If you are interested in South Tyrol during the autumn season, there is no getting around the famous “Törggelen”. But what is this Törggelen actually, can I order it and what is Keschtn? All this and much more is explained with our 5 tips on how to make Törggelen right.
But before we start, here is a brief overview of where Törggelen comes from and why South Tyroleans even call this tradition “their fifth season”:
As some may already suspect, this is not a culinary dish, but a centuries-old custom that has its origins in the winemaking tradition of South Tyrol. In fact, after the grape harvest, the winegrowers used to meet with friends, wine merchants, and relatives to taste the grape must, the so-called “Nuien wine”, the wine must. The name Törggelen comes from the “Torggl”, the South Tyrolean term for wine press (lat. torquere, turn).
Nowadays, there is much more to it than just tasting young wine. It is much more a way of life in autumn, a leisure activity which is as much a part of autumn as the air we breathe. There is no Törggelen without pleasant walks through golden yellow vineyards and over rustling leaves of chestnut trees and a stop at traditional wineries and Buschenschänke. In the “Stuben” of the “Buschen- und Hofschänke” traditional South Tyrolean delicacies such as Schlutzkrapfen, dumplings, surf meat, house sausages, sauerkraut, roasted chestnuts, and finally sweet doughnuts are served. As an accompaniment, you will of course drink the nuien wine of your own vintage.
You have also got the desire for Törggelen? Then follow these 5 tips for your next South Tyrol vacation in autumn and you will understand why Törggelen is so important for the locals and many others.
1) Plan a whole afternoon and evening for this
Törggelen does not only make one so on the speed with a dinner in a Buschenschank. If you want to have the full experience, you should definitely take the whole afternoon for it and go on a nice hike through the unique autumn atmosphere of the colorful vineyards. The Törggele paths lead past numerous farm and Buschenschänke (wine taverns) and invite you to stop off with a good glass of wine.
The locals also like to compare the young wines of the different winegrowers in the area.
2) Choosing the right company
Törggelen is simply more fun with the right company. Traditionally, one hikes at Törggelen together with friends, family, or for example as a sports club. In times of Corona, hiking and stopping off in large groups will no longer be possible, but with the right friends and family members, it is fun even in small groups and, if necessary, with distance rules.
3) Choosing the right locations
The real Törggele experience can only be found in the traditional Buschenschänke and the rustic wine cellar. Meanwhile, even normal restaurants offer classic Törggele dishes such as surf meat, home-made sausage, and chestnuts, but in the cozy parlor of the Buschenschank, it simply tastes much better.
4) Do not order “1x Törggelen” under any circumstances
A common mistake made by visitors to South Tyrol in autumn is to order “1x Törggelen please for 3” in the Buschenschank. As already mentioned, Törggelen is a tradition and not a dish you can order.
5) Use the right glossary
If you want to mingle unnoticed among the numerous locals, it is best to use these South Tyrolean terms:
- Nuier wine = young wine, grape must
- Siaßer = young wine, grape must
- Keschtn = chestnuts, chestnuts
- Blattln with cabbage = potato dough sheets with sauerkraut
- Knedl = dumpling
- Schlutzer = Schlutzkrapfen (rye dough pockets with spinach pot filling)
- Surf meat = salted meat
Want to get Törggelen? If you would like to experience this tradition first hand, then visit the Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Falkensteinerhof in Vals, South Tyrol and discover the best hiking trails and Buschenschänke in the area.