Things become truly exciting when supposed extras like food, location or service actually dominate the scene. Not unlike producers, hoteliers and hosts pull the strings in the background, the evening menu reflects the sequence of scenes like a script, and the red carpet is rolled out for each and every guest. Roll the opening credits and let the enjoyment begin!
A cinematic feast
Such are the cinematic vignettes that take place in the kitchens and parlours of the Bregenzerwald. For the most part, the prowess of the chefs plays a starring role.
What most amazes many visitors to the Bregenzerwald? No, it’s not the wonderful landscape, nor the wild-looking rock massifs, the impressive farmhouses or even the quality of the region’s one-of-a-kind architecture embodied by the homes or buildings. It is indeed the food. And of course the accommodation. There are few regions as marvellous, certainly none that compare to the authenticity of this place, which features a number of outstanding hotels and inns. The reasons why are as diverse as the region itself. But let’s not talk of history, but of good taste instead. Be it food or accommodation, taste is what makes staying here so homely.
The atmosphere of nostalgic flair is vintage Tarantino. When it comes to the characters at the bar of this historic building, Wes Anderson himself couldn’t have imagined such extraordinary and odd characters. Eavesdropping on the regular guests with their typical Bregenzerwald accents and philosophical musings, you’ll feel as though Woody Allen or Billy Wilder may have drawn inspiration here. A hint of Lasse Hallström seems to hang in the air here, permeating the various rooms and especially the kitchen. It’s the food that profits most, because as in his work, it is the interpersonal that lends something special to every masterpiece. The sum of all these elements results in a wonderfully cosy village inn worthy of Oscar consideration. www.taube.at
The setting: a stylish vaulted cellar with bar. The actors: nonchalant locals and people from abroad with a sense of taste. The crew: attentive hosts with exceptional libation skills. The shooting dates: Thursday to Saturday from 8 pm. No wonder that under these conditions it takes several episodes and multiple seasons to accommodate all the story lines! Each and every episode has it all: Mostfest, Bockbierfest, “Bock-auf-Eier-Fest”, Törggelefest, Après-Ski-Party, Burger, Beats n’Beer- Party – there is always something to celebrate. “Binge Watching” quickly leads to addiction and we recommend that you subscribe for the long haul. www.stubo.at
It’s Showtime! As a guest of the Greussing family you’ll feel like a visitor to Universal Studios! In setting the perfect stage for connoisseurs, no expense or effort is spared. For evidence, look no further than the hotel’s renovations. The fruits of this labour are particularly tasty in the restaurant, which features a wine cradle, oversized bottles and a stylish open wine bar. Believe your eyes: Every Wednesday the kitchen team invites guests backstage to a kitchen party. Similar to the restaurant’s bookable Chef’s Table events, take advantage of the opportunity to peak behind the scenes. As the head director and his crew stage a regional 8-course menu at the highest level, this feast for the senses truly takes shape. www.hirschen.at
If the creators of “Game of Thrones” had scouted this location, John Snow and his colleagues in black would have stumbled upon Craster’s keep in the Bregenzerwald. Instead of wildlings and white walkers, you’re more likely to meet like-minded sledging fans, connoisseurs or leisure-minded hikers on the way to this truly wonderful mountain hut. It’s easy to imagine Samwell Tarly indulging in the substantial snacks available (platters of smoked ham, mountain cheese or ‘Wurstsalat’ sausage salads). Should you need to feed the entire Lannister delegation, you can easily pre-order a round of ‘Käsknöpfle’ cheese spaetzle, schnitzel or even oven-fresh roast pork. Unlike in the Frey house, hostess Andrea Schaller pays special attention to guest rights: after meals and drinks, the cosy bedrooms with multiple beds offer space for up to 21 lords and ladies and even include a hearty breakfast delicious enough to have been made by Hot Pie himself! www.bergkristallhuette.com
Krumbacher Stuba Krumbach
At the Krumbach Moor, the creators of horror films and Sherlock Holmes episodes would feel right at home: Mystical fog hugging closely to the ground, a fascinating play of colour in every season, and unusual flora and fauna lend British upland moors their ancient look. While the British, Scandinavians and Romanians attempt to entice tourist flow with alleged horror stories, innovative gastronomes from Bregenzerwald are marketing the culinary aspects of their moorlands. The Mennel family is a proud member of the “Moorwirte innkeeper” group. In contrast to their warm hospitality, at their “Stuba” the only spine tingling thing they serve is offal, which is actually just honest, down-to-earth cuisine. So if indulging in innards is your thing, don’t miss the incredible specialities dished up here! www.krumbacher-stuba.at
Burgermeisterei at Steffisalp Warth
