Rifugios in the Italian Dolomites
Mangiare bene at our top 5 lunch destinations
There is usually a list of things that attracts a certain person to a certain area. Depending on the destination of course depends on the attraction but I’m sure I can say with some certainty that a high percentage of people arrive in the Dolomites during the winter months with a grin from ear to ear to enjoy the inches upon inches of white stuff; whether that be for skiing, snowshoeing or winter walking. But the activity on offer cannot itself create a memorable holiday for there are other important factors to consider; the people (those you holiday with and the new faces you meet), the weather (which will without doubt always be important to the English), the places you visit (old favourites and newly explored ground) and what else? The food! The South Tyrolean menu is vast and with so many unique and beautiful Rifugios dotted around the area, there is surely something delicious for everyone to get the taste buds tingling.
One of the best things about a winter holiday in the Dolomites is living a rule free lifestyle whilst you’re here. Who says you can’t have a beer with lunch? Why can’t you have a slice of cake at 11am and then another during afternoon tea? Throughout a full day on the mountains, a scrumptious, filling and affordable lunch is certainly something to be deserved and the Dolomite Mountains will not let you down. Whichever direction you head in, no matter how many Kilometres you are away from resort, there is a unique Rifugio awaiting you to walk through the door.
Now, once you have chosen the destination it is up to you so settle on one of the many meals on offer. Italy is a country full of temptation; perhaps you will go for the traditional Italian pizza or maybe try the less-known Ladin variety – my personal favourite is spinach and sauerkraut wrapped in puff pastry. A common dish found in almost every Rifugio (spiegelei und bratkartoffeln) consists of Speck (a dried meat very similar to bacon), fried eggs and sautéed potatoes and although it sounds very basic, is prepared in numerous ways. Of course there are many options to entice the sweet tooth as well and if you choose to resist the conventional apple strudel, then why not try a slice of Sacher cake (chocolate sponge encasing a layer of orange jam) or the typically delicious Tiramisu? Every meal needs something tasty to wash it down with and you’ll find the drinks menu is usually as varied as the food. Aside from the obvious beer and coffee options, enjoy the popular Hugo and Spritz, treat yourself to a Bombardino (or Calimero!) and definitely sample one of many different Grappa flavours for if nothing else, it will surely improve your downhill skiing!
Before doubt creeps into your mind about how much all of this will cost, never fear; a typical meal, which I might add is very generously portioned, will never set you back more than €15. The only piece of advice I have to offer is to resist at least some temptation and leave enough room for your evening three course meal when you arrive back at the chalet!
Top 5 lunch suggestions
Rifugio Bioch, Pralongià Plateau – Perfect 360° views of the area whilst you enjoy a Hunters plate (speck, eggs and potatoes) and drink one of the best Bombardinos in the area.
Rifugio Plan Boé, Arabba – Sellaronda Orange – If you are a fan of pancakes, try the famous Kaiserschmarrn to set you up for the 45km circular route.
Raetia tea rooms, Corvara – Undoubtedly the best apple strudel in the resort – enjoy it with ice-cream, vanilla custard or whipped cream. There is also a choice of 20+ tea flavours to try out.
Rifugio Nagler, Badia – A generous helping of Goulash soup to warm you up on a cold day is definitely recommended. If you haven’t yet sampled the Glühwein here is the place to do it, they serve it in a boot!
Rifugio Punta Trieste, Pralongià Plateau – If you fancy something a bit heartier head to this Rifugio for outstanding ribs and traditional Canederli (bread dumplings only found in this area of Italy).
Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle.