Naturally, from time to time, true heroes seek the company of equals. But this in no way lessens their services to humanity, and hanging out with the mighty and powerful also has its drawbacks. Alpine pasture farmers fit in this category, a group of people who work hard year after year in relative seclusion for several month. That is until they break out with something special. Lukas and Bruno Bischof, for instance, have cultivated a wonderful establishment in Damüls. During the summer months, however, Lukas also operates a mountain hut, located just 20 minutes on foot from the village centre. The highlight? Every Friday at the Stadl, gourmets (reservations needed) are treated to an exceptional Alpine breakfast, 360° panoramic views, the tinkling of cowbells and fresh mountain air. The breakfast features homemade bread, cheese and dairy products from neighbouring Alpine pasture farms in addition to cold cuts and special sausages from the village butcher. The Riebel corn semolina mash is the pinnacle of proceedings. This most traditional of Vorarlberg dishes has nourished generations and transitioned from a dish favoured by the economically disadvantaged to being a staple of menus beloved by many chefs.
Tonele“ Gasthaus Gams, Egg
Confidants, solo-acts, last-minute saviours: The many roles that champions play throughout their lifetimes are as diverse as the stories attributed to their great deeds. How wonderful it is indeed when such heroes share their treasure trove of wisdom with others to benefit humanity without needing to be at the centre of things. When Albert Schneider entertains guests at the Gasthaus Gams inn, he makes use of this wealth of experience. Why, for example, is the establishment named “Tonele?” This is a classic question he always gets asked by first-time guests in addition to the secret of his delicious Käsknöpfle cheese spaetzle (his partner Theresia is happy to share tips about the latter). Regular guests look forward to getting an update about the goings on in town (without mentioning names of course) and Albert has an open ear for all. After all, there’s little that a beer and some well-meant advice from Albert can’t solve.
T +43 (0)5512 2327
A little bit of mystery goes a long way in cementing a masked champion in the hearts and minds of the general public. Punctuality, being at the right place at the right time, and a snappy one liner are more effective than even the most well-intended marketing campaign for a star. As an example, look no further than Christoph Metzler. His abilities as cook could always be judged by the expensive cars parking in front of his restaurant. Today, little has changed, except maybe that his legendary Käsknöpfle cheese spaetzle, schnitzel, or grilled meats are only available by pre-order and for special occasions.
T +43 (0)664 1236264
Gasthof Ochsen, Sulzberg
Either they’ve been created by the gods, come from another galaxy, were supercharged by radioactive beams, bitten by an animal or have a genetic defect: Heroes with superpowers clearly dominate the scene. And yet Batman, the Black Panther and the Punisher demonstrate that talent and skill have their place. Having a feeling for cooking goes a long way too, as evidenced by the Schmuck brothers of the Ochsen inn in Sulzberg. Not often the focus of media attention, the two have been bulwarks of traditional food for many years. The dynamic duo has succeeded by concentrating on their strengths: Alois serves local venison, cheese from the Bregenzerwald, in addition to other seasonal meat specialities or even entire fish. Meanwhile, Günter motivates guests and takes care of the finances and staffing. The fantastic views into the valley whilst eating don’t hurt either.
Alpe Leugher, Bezau
Modern high-rise building, an abandoned bat cave or even a fortress of snow and ice – every hero needs a refuge to get away from it all. Why not an Alpine pasture dairy? Alpine cheesemaker Alfons Moser retreats to his scenic Alpine middle pasture, the Leugher, for more than 100 days per year to refine his white gold. For years, he has been joined by Martin Flatz and Nicole Bereuter, who work together as shepherds but who also serve guests homemade specialities. After all, who can resist a snack featuring Alpine butter, cheese and fresh bread? At this heavenly Alpine pasture located at 1,300 m above Bezau, the world’s troubles seem far away.
Author: Markus Curin