Eating is a major part of any ski holiday. Experiencing traditional local cuisine from ski resorts that are fiercely proud of their region’s culinary skills and local produce is now more a part of skiing than it has ever been. Skiers need fuel for a day on the mountain. The low temperatures and the colouring burning vigorous activities of sliding down a mountain demand it. A heart skiers’ breakfast, and energy packed lunch and replenishing evening meal are vital to any skier’s wellbeing. So, here you will find some great dishes around the ski globe that we all love to eat on our ski holidays.
Not being a desert type of chap I was amazed when I first saw hungry Austrians, Germans, and Scandis eating a sweet as their meal in the mountain huts at lunchtime. There they would waddle in ski boots with a stein of weissbier and a bowl of pud! Kaiserschmarrn was named after emperor Kaiser Franz Joseph I and his love of this dish. Its translation is emperor’s mess. The dish comprises light fluffed up sweetened pancakes dusted with icing sugar and a plum jam sauce.
Think mac and cheese from the Austrian, its translation is cheese sparrows. This is a high calorie dish for the hungry skier and perfect if you’ve had a night on the sauce listening to the cheesiest eurorock. Flour and eggs are mixed and then passed through a colander into boiling water to create little cockle-like dollops of pasta. Then make a roux with onions and add cheese. Finish with chopped chives or even lardons. Happy days.
What a dish this is, it’s ham egg and chips Tyrolean style! Usually fried in a cast iron skillet it looks centre stage when brought to your table with a nice beer and a Jagermeister or Williams pear schnapps to follow.
Bacon onion and potato are combined with a fried egg on top. I also like fresh red chilli too for that extra kick. A side salad and sauerkraut with add a freshness to cut through the fat!
Originating in Switzerland the fondue goes back a long way and is even referenced in Homer’s Iliad. Cheese, wine, garlic, lemon Kirsch, and flour are mixed and gently cooked into a thick dipping sauce for stale bread, vegetables and potatoes. I’m a big favourite of crudites and in particular raw cauliflower; the crunch and subtle fragrant aroma offsets the heavy cheese sauce to perfection. This is one heavyweight meal and a great social experience – maybe better for apres ski than having to ski after a belly full of ballast. Although originally from Switzerland it is widely served in France, Italy and Austria too.
As with most alpine dishes we are looking at cheap peasant foods with a long shelf life that were able to be stored over the winter period – cheese, dried or cured meats and pickles. Raclette is a simple dish whereby a truckle of cheese is halved and placed under a heated lamp and then the top layer of the then cooked cheese is scraped onto boiled potatoes. This is accompanied by pickles, carrots, cornichons, cauliflower etc and served with a side salad. The word originates from the Walliser (nomid alpine people) word meaning to scrape.
Taking its name from the French pierre meaning rock, this is simply a hot stone that is placed on the table for your group to cook various meats. Most commonly this will be beef, chicken, rabbit, or sometimes lamb. Again it’s a communal affair and very sociable with meals taking hours rather than a quick pit stop. Add a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper and dip in a dijonaise for an amazing taste sensation. Always served with pickles and a green salad. Yum yum.
Rumour has it that just as the Cheese marketing board invented the ploughman’s lunch in the 1950s to promote cheese sales so tartiflette was invented to promote the wavering sales of reblochon cheese. This french savoyarde dish is a pretty straightforward gratin comprising layers of potato, shallots, reblochon cheese with white wine garlic and double cream. Served with a dark green salad and french dressing.
This is probably Andorra’s national dish. The mountain restaurants in Andorra tend to offer a bland display of burgers and pizzas but if you ask this is what the lifties eat and they’ll happily serve it to you. The dish is a winter warmer of broth, seasonal vegetables, chickpeas, potatoes, rice, pasta and a mixture of pork, chicken sausage, and ham. Basically the dish will vary depending on who cooks it.
Assiette de charcuterie.
Assiette de charcuterie or “plate of meat” is a great light lunch of various cured meats perfectly accompanied by fresh French bread, cornichons, pickles and a crisp glass of savoyarde wine. This is a dish for spring time skiing.
The Austrians love a dumpling and this is a sweet yeast dumpling served with a vanilla sauce, melted butter and topped with poppy seeds. I’m not a fan of puddings but this is a belter!
Staying with dumplings this is a light carb low meal. The broth is a stunning beef consomme that packs a salty punch and the dumpling is light and luxurious. Always topped with chopped chives and you simply have to add lots of ground black pepper for that fiery hit. I absolutely adore this dish. The dumpling can be made with semolina and or added with smoked bacon, cheese or even liver.
Originating from Hungary this is a staple on any Germanic ski resort menu. It’s a hearty winter warmer and usually served “mit brot”. This beef dish is a halfway house between a stew and a soup with cubed beef, carrots, potatoes, peppers, celery, onions, tomatoes and the essential sweet paprika. It’s a stand out for me and guaranteed I will eat it at least once in a ski week in Austria.
I hope you enjoyed the read and please do drop us a line to let us know your favourite ski dishes.