A visit would be only half the enjoyment without these top 5 alpine produce. Up here on the mountain pasture, meat eaters and vegetarians alike will find their favourites which will make many yearn for the next alpine holiday when at home.
The five most popular Alpine products
1. Alpine butter
The dairy cows on the high-altitude pastures graze on fresh alpine herbs which gives the milk and therefore the butter a unique flavour. The golden colour shows that the alpine power is inside!
The delicious mountain cheese such as the “Pinzgauer Kas” is especially popular among cheese connoisseurs due to the low fat content and spicy taste. Fresh farmhouse bread with butter and cheese garnished with vegetables and herbs not only satisfies any hunger, but is a real treat. Especially the Tennengau cheese pastures are culinary highlights with a view for cheese lovers and Niki from Loseggalm explains how the cheese is prepared on their mountain farm.
3. Elderberry juice
A glass of elderberry juice is one of the most popular and probably the healthiest thirst quencher in the mountains. The flowers of white elderberry, preserved with lemon and sugar, are made into a syrup in spring. The taste of this drink is especially refreshing on hot summer days, mixed with still or soda water. There are plenty more recipes with elderberry at Holleralm in Salzkammergut.
Gentian schnapps is a popular welcome drink at mountain huts. It is healthy but the bitter taste is not everyone’s thing. Alpine Summer in Salzburg offers numerous excellent distillates for lovers of schnapps in various varieties including rowanberry and nut, and Via Culinaria dedicates a culinary pathway to schnapps.
The smell of freshly baked farmhouse bread from the wood-fired oven whets the appetite. When the still warm loaves are cut, the crust cracks but the bread is fluffy and soft, and the first bite into the fresh bread is amazing. On Kalchkendlalm in Rauris, Roswitha Huber, who is known far and wide for her skills, teaches the basics of bread baking.
From milk to butter
Many alpine pasture products are made with fresh milk from cows who graze on lush mountain herbs on the pastures during summer. Tasty alpine produce such as buttermilk, yoghurt, cheese and especially the golden alpine butter are an essential part of any snack in the mountains. But how does the milk turn into butter? An experienced milkmaid tells us how the healthy alpine butter is produced and pressed into the butter moulds according to tradition.
The milkmaid stowes away the milking stool and takes a seat at the butter churn: “At dawn, I gather the dairy cows from the meadows to milk them. The fresh mountain milk is allowed to stand so that the cream can separate from the skimmed milk. The cream is skimmed off because I need it to make the butter. It is left to mature until the next day for production. I then pour the cream into the traditional butter churn and turn the crank handle until the cream has turned into butter. I know when it is ready because I can hear the butter slapping in the churn. A byproduct of the butter churning is buttermilk, which is like to drink with mineral water and a spoon of cranberry jam.” After the buttermilk is drained and the butter has been washed with water, the muscles get a workout. For now, the milkmaid beats the last traces of water from the butter by knocking it in small portions against the inner wall of the churn. Finally, the milkmaid reveals: “I press fhe finished butter into our old butter mould which my grandmother already used. Then I turn the butter over onto greaseproof paper. It’s now ready to serve and is best eaten with freshly baked farmhouse bread, sprinkled with alpine herbs!” Many Alpine Summer events feature traditional artisans showing their carving or butter making skills.