Traveling to the Dolomites? A stop at Gostner Schwaige is a must!
If you find yourself trekking through the majestic peaks of the Val Gardena in the Italian Dolomites, say on our self-guided Great Dolomites Traverse, we’ve got a must do suggestion for you. Go to a foodie’s hidden heaven, located just above Ortisei on the Alpe di Siusi. The Alpe di Suisi, also know as Seiser Alm, is Europe’s largest Alpine meadow and boasts year round activities from alpine skiing to Nordic skiing as well as hiking and mountain biking… but back to this hidden gem for foodie’s known as Gostner Schwaige. It’s here that Franz, the head chef and his wife Petra create the most beautiful mountain cuisine. From the local favorite, Kaiserschmarren, a shredded sweet egg pancake served with fresh fruit or raisins to a mountain salad that boasts 25 edible flowers and herbs. All of their dishes are out of this world! Depending on what’s available on their farm, Gostner Schwaige makes weekly and seasonal changes to their menu. The regular staples, include at least five different cheeses made from their on-site dairy cows as well as sausage and meat from their nearby farm, the Aussergost.
This past summer I found my way to Gostner Schwaige for a luxurious lunch. It’s located just off the main trail. At times it can feel like Alpinehikers self-guided directions are leading you astray, but don’t fret! They’re correct and you’ll find trail markers just when you’re starting to doubt the way. I arrived on a weekday in July. As I strolled up to a cute cabin surrounded by dairy cows munching on grass, I knew all of the rumors I’d heard were true. Gostner Schwaige is a special place. It was a warm clear day, which had brought a crew of hikers, bikers and families that had driven up from the valley floor. I grabbed a seat and was quickly met by a sweet woman asking if I would like something to drink. Turns out this nice woman was Franz’s Mom who spends her summers helping in the restaurant. Upon introducing myself, I was directed to an Alpinehikers bandanna wrapped around a wooden post in the main lodge. I felt like a special guest!
Gostner Shwaige not only offers some of the most delicious food in the Val Gardena and possibly the Alps, but also hosts cooking classes, weddings and offers a few items to take home (cheese, syrup, tea, chutney, fruits spreads and more). If you are the forever chef looking to expand your dish repertoire and knowledge of local edible plants and herbs, be sure to reach out to Franz about his cooking classes to see if they line up with your travel dates. You won’t be disappointed as the class will undoubtedly give you a new perspective on the bounties of mother Earth.
Franz and Petra have a number of dairy cows and make various mountain cheeses, tyrolean grey cheese, mountain saffron cream cheese, edelweiss camembert, goldi (yellow muscat cream cheese), and soft cream cheese as well as yogurt. Other delicacies at Gostner Schwaige include Heublutensuppen, a local soup made of hay, flowers and herbs. At Gostner Schwaige it is presented in a giant bread bowl on a big wooden platter and decorated with current blooming flowers and 15 different herbs. Like all of their dishes, this is another palate odyssey with rich flavors and distinct smells of the Dolomites.
After your delicious meal, if you still have room, check out their desert options. The apple strudel can easily be packaged up for the trail and is the best strudel I’ve ever enjoyed. The other desserts are equally fantastic. There’s a cannoli filled with fresh cream, cranberry compote and rose petals or an apricot dumpling with fresh vanilla ice cream. There’s enough to satisfy and amaze even the most picky desert critiques. Troy has previously written about their wonderful Kaiserschmarrn, and the main problem you may have is making a choice!
If you can swing a visit to the Gostner Schwaige, it will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your Dolomites tour. The food, mountain culture and charm of the Gostner Schwaige will satisfy all of your senses, leaving you eager to experience even more of what the Dolomites have to offer.