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Skiing is only part of the story when it comes to Italy. The great flavours of Italian food and wine – a fusion of Alpine and Mediterranean cuisine – and cultural attractions, ensure that you’ll have as memorable a time off the slopes as on them.

Famous for food

South Tyroleans take their food seriously and with an abundance of local produce there are no food mile worries here. Local specialities include Schlutzkrapfen (ravioli filled with spinach and cheese), sauerkraut, dumplings made with bread and speck or spinach-coated with butter or cheese, roast venison with polenta, red cabbage, goulash and smoked meats. Desserts include pastries such as strudel stuffed with apples or pears, nuts and raisins. Rich with lush vegetation, South Tyrol produces apples, grapes and chestnuts and accounts for more than one tenth of Europe’s total apple production.

Star attractions

South Tyrol is home to 17 restaurants deemed worthy of a Michelin star, with three of them in a single valley, Alta Badia (www.altabadia.org). The region also contains the highest Michelin-starred restaurant in Italy, Auener Hof, found at 1,600 m above sea level. A full list of the Michelin-starred restaurants in South Tyrol can be found at www.suedtirol.info. And it’s not just in its cuisine that the region excels: South Tyrol is one of Italy’s smallest winegrowing regions but one of its wines, the Sylvaner 2010, Nössing Manfred – Hoandlhof from the Valle Isarco/Eisacktal valley was declared Italian White Wine of the year 2012.

The high life

While exploring the peaks of South Tyrol, you will find delicious home-made cuisine in mountain huts. Enjoy a flower salad at Gostner Schwaige on the Alpe di Siusi/Seiseralm Alpine pasture, sample the best fish in South Tyrol at the Rifugio Comici on the slopes above Val Gardena/Gröden and finish off with the best grappa on the slopes at Jimmy Hütte on the Sellaronda above Alta Badia. During the winter, three of Alta Badia’s Michelin-starred chefs, together with five colleagues from neighbouring valleys, create dishes for 11 selected mountain ski huts within the valley, in a initiative known as ‘A Taste for Skiing’. The ‘Gourmet Ronda’ circuit allows skiers to ski from one hut to another, savouring selected Michelin-starred South Tyrolean dishes.