It happens in CSI Las Vegas, The Walking Dead, House of Cards and even The Bold and the Beautiful. Skilful screenwriters capable of breathing new life into a long-running drama are in demand, especially if quota goals are not achieved, audience reactions are too extreme, or should an actor “drop out” unexpectedly. In the end, changes can be quite extensive and far-reaching. This is precisely what happened to the handsome Hotel Steffisalp. Since last winter, the fine art of burger making is now being practiced at the former self-service restaurant. High-quality meat patties from Bregenzerwald butchers, regional cheese and crispy buns from the Walch bakery… the new concept is appealing and obvious and the leading roles are clearly distributed. Following a wave of street-food hype, craft burgers are admittedly nothing new in gastronomy and yet the orientation alone stands out from the many other restaurants popular in the ski resort. Practically speaking: the first season can certainly be viewed as a pilot episode and depending on consumer feedback, the culinary script can always be flipped once again. www.steffisalp.at
S1 Ski Lounge Salober Schröcken
James Cameron meets Willy Bogner: The steel-blue sky forms a perfect contrast to the white of the ski slopes. The entire piste sparkles under the sun’s rays. A group of casual skiers comes into focus. Aesthetically, skilfully and dynamically, they glide over the slopes, their turns are captured in slow motion. And yet something seems to be amiss as again and again two of the protagonists’ eyes cross. Unexpectedly, the music changes from dynamic to dramatic. The sequence of cuts becomes shorter and the tempo increases. Will there be a collision? A fall? A rescue snowmobile? Perhaps a helicopter? At this moment of great excitement, the group reaches the Salober valley station. The music relaxes. The wide-angle shot showcases the entire ski arena with its new, super-cool S1 Ski Lounge as well as the many people in a celebratory mood. The perfect scenario is reflected in their sunglasses, the toothpaste smile looks believable. Someone shouts “I’m on top of the world, Jack”, the mood is relaxed and contagious. Vorarlberg cooking legend Engelbert Kaufmann and gastronomy director Helga Walch appear out of nowhere. He inspires audiences with classics like creamy Käsknöpfle cheese spaetzle in addition to other delicacies not usually found at tourist restaurants of this size: candied pork belly with crust, goat’s-cream-cheese mousse, sweet potato coconut soups and a variety of different burgers. She always has suitable wine recommendations at the ready. Guests dine outdoors directly below the slope or inside amidst the sophisticated interior decor, which has been newly built. As befits a true blockbuster, this little show ends with a curiously suspicious smile from everyone involved – the sequel has yet to follow. www.gastronomie-salober.at
Appearances can be deceiving: this kitschy wooden building wasn’t plucked from an artificial Alpine village built especially for a patriotic movie. Thankfully, it’s the people of Bregenzerwald who care for guests instead of Heidi and her grandfather. Even though there is space to accommodate an entire busload of people, the parlours actually have quiet corners in ample supply where guests can fortify themselves with cheese specialities, mixed grill platters or onion roasts. This cinematic backdrop also ensures plenty of other action: Hardly a day goes by without a club meeting, music event or wedding. www.ur-alp.at
As if in a dream-walking state, you glide from the chic wooden terrace over the monotonous-mystic spa to the next body treatment. Candles flicker all around, pleasant scents and soft music gently relax the body. Thoughts and soul set out on a journey together while the mind struggles to decide if this is all really happening or if the body has succumbed to the comforts of the lounge chair. Small wonder: being a guest at the Post Bezau is like being in a dreamy scene from a Terrence Malick film. The situation continues much the same until dinnertime when seasonal ingredients, which have been carefully prepared and chicly arranged, find their way to your plate. The dishes float to the table as if enchanted. In slow motion, the wine is poured into the glasses and in a seemingly endless snapshot, one imbibes the feeling of complete satisfaction shared collectively by other guests. But be careful, the dream could end in the blink of an eye. www.hotelpostbezau.com
What master directors like Spielberg or Zemeckis succeed in doing for cinema also works perfectly in the field of gastronomy. An abundance of stories, an opulent setting, and myriad emotions are the ingredients for appealing to a wide range of audiences. Unsurprisingly then, the Uga-Alp is everybody’s darling: in winter it’s a meeting point for skiers and snowboarders, in summer it’s the starting point and culinary paradise for Alpine hikers. Here they serve all the classics you’d expect with inn-style cooking, self-service restaurant and a pizza oven. As bonus material in the director’s cut, overnight accommodation and a lively service team await the audience at 1,800 metres. www.uga-alp.at
Author: Markus Curin
Edition: Winter Travel Magazine 2018-19