Europe / Slowenia / Italy / South Tyrol / Switzerland / Ticino / France / The Maritime Alps / Expedition / Trekking

‘Late Roman decadence’

Via Alpina – Trieste-Nice – on the search for lost recipes

Our hike through the Alps of about 65,000 meters in altitude and nearly 2,000 km backpacking with a tent and many ticks from Trieste on the Slovenian boarder to Nice, France at the Mediterranean was actually quite a miserable ordeal to us (Via Alpina - Yellow trail, Grande Traversale di Alpi and Grande Route No. 5).
Friaul County, Italy was an awesome spring experience in endless forests with sultry heat, massive ticks and ‘a quantity of nothing’. No shops, no huts were open and water was virtually absent, as the geology was mattock. Nightmares of the Siberian grizzlies’ awaked at Tolmezzo, Italy when the word was of a hungry bear marauding in the woods. Later on home feelings occurred, when we inched up a 2,100 m high pass in permanent sleet across the former Austrian County of South Tyrol near the city of Bolzano, Italy: Camping prohibited, mobile homes prohibited “?”, resting is prohibited, paying allowed! Home sweet Alabama uhmm Germany …

At the beginning of summer (June 21st ), our way to the world’s biggest Outdoor Fair in Friedrichshafen, Germany to meet sponsors was abruptly diverted by 5 days of continuous snowfall at 1,500 m and above at the Austrian boarder (Semilaun Pass 3,100 m). We had to move in lower plains along the Swiss/Italian border to France, where we melted in blistering heat and plagued by hordes of good smelling holidaymakers in shiny outfits and at last reached Nice worming ourselves through the Maritime Alps.
In remote mountains and valleys with unheard languages (Lombardic! and Old German from the 15th Century!) we found the desired and sought-after opposite of the single wrapped, odorless and tasteless McDonald plastic cheese with unearthly odor and those delicacies which are to be condemned according to the holy EU regulations, created by autistic gerontocratic politicians, who ›can’t find their asses with both hands at full daylight‹!

However, it is precisely those delicacies, which exist in heaps in the Alps, for ›Brussels is far …‹ (Please understand that we can’t present any locations. Where is your Indi-spirit in accordance with those culinary treasures, even though the fartknockers in the Brussels are never far from their chair anyway …).

There were also markets in tiniest villages or butchers who name their pigs, goats and cows and even pet them daily before butchering. The most incredible cheese à la Asterix on Corse and the most incredible Salamis (goat, deer and chamois), meat (Lardo di Porco Nero and smoked meat à la juniper) and the homemade dizzy making Absinthe (Spaced Out!) with Good-Heinrich-Mash (Chenopodium bonus-hernricus-mash). And for the famous Eagle dumplings and soup made out of the cockchafer (May beetle) from the 16th century, however, we still have to wait a very, very long time.
Unfortunately after repeated disappointments on the legendary route of the Via Alpina (miserable huts and junk food, other sections are much nicer!) we had to take more reclusive paths to get more of everything, like nature, loneliness etc. The Three Peaks (Drei Zinnen, Three peaks of Lavaredo) and the legendary Gnifetti hut (3,600 m), however, were for those who are used to McDonald’s flair with junk food and NY Starbucks atmosphere and were still a must-do us and for those who didn’t know better. Switzerland? Well, with that Euro/Swiss Franc exchange rate this was more for the common tax>Ah yes, last but not least: Our search for lost recipes?
A lot, but there is only one here (to avoid claims from the junk food society)

Gnocchi alla Erbe: (are potatoes no pasta [yes! potatoes]) with natural herbs of the season collected from the Alpine transhumance) or "Zlijcnjaki": Organic flour of buckwheat, an real egg (without eggnog), water and Silene vulgaris shoots mashed, mixed and than can be quite simple being plopped with a teaspoon full into boiling water and let it simmer for 2 minutes, after that fry the Gnocchi for 1 minute in brown butter. This is served with wild strawberry jam with chili on fresh Chiabatta! Simply divine, but hey, who knows even Silene vugaris … ;-).


English e-Book:


Eat or Die!
Edible Wild Plants – Mother Nature’s Delicacies

In English very soon!


You can read the whole story (only in Görman):

4 seasons

4-seasons Das Portal für Globetrotter
Via Alpia: Auf der Such nach vergessenen Delikatessen

Alpin 1984
Der Fluch des Zeus