Anyone coming to South Tyrol during the season when colourful leaves float to the ground probably has the same word going round and round their head: TÖRGGELEN. Tasting a glass of 'suser' wine in a cosy atmosphere by a crackling fire with chestnuts roasting on it and filling up on tasty and original culinary fare from South Tyrol … yes, anyone spending time in South Tyrol in autumn just HAS to go for a spot of 'törggelen'. South Tyrol's private hosts suggest a few things to look out for when planning a 'törggelen' trip, and they are the ones who should know!
„Nuier Wein, Keschtn und a ordntlichs Essn“
This means “New wine, chestnuts and a proper meal“. This is how you could translate the answer of one host from South Tyrol to the question as to what 'törggelen' has to be like.
Basically, anywhere where chestnuts grow and good wine is produced could be called 'real törggelen'. That's why the Eisacktal Valley with its 'Keschtnweg' path and South Tyrol Wine Road with its wine villages are the most famous and popular areas for outings revolving around chestnuts.“When it comes to 'törggelen', we have everything here“ assures me Nadia Riffesser from Appartements Riffesser in Klausen. The perfect end to a day's autumnal walk might involve a sociable get-together in a Tyrolean 'stube' with music, chestnuts and a couple of glasses of new wine and substantial dishes such as house sausage or salt meat with sauerkraut. At Frau Senoner's place, feasting on home-made 'schlutzkrapfen' spinach ravioli, 'Erdäpfelplattln' potato pancakes, fresh apple juice and sweet 'krapfen' pastries filled with 'kloatzn', dried pears, or with jam brings the 'törggelen' spirit out in me!
“It has to be good, honest fare...“
“The important thing is that the dishes are made from the farm's own produce and it is for this reason that 'törggelen' should only be on the menu where products are sourced directly from the farm or which grow there“, Heidi Wachtler from Gartenhof in Brixen-Bressanone informs us. The best places for this are traditional 'Buschenschänke' or local rustic cellars, where the host family takes the time to clink glasses and chat a little with their guests. 'Törggelen' in fancy restaurants is just not the same! “That's just not the real thing“ warns Paul Profanter from Villa Tanja in Kastelruth. It's better to enjoy the cosy, snug atmosphere of comfy farm 'stuben'.
Anyone still looking for a bit more action should go on a trip to Merano and Environs. Martin Stöger from Freiberghof in Lana lets us know that the 'törggelen' season there is rung in on 1st October with a big festival in Lana. This is followed by days celebrating the humble chestnut in Tesimo, Prissiano, Foiana and Lana. This provides the chance to witness processions, do some bread-baking, a chestnut cookery course, not forgetting the large 'Traubenfest' celebrating grapes in Meran-Merano, too.
In the evening, when the sun sheds its last warming rays on colourful woodland, you can still knock at the door of some local farms to break open a few chestnuts and raise a toast in good company.