Weekend in Val Primiero e Vanoi: between the Woods, Alpine and mountain cheeses

Again Trentino. This time, though, Trentino a less crowded, Reserved, little known. What you've visited in a period of transition as the fall and before the snow lures crowds of vacationers on the ski slopes and the shops of historic centers. My destination was the Valley of Primiero and Vanoi. The reason is obvious: May I attended a cooking contest where you had to prepare a dish enhancing the Trentino grappa and the prize for the winner was a weekend in Trentino. Before you tell this route, I specifically wanted to do in an area that did not know and in a period of low season, I want to thank the 'Institute of protection of Trentino Grappa, theApt And the Road of the Dolomites cheese who managed to bear with me and arrange a perfect weekend, where I got to know the valleys, the beauty of the Dolomites, He is enchanted by the purity of water in rivers and waterfalls but also enjoy and learn more about local products.

A non Trentino Trentino, how to define it in many. Because in this valley on the border with Veneto and Alto Adige Austrian influences still resonate in the surnames, in the streets and in the gastronomy. On the other hand just straddle the Rolle step to meet in Val di Fassa, a stone's throw from South Tyrol. The valley is surrounded by the Dolomites, with the Pale di San Martino, Unesco, embracing and surrounding rivers, lakes and villages. And if the rock is white, gray and sharp, further downstream it is covered with a blanket of fir and larch, and gradually gives way to fall colors in the leaves that change color from red to yellow and the meadows, still green. At the farms dot the land, the traditional wooden buildings of these valleys, always linked to the ancient ritual of transhumance. Climbing at altitude, Instead, the wooden huts and stone where you can still experience the atmosphere of the cheesemakers, of fresh milk, cheeses that taste like grass. And see the wood to change color and texture, before the eyes of autumn in all its glory, it is a wonderful feeling. In the valley, There are many countries that live in the shadow of the Dolomites: fair, Tonadico, Mezzano, Siror, Imer. All to be discovered, with their typical houses and barns with walls decorated with murals.

While loving the Trentino cuisine, I did not know that the Primiero valley boasted several excellent food, between PDO and Slow food deans: for the record, then, I not only visited some companies-symbol, but I had to try everything to verify the goodness and, Obviously, take with me to Rome several little things to experience in the kitchen. A Siror, I was a guest of the historic butcher Bonelli, Today sees behind the counter the volcanic and likeable Francis that has long accompanied his dad Rolando (which in turn he followed the footsteps of his father): both are tireless creators of handmade sausages of all kinds, dal weisswurst allo speck, lucaniche from the deer slinzeghe. Here, though, the main dish is called "flesh fumada Siror", obtained from bovine walker, which it is made to marinate in 20 different spices and flavorings (a secret that would not show up even under torture) and then smoked in an oven with juniper branches and hardwood sawdust. Inserted in the Atlas of traditional products from Trentino, fumada the meat is dry and aromatic sausage, which recalls from afar bresaola, but do not hear from producers, because they are proud, and jealous, of its product. In addition to experiment and have fun with the smoking of fish such as sturgeons and wild salmon, Francesco is committed to creating a system with other producers Valley. From a collaboration with the Dairy of Primiero it was born a hallmark of local products, with the bold idea of ​​extending it to all the excellence of Primiero. The goal is to stand out, promote quality and identity of agribusiness.

As you know, I am an admirer of cheeses. Let's just say that I go crazy. This is why I very strongly wanted to set foot in Caseificio del Primiero. I had visited other much smaller or much larger dairies, but this is to 'human dimension': Here it is awarded all the milk of local pastures (d’estate) and in the valley farms (in winter) Primiero, Vanoi and Mis. Today it has 59 members and works almost 50 thousand tons of milk, that comes from selected cattle and is collected daily (even twice a day) by personnel of the dairy: This White River, the scent of freshly cut grass in summer, It is then transformed into extraordinary products: from Primiero in its various seasonings to fresh Tosela Primiero, through tasty Puzzone Moena (I bought up a piece of Puzzone made only with pasture milk that can not wait to taste) and for excellence to be discovered, Trentingrana Dop. But the highlight of this cheese factory, led by Alberto Bettega who has been my guide with exemplary patience, you and Trekking hut, ie butter made from the milk produced in the Primiero pastures in summer only. I was lucky enough to taste this bright yellow butter, strong flavor, pannoso, even though it was now out stagione.Me fell in love. Fortunately, The factory has an e-commerce business and you can be assured that, this summer, I will be a diligent online customer and I'll have my mountain butter. Chili mountain butter.

Obviously, If you come around devote yourself to nature and views. You can not climb up to Passo Rolle, to over 2000 meters, passing through San Martino di Castrozza, center of winter tourism. Along the bends, quite easily, between the Woods, huts and huts, among which Malga Rolle which it is a place of milk production and also a farm (and it is managed by the Primiero Dairy), you can enjoy breathtaking landscapes. Crossing the natural park of Paneveggio, let yourself be charmed by the Dolomites which become gradually more and more rocky, wilderness. The sky is getting closer and whiter. A few pair of deer crossing your path suddenly, males with majestic antlers. And finally the snow. From postcard.

