Sunday, November 1, 2015
Törggelen! A food and wine fall feast!
A brief history and background:
Törggelen (pronouced turckle-in) is an autumn tradition in Südtirol (South Tirol, Italy), but also a tradition in (North) Tirol in Austria as well. South Tirol was in Austria until 1919 , this province is 2/3 German speaking but everything is usually bilingual in German and Italian, as such South Tirol and North Tirol share many similar traditions. Törggelen begins in early October and lasting until late November or early December Apparently, after the new wines were 'turned' the winegrowers would walk to the next winegrower to have him taste the young wine (which is why this is more popular in Südtirol as there are hundreds of wineries there, it's slightly warmer and sunnier than on the Northern side of the Alps in Innsbruck). Now, typically small restaurants, huts, guest houses, or farms host groups for the feast traditionally served with red wine, sausage, sauerkraut, and roasted chestnuts.
Our restaurant (Hienghof) was step atop a hill with a vineyard, which can only be reached by a narrow and windy road, featured a homey and comfortable aesthetic and familial atmosphere. As soon as we were seated and comfortable we were offered red wine, water (still or sparkling), and apple juice. Our table took the lot and soon after our beverages arrived we were brought home-made bread. We were then asked about appetizers and had a choice of three, two soups (Gerstlesuppe and
Sauersuppe) and a pasta (Schlutzkrapfen).
I took the Schlutzkrapfen and Dr Husband took the Gerstlesuppe. Both were good but I preferred my pasta. We drank wine from blue mugs (Krüge) and before we knew it our main course arrived. The main course consisted of sauerkraut, pork ribs, pork sausage, and blood sausage. It was served in a large iron tray. We stuffed ourselves with food and wine and Kahlua helped clean up anything which fell to the floor. After the meal (and seconds) we were given options of schnapps to try to go along with the Marillenkrapfen (it was a long fried dough filled with apricot jam, the other version is very much like a donut). I had a dark-nut schnapps and another with an orange color while Dr Husband took the blackberry schnapps. The schnapps are considered a digestive to help with heavy meals. I am not sure if that is how it works, but you certainly feel better after one or two ;)
Overall it was a very special experience and we are looking forward to trying it again. Especially because we were too early for roasted chestnuts!