All of a sporting life – between skiing, biking, hiking, climbing or simply walking outdoors – can only make you hungry. Cortina and the entire Ampezzo Valley are a top destination for many reasons and the Cuisine, accordingly, could not disappoint.
The identity of the Mountain emerges stronger when you are seated at the table, and examples are not lacking: speck and other deli slices, fresh pasta, choice meats of the best quality, traditional broths and cream soups made with local herbs and vegetables, polenta traditionally prepared with freshly picked mushrooms, wines, honeys, grappa and spirits made with herbs of the Plateau, not to mention the desserts…
Here, then, are 3 special dishes you must definitely try, the moment you set foot in Ampezzo Valley.
“Casunziei” are stuffed ravioli. Among the various types of Casunziei of Cortina, Casunziei Rossi stand out most, stuffed with beetroot, melted butter and poppy seeds. Slightly sweet, they are decidedly sophisticated, composed of flour, eggs, potatoes, red beets, bread crumbs, pepper, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, olive oil, butter and parmesan, of course, poppy seeds.
If you prefer a more classic (yet less traditional) first dish, you can try Casunziei Verdi, made by artfully combining spinach, cottage cheese, butter, fresh chives and exquisite local mountain cheeses.
Of course, each chef will have their own secret recipe, a closely guarded secret: you can experience flavors like this only in Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Gorgonzola and Speck Spätzle
Traditional Tyrolean cuisine has significant influence in the Italian Alps. Also in Cortina you can taste the unique green gnocchi – called spätzle – obtained by sifting a mixture of flour, eggs, boiled spinach and water through a special grater, just before boiling. Generally, they are accompanied by two strong flavors such as Gorgonzola, a soft cheese typical of northern Italy, and the Speck of our region. They are excellent as a first course but also as an accompaniment to game dishes.
Could we forget one of the specialties of the dolomites, their Speck Dumplings? Let’s go back a moment, however. Legend has it that dumplings came about like this:
Legend has it that one day a group of Lanzichenecchi looters arrived in a South Tyrolean farm and the commander threatened to set it afire if they did not get something to eat right away. The peasant of the farm was home alone with her girls, but without fear went to work. She told the girls to gather all the food in the house. They brought to the table old bread, onions, some eggs, a bit of bacon and a little flour. The peasant cut the bread into small pieces and sent the girls to pick some herbs from the garden and to cut them thin. Mixing it all together, they added salt, formed the dough into balls and tossed them in boiling salted water. Determined, the farmer served to the hungry Lanzichenecchi the bowls filled with these balls. They liked them so much that the commander, amazed, parted with his troops, leaving the astute peasant a pair of gold coins as a reward.
True or not, this dish is one of the essentials of the Dolomites: you can taste them in numerous variants, although the one with Speck is undoubtedly the primary and best known.
Polenta with …
Polenta is a dish of humble origins, typical of the Alps and northern Italy in general. It is a soft dough made from cereal flour and wonderfully accompanies the mushrooms of the Ampezzani forests, with meat and game in particular, with herbs. In the Dolomites, it is not uncommon to find it with beans and pork stew. If you want to taste the cuisine of our region, polenta is a must!
Apple Poppy seed cake
Poppy has an unexpected and pleasant role in Ampezzo cuisine, and finds its way even into desserts. A typical dessert is mountain Apple Poppy seed cake, a sweet and genuine finish to any self-respecting meal. Poppy is added – once ground – to the sweet mixture, which is usually served with slices of steamed apples, raspberries or other fruits and berries, decorated with ice cream or vanilla sauce.
Mouth-watering, right? Choose one of our travel packages and come to enjoy the traditions of Cortina!