Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lunch on the Mountain

Feb. 2010 196

You can get French fries, but forget about ordering a hamburger or a bowl of chili along the mountain trails in the Val Gardena. Not that anybody seems to mind. The range of foods available at slope-side restaurants is just another reminder of why I love skiing in Italy. I’m talking about foods like soft, creamy polenta with sausages and wild mushrooms:

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 549 Or osso buco and grilled polenta:

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 585 Or polenta with a goulash-flavored stew:

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 621

Or polenta smothered in gorgonzola cheese. And a beer to wash it down too. I guess you see I have a weakness for polenta.

polenta, sausage and beer-Val Gardena Jan 2004 Don’t like polenta? You could always have pizza for lunch instead. This one is topped with prosciutto cotto (a delicate baked ham), artichokes and mushrooms:

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 519 You’re sure to find something you’ll like here, whether it’s tortellini with prosciutto in a creamy parmigiano sauce, lasagna, or a bowl of chicken broth with canederli swimming inside (These canederli – typical of the region - are made with bread and speck, a smoked prosciutto). All of these are dishes from a cafeteria-style place along the slopes, not even a restaurant.

tortellini, lasagna, canederli in Plose Not hungry for lunch? Just need something to loosen you up on the slopes?  How about one of these drinks, written in German and Italian at my favorite mountain hut or refugio, the Cafe Val D’Anna:

drinks along trailYou could even wrap yourself in a blanket and enjoy it sitting outdoors around the fire:

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 529 Did you work up a thirst for something ice cold? Try one of these, at the top of the Ciampinoi lift:

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 512 You can always order a hot chocolate with rum on the side, sometimes called a “lumumba.” At the Sport Hotel Sonne, they had just made fresh krapfen, cream-filled doughnuts that are a specialty at Carnevale.

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 599 Or my old stand-by, the bombardino with a slice of apple strudel:

Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 705

But today, it’s soup for lunch, like this goulash soup that I ate more than once on the trails. This part of Italy was once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and its food reflects that heritage, as well as much of the signage, which is written in German and Italian.

Back home, I tried to duplicate the goulash soup. While my lunch didn’t have the same ambiance as being in the Val Gardena, the soup tasted nearly the same and hit the spot after a round of shoveling snow. With a lot of winter weather still ahead of us here on the East Coast, it might be just the thing for your weekend meal. Serve with brown bread as they do in the Val Gardena. Beer or grappa optional.

Feb. 2010 202

Goulash Soup

Printable Recipe Here

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup minced onions

4 cloves minced garlic

1 cup pureed tomatoes (I used whole canned tomatoes and then pureed them with a stick blender)

1 pound beef, sliced into short, thin pieces (don’t get an expensive cut, use something like round steak or London broil)

1 t. hot paprika, to taste (available in specialty food stores)

1/2 t. regular store-brand paprika

4 cups chicken broth and

2 cups beef broth (or use all beef broth if you want a beefier flavor)

1/2 cup red wine

2 small potatoes, diced into small pieces

1 large carrot, chopped finely

salt, to taste

2 bay leaves

1/4 tsp. caraway seeds

Sauté the onions in the olive oil until wilted, then add the garlic and sauté a minute or two. Add the pieces of beef and brown lightly, then add the rest of the ingredients, except the potatoes. Simmer gently for about 45 minutes, then add the potatoes and cook for another 45 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.


  1. thanks for sharing this wonderful post. I need to get to those mountains today, and those wonderful surroundings.

    I don't ski.. never have, don't think I could , just to be up there, away from the dreariness of the UK..

    Those dishes look delightful, yes forget the burger and fries, whats wrong with people, all those other wonderful foods.

  2. che meraviglie... quante prelibatezze!!! ciao Ely

  3. Italy is just amazing - I can't believe the great food available at a cafeteria-style place. The different polentas look so yummy, as well as the pizza toppings, pastas, and that soup! I love that you were able to recreate it at home. Thanks for sharing your recipe! Whenever I stop by, I learn something new - love that!

  4. Piango ... I wish I could get just one of these dishes in Philadelphia for lunch today. Beautiful pictures!

  5. You're killing me Linda! The osso buco and polenta look amazing... I'm sooo hungry now:)

  6. Loving this Goulash Linda, perfect having abowl of this soup high up above in the mountain.

  7. I love goulash soup and can't wait to try your version, Linda. One of the most important ingredients in my estimation is caraway seed. That's what makes it authentic. Yum. I've never served goulash with polenta...great idea.

