Hiking in Ischgl at the Paznaun equals pleasure for all senses. A true highlight for your taste buds is the Culinary Way of St. James. Hiking with a hefty serving of culinary delights, so to speak!
Hiking, eating, enjoying
When the first Culinary Way of St. James took place in 2008, nobody knew just how successful it would become. In cooperation with the chef of the century, Eckart Witzigmann, the Culinary Way of St. James started as an endeavour to improve the quality of the food served at the local Alpine Association huts. Today the event attracts gourmets and gourmands from all over the world.
The idea behind it: local top chefs are supposed to bring a breath of fresh air into the kitchens of five select mountain huts at the Paznaun. Then, the dishes created for the event remain on the respective hut’s menu for the rest of summer season.
Ischgl as part of the “Genussregion Österreich”
The popularity of the event isn’t surprising considering that the Paznaun is one of the “Genussregionen Österreich” (Austria’s culinary pleasure regions) since 2007. Its flagship product is primarily the Paznaun mountain cheese but also regional variations of bacon, sausages, honey and more.
On the five routes to the respective huts of the Culinary Way of St. James, five toque-awarded and starred chefs present the best of their creations. The motto being: “Leisurely hikes and culinary delights”.
The protected brand “Genussregion Österreich” stands for regional products and specialities and serves as an info platform for the special offers of the various regions. The intention was to make the connection between the cultural landscape and food production more transparent. Because traditional regional products are not just culinary highlights – they also stand for identity and belonging.
Hence, it’s no surprise that, at the restaurants and mountain huts of the region, plenty of regional products – sometimes products of their own making – end up in the pots and pans. Some mountain huts exclusively serve dishes made with products of their own farming. Especially, the Paznaun mountain cheese achieves this desired cultural-culinary unity.
The secret star: the Paznaun mountain cheese
The Paznaun mountain cheese is exclusively made with raw milk from the valley and mountain pastures of the region. Thanks to its mildly aromatic to savoury taste, the ripe, yellow cheese with pea-sized holes has plenty of fans. It has to ripen for about six weeks before it can be enjoyed. And then, the cheese gourmets get to savour not just a piece of the best Tyrolean cheese but also a piece of Tyrolean culture.
Good to know: The mountain cheese is at the centre of many of the dishes throughout the Culinary Way of St. James.