The Food and Wine of Alto Adige

After a fantastic trip to Northern Italy, GDP has some great recipes to share


Having recently returned from a trip to Trentino and the Alto Adige, my mind is insistent on reminding me of the wonderful food and wine I enjoyed while there. In late August, the nights were cool and crisp, lending themselves to a rather indulgent attitude to both food and wine. Not that an excuse was needed, of course!

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!

Leek Risotto

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!

Get The Recipe Here

Photo courtesy of Lucy Schaeffer

Speck Dumplings

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.

Get The Recipe Here

Photo courtesy of Lucy Schaeffer


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!

Get The Recipe Here

Photo courtesy of Lucy Schaeffer


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  • Snooth User: tlowme
    112853 147

    This is some wonderful comfort food!!! I'm wondering why the author refers to the Valtellina as being Austrian influenced. It is actually neighboring Switzerland. One of the best dishes to come out of the Valtellina is a dish whereby steaming hot rice is directly poured on top of a round of Reggiano and scraped until the melting cheese is incorporated into the rice, at which time speck and raisinated grapes are added to the mix. I'm not sure what it is called. I just call it sublime!!!! Especially with a bottle of Valtellina Superiore 2003 Prestigio!!

    Sep 28, 2012 at 2:21 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,749

    I don't believe I mentioned the Valtellina.

    Sep 28, 2012 at 4:33 PM

  • Snooth User: tlowme
    112853 147

    Sorry for the confusion. I was referring to the author of the 'Want to Learn More' page, Eric Guido. Specifically I was referring to the statement, "The foods of the Valtellina are more recognizable as Austrian". If I am misunderstanding his statement, I would love to learn more about that. Thanks!

    Sep 28, 2012 at 9:43 PM

  • Hi everybody!

    My name is Gianni Pasolini, I'm a professional sommelier and wine blogger in Trentino Alto Adige.

    Nice work about my region!

    If you are looking for a wine journalist that describe local wines, that send you weekly information and other things about wine-event, contact me!


    Sep 29, 2012 at 3:46 AM

  • Leek Risotto - gotta try that recipe!

    Oct 04, 2012 at 3:09 PM

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