The sheer brilliance of mid-ride stops at mountain huts in the German-speaking Alps is likely one of the main reasons you keep coming back, summer after summer. It’s all well and good smuggling a croissant-to-go from the hotel buffet into your jersey pocket or lining your bumbag with energy bars. However, for a more blissful taste experience and the most serene views for your eyes, you’ve got to ride a little further. Here are our must-eat mountain grub suggestions!
Simple is best. No preservatives, no additives and definitely no flavour enhancers (those are free, just take in those well-earned views over the lush Alpine meadows and mountain peaks). This scenery may have entranced hikers and cyclists since way back when, but it isn’t just the postcard-perfect views that attracted them. Mountain grub is down-to-earth, hearty, and just so damn tasty (and all the more so when you’ve had to work for it). Just as Hansel and Gretel were waylaid by the lure of the gingerbread house, the mountainsides have their own temptations in the form of mountain huts that will entice you with the promise of food and rest. They have magical kitchens, where flour, eggs, milk and butter are transformed into a true marvel on a plate. What better time than now to explore the culture of mountain huts?
Kaiserschmarrn – a stylishly messed up pancake
A staple delicacy in the Alps. Nutritious and tasty – could this be the ultimate mid-ride snack? Flour, eggs, sugar, milk and butter are all it needs to woo you. The jury is still out on adding raisins, though we’re big advocates of the sweet little nuggets, especially when soaked in rum.
Germknödel – jam-filled dumplings of the greatest kind
Not just a hit with ebikers, these yeast dough dumplings filled with plum jam and served with a generous dollop of vanilla sauce and poppy seed sugar are the mother of all mountain snacks. Densely calorific, they’re a sure-fire way to recharge your battery. Warning: don’t try and make them at home, there’s little to no chance that they’ll taste anywhere near as good as at 2,000 metres above sea level.
Kaminwurzn-Bergkäse-Jauseplatte – a platter of fire-smoked mountain cheeses and cured meats
Rustic! The ultimate low-carb option for those with an eye on their power-to-weight ratio. Many mountain huts also tend to their own livestock, so expect a generously sized plate filled with some of the tastiest organic delicacies around from their own cows, goats, or sheep that trek up to the high Alpine pastures each summer for the best grass in the region. If you’ve got space in your backpack, we’d recommend stocking up as you won’t find this sort of quality in any supermarket!
Pizza – the failsafe for when you panic about the language
WFor those out riding on the southern side of the Alps, you’d be wise to stop at an authentic Italian mountain hut for a pizza. We’ll bet you a tenner that even at 2,000 metres they’ll put your local pizza takeaway to shame. With a thin, crispy base and topped with the finest ingredients, expect next-level pizzas with scenery that wouldn’t look out of place in a tourist brochure!
Kaspressknödel-Suppe – cheese dumpling soup
After a sweat-inducing climb, one way to recharge your batteries is to indulge in this hearty soup. A staple meal in Tirol, it’s as important to the region as beer is to Oktoberfest. Made with bread, cheese, eggs, milk and a whole host of secret ingredients, the baked golden hues of this traditional energy source are served in a clear broth to fill your tummy, leaving you ready to ride back down the mountain with a satisfied and sated smile!
Have you worked up an appetite for your next mountain ride yet? Here’s where we should probably mention that it isn’t all cowbells and bliss up there. We expect you’ll have to learn the perils of eating well the hard way. While your ebike gets a much-needed charge, you’ll be putting away a fairly substantial amount of calories too. That brings with it a whole host of risks and can quite often result in a) sleepiness or b) a food coma. Challenging if you’re 2,000 metres above sea level and your hotel is down at the bottom. We suggest a post-meal espresso to neutralise the effects and get you back on your feet. Then try riding with the motor switched off to shake off the food-induced lethargy before blasting down the rest of the way. On that note, eat well and have a good ride!
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Words: Sven Günzel Photos: E-MOUNTAINBIKE Team, Adobe Stock