South Tyrol, Italy – Slow Food around the Dolomites

With over 1,200 kilometers of ski slopes connecting 12 valleys via a network of 450 lift facilities and 475 runs, no matter where you run your skis or board in the Italian Dolomites you’re just a fork’s distance away from countless small, medium and large-sized baite/hütten/rifugi (chalets).

Here, you can grab a quick, savory bite or drink then head right back out on the slopes; or, like me, take all the time you want around the table or at an après-ski bar after the final run, or both. Hey, you’re on a ski vacation in Italy, so WHAT’S THE RUSH?

Taking a load off in the Dolomites | ©Stefano Sacchiero

These rest stops in the snow serve up some pretty fantastic regional and fusion dishes. The menus are vast, and not just sausage-and-taters, as you might expect.

You may be a skier/boarder looking to take a load off (or is it on?), but the kitchen, bar and wait staffs at these high-altitude oases double-time it constantly and have your thirst quenchers and mouth-watering dishes at the table quicker than you can say, “Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän,” (the longest word in the German language that means, “Danube steamship company captain”).

Bombadiers, Vin Brulé/Glühwein and other stuff

Here’s a short list of places where you can eat and drink that The Palladian Traveler has sampled and highly recommends.


Baite-Hütte Raut (t. +39 347 5351004) — Sitting right alongside the Pista Raut, the long and challenging black-marked run, you can arrive on skis/boards, or just take the chairlift near the base chalet, Grober, on the Versciaco side of Elmo, hop off and walk right in.

Warm and inviting inside, or picturesque outside with a panoramic view of Val Pusteria down to San Candido, proprietor Manfred “Manny” Moser and staff in this two-story challet prepare their killer barbeque chicken wings in a secret sauce that are just the best found outside of North America.

Along with the wings, you’ll find an array of mouth-watering Tyrollean dishes. Top your lunch break off with a custom-drawn caffe followed by a shot of Pere Williams.

One more thing. Take a whack at driving a nail into the tree stump inside, but beware: if you miss hitting the nail on the head, with the hollowed out hammer, you’ll have to buy a round for everyone in the house.

Rifugio Gallo Cedrone-Hahnspielhütte (t. +39 340 2334546 or 340 3934231) — Perched at the very, very top of Monte Elmo — where the views, at 2,150 mt., of the Sesto/Sexten section of the Dolomites are just spectacular — you’ve come to right place to park your skis/board and unbuckle the boots.

Small in size, but big with their portions, you can enjoy the rustic, wood-paneled ambiance inside, or take a table with a view outside. Either way, your thirst and hunger will be well taken care of with a lengthy menu of hearty dishes bearing their signature Austro-Hungarian roots: canederli in broth(bread dumplings), spätzle (small egg noodles) gulasch (thick soup/stew) and speck (smoked prosciutto/ham), just to name a few.

It’s best to call ahead to be sure they’ll be a table ready or just a short wait. And, be aware of the step leading to the restrooms in the back, It’s a doozie!


Lorenzihütte (Ski runs #22 or #23, ski-lifts Lorenzi and Arndt, t. +39 474 592100)Sitting midway up the mammoth ski area in the Olang-Valdaora, Lorenzihütte is a real jewel of alpine ambience. Originally built in the 16th century, this chalet has been expanded upon, but serves meals in a series of small, intimate rustic alcoves or outside on its spacious terrace with camera-ready views of the valley below.  

You can close your eyes and take your pick off the multi-page, multilingual menu without a worry because EVERYTHING is mouth-watering.

Before sitting down, you might want to hang at the bar first, inside or out, and enjoy a Hugo, the house’s specialty aperitif of Sambuco syrup, Prosecco, seltzer water, ice, fresh mint leaves and a slice of lemon. Prosit!

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images


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