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Innsbruck Cuisine

What does a country taste like? Just think of the aromatic smell of Alpine pastures, of crystal-clear spring water emerging from the depth of the mountain, of sunny meadows and the sweet scent of flowers and you will realize, why more and more restaurants and inns in Innsbruck and its holiday villages swear by fresh, delicious local produce. Food labelled ‘Qualität Tirol‘, and ‘Bio vom Berg’ (organically grown on the mountain), is no longer restricted to wholefood shops but has become a permanent fixture in supermarket chains.

It seems that ‘there is no meadow steep enough and no pasture high enough’ for Tyrolean mountain sheep, those veritable ‘experts of the Alps’ that can be found grazing the pastures surrounding Innsbruck and its holiday villages. There the animals thrive on mountain herbs, tasty grass and clear spring water and the little Tyrolean mountain lambs are suckled by their mothers, all of which guarantees natural cattle development. The tender, tasty lamb meat is bright red in colour and regarded as a delicacy. Gourmets praise the wholesome and healthy character of Tyrolean mountain lamb, as it contains very little fat (180kcal/100g), is low in cholesterol, rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements – and a source of high quality protein, as 80% of the meat’s protein can be absorbed by the human body.

Tyrolean mountain lamb carrying the ‘Qualität Tirol’ seal of approval has found its way into restaurants and grocery stores alike. This cachet of quality stands for sustainable production of food and agricultural economy in accordance with nature. This concept is both eco-friendly and pleasant to the palate, as these foodstuffs are not just healthier but also a whole lot tastier, providing the true flavour of the Alps! Besides the lamb, several other kinds of meat carry the ‘Qualität Tyrol’ cachet, such as veal, ‘Jahrling’ (yearling calves reared with their mothers), and pork. Also potatoes, eggs, milk and dairy products, fruit, vegetables and Schnaps (distilled spirits) are part of the range.

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Under the motto ‘zero chemicals, happy animals, strict controls’, Tyrolean organic farmers produce ‘Bio vom Berg’, a brand popular with gastronomy and grocery stores alike. Since fertilization and pest control is done without chemicals and no artificial flavour enhancers or colouring is used, products develop their own natural flavour. Good animal husbandry practices and appropriate, all-natural feed also play a decisive role for foodstuff to be wholesome and tasty. If you enjoy exploring the pastures surrounding Innsbruck, if you delight in the sparkling waters of our mountain brooks, if you think it’s quaint that many farming communities in the vicinity of town have preserved their rural character, – in short: if you take pleasure in the harmonious blend of urban life and countryside in this region – then you will surely appreciate an economy that is in accordance with nature, preserving a livable environment and its recreational value.

Organic food has been selling in recent years like hot cakes, in both restaurants and grocery stores. For example, MPreis supermarkets do not only promote innovative architectural design but also believe in such healthy, innovative products, like ‘Bio vom Berg’. Much more than just tokenism, this trend has become a fixture in day-to-day cooking as the range of organic food comprises a remarkable 80 articles, including bread, herbs, eggs, milk and dairy products, as well as organic veal, fruit and vegetables. Why not take home some organic cheeses such as Korbkäse or Almkäse, or a tasty Bergwurzen (hard cured sausage), as a souvenir of your stay in Innsbruck?

If you want to try your hand at preparing a delicious lamb dish, we suggest Lammrücken mit Kräuter-Senfkruste (roast saddle of lamb with herb and mustard crust).

Serves 4-6 people: 1.2kg saddle of Tyrolean mountain lamb (with bone in), salt, pepper, rosemary, oil for frying. For the herb and mustard crust: 100g butter, 200g breadcrumbs, 1 egg, 2tsp chopped parsley, 1tbsp chopped sage, rosemary, thyme, 5tsp mustard, salt, pepper, oil, red wine.

Ask your butcher to crack the bone. Blend all ingredients for the herb and mustard crust, season with salt and pepper. Trim meat, season and brown roast in hot oil on all sides. Place into a roasting dish, coat meat with the herb-mustard paste, sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs. Preheat oven and roast for 30 mins at about 180°C. Leave to rest for a few more minutes. For the gravy add wine to the drippings, bring to a quick boil. The roast is ideally served with roast potatoes and fresh vegetables.

We would also like to recommend a dish which harmoniously bridges the gap between Alpine and Asian cooking, the Bio-Kalbl mit Wokgemüse (organic veal on Wok vegetables).

Serves 4 people: 500g organic veal escalope, 1 red bell pepper, ¼ Chinese cabbage, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 80g bean sprouts, ½ broccoli or 150g Brussels sprouts, salt, pepper, ginger, soy sauce, 1 chilli pepper, a little sesame oil.

Cut meat into thin strips and marinate for 10 mins in oil and chilli. Stir-fry the meat, remove from wok and keep warm. Slice peppers, Chinese cabbage, onion, carrot, broccoli (or Brussels sprouts), add bean sprouts and stir-fry. Add salt and pepper. Add meat, ginger, chillies and soy sauce. Stir gently and serve.

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