  8. Oh my goodness, the fun I would have eating in Italy! This sounds like a very enjoyable mountain trail, and I want all of that polenta.

  9. I'm just throwing my dinner out and getting a plane ticket to Jersey for soup.

    That or the Italian Alps. Love goulash. Love it all.Who am I kidding?Just love to eat.

  10. Ohhh, your photos just make me want to hop on a plane this instant! I have always wanted to try a goulash soup though it was never something I was brought up with. Now, polenta that's different story. YUM!

  11. I'm throwing my dinner out and getting a plane ticket to Italy, I don't ski but I'll enjoy the view while I'm eating polenta with gorgonzola, that broth with the speck and bread! a shot or 2 to keep me warm, this is La Dolce Vita to the tenth degree! Can you adopt me???

  12. Your killing me over here..have some mercy..I was just there what a shame I could not stay!
    Nice post beautiful!

  13. OMG! I used to ski in Val Badia as a kid (on the other side of Val Gardena), and I so want to go back one day with my family. The skiing resorts are amazing, and I remember this bar made out of ice that served grappa to the skier-byes. The apple strudel was my fondest memory, I actually wrote about it in my November post. Yum! I also remember the unbelievable sausages.

  14. This gorgeous post of some of the most tempting treats I've seen in ages almost makes me want to try skiing again, a pursuit that I only learned in my thirties and that terrified me and left me frozen to the bone. These lunches look a lot better than the cold apples and deli turkey my uncle used to take along for the slopes in Vermont! Your soups is perfect for me too as I am always looking for warming, comfort dishes like this for dinners for my 12-year-old son. Thank you again for these travel posts. They're so beautiful and inspiring.

  15. Wow che delizie. Un abbraccio Daniela.

  16. I don't know how you were able to come home after this vacation, Linda! I think I would want to live there forever. What a delicious selection of food!

    I love goulash! Looks like a wonderful recipe..thanks!

  17. Oh Linda,

    You just have to (puleeeze) post the recipe for the Bombardino..... it just fascinates me, it appears to be like an eggnog drink and with the heaps of whipped cream..... oh of course my food regimen does NOT include such..... but I am seriously wanting to hear about what it takes to make it and all...... looks so YUMMM.

    Also, I have made something similar to your Goulash Soup, but many years ago and reminds me that I really like such... so will make yours next time. I got my idea from recipe, but the idea from recipes in my original, old, bought in 1965... "Joy Of Cooking" way back when I did not know a thing... I think I could cook spaghetti with meat sauce and Chili of several variations and pork chops and I have never cared for poultry, ever, of any kind.... a couple of chicken dishes (Chicken Cacciatore was my favorite)... never, never "Fried Chicken"..... ugh. The other was one I made with peanuts..... lol, don't even remember the recipe.

    I hope some day, before I die, to master rolling out pie dough of any kind. I used to be able to make a pate brisee, but failed miserable the last try.

    Sheryll, Rufus, Sugar, Sapphire & Sadie Lady

  18. sheryll - Here's the bombardino recipe - it was posted on my blog on March 2 of 2009.
    3 cups of non-skimmed milk
    29 ounces sugar
    6 egg yolks
    1 cup alcohol (brandy or whisky) and
    1 cup rum
    (or 2 cups of either brandy, whisky or rum)
    1 tablespoon vanilla

    Boil the milk with half of the sugar, gently mixing occasionally. Lower to a simmer and cook a couple of minutes, then turn off heat and keep warm.
    In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks with the other half of the sugar until creamy and frothy. Add the warm milk in a slow stream, mixing well to avoid lumps. Filter through a strainer if necessary. Add the vanilla, alcohol and rum, mix again and pour into bottles. Wait one week before drinking (if you can), shaking the bottles occasionally.

  19. I am pining to be back in my mom's hometown of Bad Reichenhall, Bavaria. I am so familiar with the Goulash Soup... actually, my goulash is one of my signature dishes. Your version looks terrific, and now I must try to make it, too. Have you ever had Langosh (Hungarian fried bread with fresh garlic?) Together, it's divine. You made me homesick. Someday, we'll get back there and I will make it to Northern Italy for the first time.

  20. Oh, how I miss the mountains and skiing.
    And that outdoor fire with blankets. Wonderful!
    You are one fortunate lady, Linda. Thanks for sharing the experience!