Törggelen in Valle Isarco

Stemming from a bygone era when farmers would visit neighboring homesteads to taste the nuien or new wine, Törggelen (from the latin term torculum, the equipment used to squeeze the grapes) is a celebration of the end of the grape harvest. It is in this period of dwindling daylight hours in which the custom embodies all things autumnal, be it the leaves that turn brilliant hues of fiery red, gold, yellow and orange, or in the sweet nutty aroma of roasting chestnuts, and it is during this time of year that Valle Isarco turns into a paradise for tourists and others like myself who are drawn to the pleasure of good food and drink.

Commencing from around the end of September and through November, a great number of wine producers, farmhouses and all degree of food establishments open their doors in a nod towards the vino novello. Saturdays are especially busy, or so we’ve been told, as whole families turn out for the weekend. If you want to take on an entire afternoon of törggelening (I just made that word up!), several locations are in close proximity and can be reached by connecting footpaths.

Törggelemenu

As this was our first Törggelen, we went to nearby Unteraichner in Barbiano. They offered a multi-course Törggelemenu, with everything made in-house and served by family members dressed in traditional garb.

Gerstsuppe
To begin the meal: gerstsuppe (barley soup) to warm the soul.

Kasnoken & schlutzkrapfen
Primo: canederli (cheese and bread dumplings) and schlutzkrapfen (spinach-filled ravioli) doused in butter and more cheese.

Blattln & kraut
Followed by more tasty carbs: blatten and kraut. Delicate potato fritters that you eat by spooning some kraut on top, fold in half and devour in one bite.

Schlachteplatte
Secondo: platter of various pork deliciousness with vegetables and more kraut.

Castagne arrosto
Piping hot chestnuts, partially peeled and ready to eat.

Krapfen
Dessert: assorted krapfen. Fried strips of pastry dough filled with fruit jam and chestnut puree. At this point we could barely finish half of what was on the plate. This was followed by a basket of apples and grapes, grappino (a tiny shot of housemade grappa), and coffee.

The meal lasted 2.5 hours, due to rather lengthy intervals between each dish. I don’t know if it’s just how they roll or if the kitchen was short on help, but thankfully the experience won’t be one that my tastebuds will ever forget. I can only sum it up like this:
The good: total sum including water and half liter of house wine – 58€
The not so good: too many flies. I know it’s farm country, but battling them at dinner? We sent at least 5 to insect heaven.
FYI: reservations suggested; no credit cards; dog-friendly.

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4 thoughts on “Törggelen in Valle Isarco

    1. Rowena Post author

      We looked over to the couple sitting next to us and they were having the same problem, but less so (they were only eating chestnuts). I HOPE the fly population is only because the cows come down from the mountains for winter. The first thing I said when we reached the village was ‘Hey, this place smells like cow!’ 😮 Depends which way the wind blows.

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  1. Rowena

    It was a definite feast, and the next time we’ll try the walking from farmhouse-to-farmhouse option and enjoy a little bit of something at each stop. Happy fall to you too!

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