A few weeks back I had a wild hair. So much so that I was on the computer late night, was thinking about my friends in Austria, missing them, they have been bugging me to come out, I found a terrific deal on a plane ticket and sure enough I was in Austria this past week. A quick trip but well worth every second that I packed into one week abroad. Holy cow, such a blur. I am one lucky gal that my life allows me to take off on a moments notice and that I have a passport ready to go. I know that I am nuts but my motto has always been, “life is too short” and when an opportunity presents itself you gotta take it. So I did.
My home base was St Anton am Arlberg. St Anton is located in the South Western part of Austria in the Tyrolean Alps. “Am Alberg” meaning the mountain range that St Anton is located- all the towns in the region have “am Arlberg” after the town name. So if I lived in Breckenridge- it would be Breckenridge in the Ten Mile Range. This was my second trip to St Anton. The first was in the Spring of 1990. In 1990, there was no snow and in 2015 there was very little compared to Colorado standards. So needless to say the skiing was difficult for me (ugh, rental skis) but super fun nonetheless- Heck, I got to ski with my favorite ski partner in my life! We also got to go snowshoeing. That was such a terrific experience. We saw some beautiful scenery and we even hiked to a “Hütte” for lunch in a valley that was two miles up in the middle of no where Austria. What made me laugh was that the hut was packed with people. Who the heck hikes up for a bite to eat? Austrians do…
Besides the skiing and snowshoeing in the Alps, we ate amazing food, laughed a ton, caught up after eight years apart, made some great meals, met really fun people from around the world (everyone was so friendly), came up with my own version of speaking German (God help us), drank really good beer, schnapps and Austrian wine, ate a ton of sausage and cheese (they eat a lot of cheese), partied at bars that never close, danced a ton, listened to great live music, aprè’d skied (St Anton is known for the best aprè ski in Europe), went “rodeling” sledding, hung out with the kiddos, learned about how important music is in the St Anton community (so cool), shopped and hung out with amazing friends. I’m not sure how we could have done anymore. It was perfect, especially for a gal that can’t sit still!
So enough about my trip… Let’s talk food… From my first minute in Austria people asked if I had Käsespätzle yet? What, what would that be? Austrian mac and cheese to put it simply. I am not sure where my life was before I ate this. “Shietza”. We were lucky to stop at Senn Hütte while we were on the mountain. They are known for serving the best Käsespätzle in St Anton and it so happens that my friend AnnaLisa is friends with the owners… Lucky us. I got to experience pure calorie bomb delight, rich, stringy melty cheese combined with light dumpling awesomeness and drink homemade schnapps made from a private stash… Whoa… this deserves a recipe. Please enjoy. It’s one of those dishes that you need to try. If you need advice on making, email me- it was hard to get pictures with one hand! Oh, make sure you fry the onions- it’s traditional and needs to be incorporated for a reason! OH MY GOD food!
Käsespätzle- Cheese Spätzle
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- pinch of nutmeg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese Emmental cheese or Swiss cheese
- chopped fresh chives
- one small onion sliced thin
- oil for frying
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, salt and nutmeg. Add the flour and mix well.
- Bring a large of salted water to a boil.
- Fill a zip lock baggie with the dough and cut a small hole from one of the corners. Be careful not to cut it too big otherwise you will have big späztle. You don't want that.
- Squeeze two to three inches of the dough into the pot. I do about 10 or so per batch. The spätzle will float when they are cooked. Remove and place into a strainer. Repeat this process until all the späztle are cooked. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
- In a large saute pan melt the butter and add the cooked spätzle until well incorporated. Add the cheese in small batches until it is all mixed in well. You may need to add a little broth if it seems too dense.
- In another saute pan fill it with about two inches of oil and fry the onions until golden brown.
- Serve with fried onions and fresh chives.