Going up from the narrow streets of Val Canali, I invite you to go visit Malga Canali, and meet Gianna. An experience that is not only gastronomic, marked by the most traditional local cuisine, but above all human. Gianna will welcome you in traditional costume, with the heat of the fire that burns under the pot of polenta, and it will tell you about the life of the past but also the future plans. Supported by a vast knowledge of wild herbs and ancient customs of the pastures that are reflected perfectly in the hut products, Gianna will introduce the preparation of Tosela and all cheeses made from raw milk and butter, yet done with churn (a centrifuge in wood) and put to rest in the traditional wooden molds, leading as it once was the trademark of the manufacturer depending on the source valleys. His is a cuisine made of genuine flavors, from meats to vegetable soups, up to stews and sweets, which returns the German tradition in a very good farmer variation Kaiserschmarren (a flour-based pancake, eggs and sugar, served with jam of red berries). from the hut, all in stone and wood, you can leave for excursions up towards the highest shelters or simply stroll among the goats and chickens or have fun admiring the cowshed Gianna: a real treat, set up as a home, curtained, pictures on the walls and flower pots, a sign of love and respect for animals that, from time immemorial, help the herdsmen to live.

Which brings us to another experience, made by young people and for young people: the brewery Bionoc Mezzano. The project of 2009, launched by Fabio (Bio) and Nicola (Night), two Trentino Doc who like to call themselves fundamentalists beer, He has sparigliato brewing environment cards not only Italian but also Trentino. Best brewery in the province for two years in a row (2013 e 2014), Bionoc expressed through its products the right mix between the basic brewing art and a fair trial no end in itself, but always anchored to the history of this drink. It was a discovery to know that the water at the base of the products of this company comes strictly by the Dolomite sources (this gives lightness and freshness to beers); that the whole production philosophy is based on modern concepts of sustainability, through the use of renewable energy sources (the brewery is inserted into the circuit Greenway Primiero); that the acceptance from the territory of Fabio and Nicholas led them to conceive the project BioLupo, or produce a beer by only using the wild hop hills of Trentino, showing name and surname of the farmers on the label. A pleasant surprise, Bionoc, that declines experienced in five fixed labels (noxious, Haute Vienne, Staiòn, Lipa, Goldon Ale) to which are added two seasonal beers, including a winter, the Guana (spicy), and much research work that brought the two young men to the recovery of historical beers like MeinGose (pleasantly salty) and experimentation, most recent, of refined beers in wine barrels. A continuous evolution, then, as befits the best Italian craft breweries.

WHERE TO SLEEP: the most beautiful experience I can advise you to do is to choose a place for your stay the Chalet nel But, in the Lozen valley, creature born by the imagination and foresight to Clelia, who had the dream of “listen to the voice of nature, assecondarne the lure”. He did it. And by the vision of a moment did this Chalet, Suspended literally on the mountain, in the middle of green meadows, between the woods and over a source. A long and meticulous restoration of those farms that – to see the old photos – were nothing if not a bit’ wood and stones, It led to the emergence of a charming place, It built with respect for tradition, starting with the use of larch and silver fir, but with all the modern conveniences. At night you do not hear nothing but the murmur of the mountain, the day the sun just filters through the windows and, when you open, Look in the Dolomites. And in the heart. Impossible not to mention the breakfast, served (at any time) in traditional costume: mountain butter, cheese and salami strictly Trentino, honey, jams (all over the place, fabulous that of red berries) and again Sachertorte and Strudel made just from Clelia, You can find the time to do a thousand things although it is also Head of Tourism of the Vanoi valley. I'm used, If you want, you can stroll around the mountain in llama or alpaca company, donkeys and goats, to walk following the rhythms of nature, in respect for animals.

WHERE TO EAT: by Malga Canali I have already spoken, but if you go to eat Gianna weekends book because it is crowded and do not miss the raw milk cheeses, the onion soup and venison stew with polenta. In the Vanoi valley I recommend Maso Santa Romina, where will welcome Mirella, owner and chef, assisted by her husband sommelier: The farm is fully renovated, the interior is warm and cozy, all wood and stone and Mirella does the rest: pasta, sweets, the bread of various types (with fennel seeds, to charcoal) or those with rye flour as Shuttelbrot, and then the home made brandies made from brandy and herbs. There cream cream and cottage cheese with jam of red fruits (dish called “married”), buckwheat noodles, pumpkin gnocchi, Obviously dumplings, Venison stew or ossobuco, difarina yellow polenta Storo, strudel of pears and apples and all that Trentino produces good season to season. If you pass by San Martino di Castrozza, you can stop to warm up in the brewery The Stube, where you'll find simple dishes well made, from vegetable soups or goulash soups, the polenta with meat and cheese, al canederli, passing platters of cheese and cold meats or sandwiches. Great cakes, Strudel and Sacher, but also the yogurt served with honey and boiled chestnuts, a fresh and appealing idea. Finally, after a walk or a hike, for a quick snack of noodles with lamb ragout, polenta or chopped meat, from deer the foal, you can stop in Val Canali at the cabin the Ritonda, which it is also a hotel in the heart of the Pale di San Martino Park.

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