, due to the lack of work that is currently going on, the concierge was forced to take on a new task. That of apple peeler.
Just like in the old days. The concierges recommended apple compote is the original recipe of Burgl form Völlan. In former times there were no refrigerators or freezers. It was necessary to preserve the apples as well as possible just in ordinary glass jars. So that the apples stayed good all year long.
So, here is how you do it:
Wash the apples well and cut them into eighths, do not forget to remove the stalk and core.
Fill the preserving jars, which you have previously washed with very hot water. When the jars are full, add water, cinnamon, cloves, and star anise.
At this point, preheat the oven to 150, place the jars on a high baking tray filled with water, also called "bain-marie“, and let it bake for 10 minutes.
After this time, you can take the jars out of the oven and let them cool down with the lid down so that they are sealed naturally.
Once cold, it is time to enjoy a perfect apple compote. Perfect for your and our breakfast buffet.
There is still one box of apples remaining in our fridge.
I wonder what the concierge will come up with tomorrow?
Under the sign of Covid-19, Easter 2020 will remain in our memories for many years to come.
The lowered barrier, which protects our customers' parked cars at night, will not go up during the day;
Guests, looking to celebrate Easter with lunch, or celebrating on Easter Monday, hoping to taste this years Terlan asparagus, won’t come;
Nor will white wine Sunday happen, when we were very busy painting eggs and being cheerful in celebrating Easter together, of course, as is tradition, with a good glass of white wine ...
And after lunch the gallery owner Mr. Willy invites us to his art gallery to see the paintings of Lydia Mair - Schwembacher, who missed out on the gallery opening this year and who is missing out on all the passionate visitors.
To make sure that you are not denied the experience that is her art, and to offer you a moment of distraction in these times, we have set up a virtual gallery, which we invite you to visit.
Apple jam is the answer.
Answer to our question what we should do with all our remaining apples.
Here’s the recipe:
Wash your apples, cut them into quarters, remove the stills and seeds
Cook over low heat, adding a good drop of cider (ours is from a local producer in a neighbouring village), for about twenty minutes until soft.
Pass the apples through a strainer, weigh the mash and add about half its weight of gelatine sugar.
Boil everything for another ten minutes.
In the meanwhile, the preserving jars must be sterilized with boiling water.
Finally, fill your sterilized jars with the apple jam, after which they just need to cool down.
As soon as room temperature is reached, the jam is ready for our/your breakfast buffet.
In his youth, the concierge has learned as a kitchen assistant. He would never have thought that this knowledge could still be useful after all these years.
In the face of #Iorestoacasa, or #stayathome, the concierge had the opportunity to take his "old" camera, a Canon EOS 400D, out of the closet and deliver these quick shots to you. Even though the camera is heavy, and the memory card has the size and weight of the latest generation of mobile phones, the photos are still impressive.
Don't worry. These pictures won’t be the last ones you see from here.
Apples, apples, apples. Apples everywhere. Speaking of apples: Since there are no guests around these days, the apples, which are usually given as small presents, have to be processed.
What do you do with apples? Strudel? No, the apples have to be eaten immediately. Apple fritters? No, they're only really delicious when they're hot. Apple juice? No, our neighbour’s been making apple juice for quite some time now and better than we will ever be at it.
What to do with so many apples?
The concierge, as any good citizen should, follows the rules and stays at home during this pandemic. The perfect opportunity to restore order in the drawers of the reception and to get rid of the old mobile phones that were used in daily work. For example, to book theatre tickets for the Teatro stabile, or to order flowers for the anniversary of newlyweds, and, again, to plan the holiday of demanding guests.
Next Thursday, all these mobile phones will be taken to the recycling centre to make room in the concierge's drawer. I wonder if the mobile phones will help another concierge in their next life?
During this time of #Iorestoacasa, or “I’m staying home” the concierge is forced to take a break from his guests. Instead, the takes care of the garden during the absence of the public.
Stay home and