Cook the mountain

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MOUNTAIN MAGIC AT ROSA ALPINA: CHEF NORBERT NIEDERKOFLER WITH HUGO AND URSULA PIZZININI

Delicious surprises! The most amazing Michelin starred cuisine restaurant in a tiny, picturesque Italian village with a population of 750! That it is located in the worlds most dramatic and dazzling Dolomite mountains in Italy which are bathed in brilliant summer sunshine and sparkled with wild flowers magnifies the deliciousness. I shot this fun photograph in the unique chalet-within-the-hotel Rosa Alpina terrace garden where the brilliant Two Michelin starred and highly awarded Chef Norbert Niederkofler full of fun and genius kneels down to Hugo and Ursula Pizzinini who redefine the art of hospitality. In their family owned over seven decade old Rosa Alpina they make all guests feel like family.  Here comfort, luxury and high-tech meld together  in every exquisite detail. From the super-stylish  Zeno chalet within the hotel, the bio hamam, yoga studio to movie theatre and ofcourse St Hubertus, the two Michelin-starred restaurant.

It is here that their two Michelin starred restaurant (the only one in the region) St Hubertus has been magnetizing global gourmets.

MICHELIN MOUNTAIN MAGIC

There is magic in Chef Norberts hands. “The best things are the simple things but at the same time also the hardest things to do” he says as he drives me to meet the producers from whom he directly sources milk, cheese, yoghurt, vegetables and more. “Cook the mountain” is his philosophy and local sourcing is the foundation. Having honed his skills and style under maestros around the world, it was 1993 that Chef Norbert set up St Hubertus in Hotel Rosa Alpina where he continues to dedicate  his cuisine to the local mountain range, using ingredients produced in the Dolomites.

News spread of this ‘Cook the Mountain’ philosophy, as it came to be known, and in 2000 the restaurant won its first Michelin star. ‘We use twenty-five different kinds of carrots throughout the year and an almost endless variety of herbs including amaranth leaves, sorrel, wild onion and celeriac,’ he explains. ‘The most natural ingredients are the most important.’ He tells me this as we drive to meet these producers, I am fascinated and charmed and can fully comprehend the huge number of accolades Chef Norbert and his restaurant have been showered with.

Indeed, his philosophy of “cook the mountain” shines through in his  “simple, clear and clean” cooking, where he skillfully combines only a maximum of 3 or 4 Flavours. His brilliant beetroot gnocchi plump with the surprising horseradish cream, barley risotto with black garlic are some of the vegetarian dishes   that dazzle. I have many of his recipes and happy to share them with you. Please instagram, tweet@rashmiudaysingh  email rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com

CARE’s – THE ETHICAL CHEF DAYS

Making a global mark is Chef Norberts forte… Other than writing bestselling books, being the only Italian chef invited to the World Gourmet summit, organising the Chef’s Cup in San Cassiano,  cooking for Lufthansa Sky Gourmet (LSG)

It is now  CARE, Ethical chefs which in it’s very first edition (in January this year) already has already magnetised the worlds greatest chefs. CARE, set up by Chef Norbert with Paolo Ferretti and Michelin starred chef Giancarolo Morelli,  brought together , 5 continents, 20 nations, 30 chefs for 4 unforgettable days.

The goal of the “CARE’s – The ethical Chef Days“ project is to bring together chefs and people from around the world who all share a common vision: a new, innovative, sustainable and ethical approach to food.

It is a new way to teach adults and children, to raise awareness and encourage respect for nature, to promote environmentally friendly attitudes, and to show how to experience our environment without misusing it. From round table discussions on  the future of food and nutrition and discussions on sustainability, ethics and development, to cooking masterclasses, and lunches in Cook the Mountain style, guided food tastings, wine tastings, wine and infusion tastings and more. The gourmet Gala dinner marks the highlight where the brilliant chefs prepare a gourmet dinner using ingredients that are usually considered “waste”, turning them into culinary delicacies.

Proof that (almost) all parts of raw ingredients can be used and that haute cuisine is not made only with expensive and exotic ingredients, but it can and must be sustainable and educational. The next edition of CARE is scheduled to be in January 2017 in the very same charming San Cassiano village with it’s population of 750 inhabitants which will magnetise the world here with Chef Norbert’s “cook the mountain” philosophy. Whoa! Mountain magic at it’s best!

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