Ski Trek Villabassa 2014: Veni, Vidi, Edi
With apologies to Julius Caesar, just a slight word swap on the famous Latin quote attributed to him following his swift and victorious military campaign at the Battle of Zela in 47 BC: Veni, Vidi, Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered), and I, too, can sum up my just-concluded, front-line antics at Ski Trek Villabassa (STV) — the annual reunion in the snow up in the Dolomites of northern Italy — in three words: Veni, Vidi, Edi (I came, I saw, I ate).
Along with the other 18 ski bums that made up this year’s trimmed-down avalanche of Canucks, Italians and Yanks, I devoured three squares a day of mouthwatering South Tyrolean slow food dishes, countless aperitivi, and award-winning wines, beers and spirits from around the Alto Adige region of La Penisula.
Here, under the centuries-old roof, guests are treated to gastronomical delights prepped by executive chef Helene Markart and her expert culinary staff from recipes straight out of the pages of her regional cookbook: Cucina Magica delle Dolomiti (Magic of Dolomites Cuisine).
Like the 425 or so runs scatted across the UNESCO World Heritage site that is the Dolomites, our midday respites were endless — both in choice and time spent around la tavola.
Hey, we’re in Italy, on vacation; what’s the rush when we’re talking SLOW food.
From Hugo (Ugo) to Spritz Aperol aperitivi; red, white and sparkling (think Prosecco) wines; grappa in all kinds of flavors including my fave, Pear Williams; and, outstanding regional dishes like canederli (bread dumplings) in broth or creatively stuffed, spätzle (small egg dumplings), gulasch (thick soup/stew), wurst (sausage) and speck (smoked prosciutto ham).
We gnawed our way through it all, and then some, like a finely-tuned ski team negotiating the slalom gates in preparation for Sochi 2014. Yep, STV was our Winter Olympics, at the table at least, and we all medalled. Here’s a virtual assaggio (taste).
In between all the calorie-laden dishes (who cares!) and topped-off wine goblets, beer steins and shot glasses (why not?), there was “Hockey Night in Cortina” at the rink inside the Olympic Ice Stadium — site of the 1956 Winter Games — a torchlight trek around Lago Dobbiaco (Lake Dobbiaco), strolls down the snow-covered pedestrian-only walkways of Brunico and San Candido, and countless downhill runs over some of the more than 1,200 kilometers of ski slopes that make up Dolomiti Superski.
Granted, this was a settimana bianca (white week), the time-honored Italian tradition of enjoying a week out on the slopes on skis, snowboards or sleds, but we did our fair share of “attacking” with knives, forks and spoons, too.
In other words, we came for the snow, but stayed for the food. GREAT food. And, it won’t be any different next year when we celebrate the milestone XXV edition of Ski Trek Villabassa.
I’m already counting down the days toward January 17, 2015 when I can once again boast from the peaks and valleys of the Dolomites: Veni, Vidi, Edi!
©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images