In these lands in the adjacent province of northern Italy, the food is heavily influenced by the deep Tyrolean roots of the region. That doesn’t mean that the best of Italy wasn’t poached for the culinary repertoire, as well. Risotto is not an unusual dish for the region, though Canederli (bread dumplings) and Krauti are more commonly encountered. This time of year, apples are in abundance and grace just about every table!
I’ve found a few winning recipes that capture the essence of the region’s autumnal cuisine, courtesy of our friends at Alto Adige Wines. I hope you enjoy the beautifully simple flavors of these dishes, each paired with the appropriate wine, of course!
I still have the dwindling remains of an illicit chunk of Speck in my fridge, brought back from a recent journey to the region. I use Speck, a smoked-style of prosciutto using the pork belly, all the time, and I love the idea of pairing it with the sweetness of leeks. This combination offers a savory and salty accent to this creamy, enveloping dish.
The recipe calls for the addition of white wine. I really like the idea of using Pinot Grigio here, something rich and substantial that can also be paired with the finished dish. If you’d rather have a red, Pinot Nero would be a fine partner, but super Schiava (Gschleier anybody?) would be my first choice!
Canederli, those bread dumplings commonly known as Knodel in Germany, are a ubiquitous treat throughout Trentino and the Alto Adige. Flavored with little bits of rich meat (liver, salami and speck are all common), the finished dumpling is served in broth, by itself, or, if you are particularly lucky, with plenty of Krauti (sauerkraut).
I love canederli. I have some sort of sentimental attachment to this simple-as-can-be vestige of a peasant lifestyle that has since been elevated to an iconic dish. The best part? Canerderli loves wine. Seriously, just about any great wine works with this recipe, and the addition of beets, spinach, carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, or re-hydrated chilies (this recipe is super flexible and fun!) makes for a wine pairing monster.
This classic is another dish that works well with Schiava, but I love the idea of pairing the earthy flavors of some of the vegetable-enriched versions with Pinot Nero.
No matter what you call it, this apple cake dessert is served all over Alto Adige and northern Trentino. The recipe calls for tart cooking apples like Granny Smith, but if you can get your hands on some Renetta Canada or Orange Pippin apples, that’s the way to go here.
I prefer to serve this dish warm and perhaps a touch less sweet than the recipe calls for, but either way it’s a great dessert to pair with dessert wines. The apples add a splash of acidity to the dish, and this is overall less sweet than a typical dessert.
I love the idea of adding some cherry preserves as an accent to this dish, but Moscato Rosa, the Alto Adige’s insanely delicious rosé dessert wine, might be even better. I’m not huge on sweet wine, but if I must drink a dessert wine, Moscato Rosa, with its wonderful perfumes, is at the top of my list!