Das Picknick zur Mittagszeit | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Antje Pabst

12 Mar. 2017 · Culinary | Winter Activities

Where You See The Word ‘Genuss’, Expect Pure Culinary Pleasure

This is the theme of the hike which I have been invited to on this particular Thursday at the beginning of March. I know my guide well; he is Herbert Edlinger, THE go-to expert on everything to do with regional products from Kleinwalsertal.

Snowshoe Hikes Through the Genussregion (Gourmet Region)

This is the theme of the hike which I have been invited to on this particular Thursday at the beginning of March.
I know my guide well; he is Herbert Edlinger, THE go-to expert on everything to do with regional products from Kleinwalsertal.

He is a trained chef and he knows what he is talking about when it comes to gastronomy. His philosophy is as follows: ‘It is important to cook in harmony with nature and to make the most of the abundance of ingredients that grow and flourish right on our doorsteps. It is only a short journey from the alpine meadow to the plate and I advocate the use of uncomplicated recipes that are based on only what is essential – this is how it should be. Why? So that the techniques that our ancestors used on a daily basis can once again assume their rightful place both today and into the future. This should also be reflected in the products we use which should be as simple as possible and attuned to nature as much as possible.’

Geführte Genussgruppe  | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Antje Pabst

On this particular Thursday morning, we are meeting in Riezlern. After my fellow hikers and I have been equipped with snowshoes hired from the helpful team at Kessler Sport , we walk to the Auenhütte which is where our short hike is supposed to start. When we arrive, we put on our snowshoes. Those who have never been on a snowshoe hike are given a quick demonstration on how to handle the equipment which is really very easy to use.

I quickly fasten my sky-blue snowshoes to my boots and am ready to go. As soon as we move away from the hustle and bustle of the Auenhütte, the surroundings quickly become peaceful and the hike takes on the type of atmosphere that is important to Herbert. Enjoyment is the priority right from the beginning. It is easy to observe this in the way he derives so much enjoyment from helping others to experience nature both during the summer and the winter on group hiking tours. The qualified hiking and snowshoe hiking guide is a fantastic walking companion. He invites us to experience many interesting things and to learn about the unique alpine environment of Kleinwalsertal.

Schneeschuhwandern im Kleinwalsertal | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Antje Pabst

Herbert encourages us to offload all the rubbish that we carry about in our heads, to unburden ourselves of all our everyday worries and concerns that cause us stress and to ‘simply let go’.

We manage to do this within a very short amount of time. There is no need to exert ourselves by climbing up steep paths or by meeting any difficult sporting challenges; we just leisurely tramp our way through the deep snow that is covering the landscape of beautiful Schwarzwassertal. We initially head towards Melköde for a short stretch. We then turn round, stand on top of the dyke and marvel at the new reservoir which was created in Schwarzwassertal this summer. Herbert tells us a little bit about the large Ifen project, including how it has evolved until now and how things will continue this summer.

He also provides some information on how the landscape looks during the summer and about the alpine meadows and agricultural activities. Important issues include the removal of dog waste from areas that are grazed or cultivated because this can cause severe health problems for the cows if they eat contaminated grass and the hay harvest can become completely ruined by it.

Wanderung auf Schneeschuhen | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Antje Pabst

However, it is not easy to think about the summer on this snowy morning. Even when a snowstorm lashes us in our faces, Herbert is able to take pleasure from this type of weather and jests: ‘You are even getting a complementary spa treatment with a special type of facial exfoliation!’ We couldn’t help laughing – and YES, it can even be pleasant to be out and about among nature in this sort of weather. It is not only possible to be pleasant – it is actually pleasant!

As we hike through the beautiful scenery in a companionable way, chatting about this and that, it is possible to observe in every word and sentence that Herbert utters, how truly connected he is to nature and the degree of respect he bestows on it. He has been selling locally produced products from the Walser Buura farmers’ cooperative since 2006. He also produces his own natural products with a great deal of love and passion. We now know little nuggets of information, such as where good Bärlauch (wild garlic) grows, however, I am not going to divulge this insider tip here.

Das Picknick zur Mittagszeit | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Antje Pabst

As we cheerfully enjoy chatting with each other, we hardly notice how quickly the time is passing. It is only when Herbert announces that we are going to take a break and takes an assortment of delicious food out of his rucksack for a small picnic that we notice that it is midday and that our stomachs are rumbling a little. Having a picnic during the summer is not a problem, however, how on earth do you have a picnic in the snow? Our mouths are starting to water as we watch everything being arranged before us. We do not hesitate when we are invited to tuck in. Herbert assures us that ‘everything here is genuinely locally sourced.’

We really enjoy all the food we are offered. Among the feast are cheeses from the Mittelalp, sausage from Christoph Rüf and Christian Beck, bread from the Bäckerei Scherrer, from Herbert himself home-made alpine hay mustard and to finish, a good Nusser (walnut liqueur) from the Edlinger household. Everything tastes even better in the fresh air and in this special atmosphere. It is certain that during the next few days one or other of my fellow hikers will drop by to see Herbert on his stall at the weekly market in Hirschegg in order to ensure they can take some of these wonderful tastes back home with them.

Nussgeist zum verdauen  | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Antje Pabst

By the time we finally make our way back, our gourmet expert Herbert has certainly managed to ensure that we had a truly pleasurable time. We have not only enjoyed excellent locally produced products, but also the uniquely beautiful landscape. As we said our goodbyes we are asked whether we had managed to clear our heads. We are able to wholeheartedly affirm that this was the case.

If there is sufficient snow on the ground, this short guided snowshoe tour with Herbert Edlinger through the Kleinwalsertal Game and Cattle Genussregion will be run every Thursday up until 30/03/2017 before Herbert stops for a short break. The tours start again from the middle of May when he welcomes his guests to join him on a Ramble through the Genussregion. Herbert will give you a behind the scenes tour of regional products and show you where the products originate from, guiding you on a journey from the alpine meadow to the plate. He will entertain you with the insider lowdown on the region’s culinary secrets and you will of course get to enjoy his special gourmet picnic.
Why not come along?! Kleinwalsertal Tourismus will be pleased to arrange the booking for you and Herbert Edlinger, the man with great taste, will look forward to welcoming you.

In the cheese cellar | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen |Photographer: Hans Wiesenhofer

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