The fascination of this place
is not about what there is
but about what is missing.

This is not a cliché.

February 2014

10 February 2014

German stars

The new Berghotel Ladinia had just opened its doors for the first time and already you could feel that warmth and welcome in the air. The sun was brilliant and illuminating the snow, making it shine like a precious diamond framed by the splendid Dolomites. 
A weekend to relax and wind down and enjoy the menu based on a selction of local produce (menus are focused on the simple joys of cuisine and the influence of traditional dishes is clear). Yjen there are the songs in the local Ladin language and the company of friends, seated altogether in the classic wooden Stuben. All contributes to the intimate atmosphere we associate with yesteryear.
Bernhard Bettermann, Stephan Luca, and Hannes Jaenicke tell us of their Alta Badia: “Hospitality and that ‘feeling at home’ sensation.”
Many have already taken advantage of the Berghotel Ladinia offer, habitual guests of Hotel La Perla, friends in general and even local folk too. To mention also the visit of a group of German actors, they looking to enjoy the combination of ski excursions and a taste of the  traditional life. 
What better example of such than a morning out dedicated to a ski race in old style Luis Trenker skiwear, and learning more about the art of the telemark skiing style. ... and then as a reward a selection of dishes prepared by following traditional and authentic recipes of a time gone by! 
In a sunny and relaxing setting it was good to meet the German actors Hannes Jaenicke, Stephan Luca, and Bernhard Bettermann; for all three of them Alta Badia is a place which they joyfully return to time after time. 

Bernhard Bettermann, for him Alta Badia means ... 
a place not only magnificent from a landscape point of view but a hideaway where one can feel good and relax as if at home. The food is certainly one of the strong points of the area: each and every dish is a surprise. And it is not only in the village restaurants and hotels that the cuisine pleases, but also in the mountain hots dotted along the slopes it is a joy to savour. At least once in the winter season you need to experience Alta Badia, but then the allure is so great that you are tempted to visit in summer too; a mountainbike outing is for example a great way to discove the valleys and their treasures and to stay well away from the interference of traffic, and just to enjoy Nature to the full. If by chance circumstances dictate that you miss your visit for a year or two, the pressure to return and reestablish contact with the joys of the region is ever so strong. In a skiing context it is the Gran Risa slope which excites body and mind and puts your physique and ability to he test  - if possible it is great to do it early evening after the slopes have been freshly prepared - and if you are lucky you can even have the chance to come down as part of a torch-lit group.  The valleys themselves have a million and one secrets to reveal and your enthusiasm to discover more will lead you to return again and again. One of the unforgettable experiences to go for if you can is a helicopter ride over the Marmolada glacier. Of course the Dolomiti Superski carousel is a paradise for skiers and the Sellaronda tour is a ‘must do’, and if you can do it every year you keep well informed on the developments in all the Ladin valleys. Unfortunately the time always comes to leave but such is the impact had that you always know deep in your heart that it is merely time to bid farewell and that you will return as soon as time permits. 

Stephan Luca, for him Alta Badia means …
Hospitality and a warm friendly welcome; essntial elements of any great holiday. Coming down the Gran Risa in the evening is one of the memorable emotions associated with  Alta Badia; and the Alto Adige wines are worthy of a mention too! The aromatic whites are really distinctive and there is one which stands out above all, and it is the Sauvignon from the cellars of Girlan (Bz). The ‘fiorentina’ steak prepared by Willy in the Punta Trieste mountain hut is always one of the great holiday treats – and Willy’s Kaiserschmarren is not bad either! The attention paid to guests in the mountain huts is certainly one of the traits of this valley; the welcome you receive and the beauty of the mountains is certainly a winning combination. Alta Badia never disappoints you and in fact it always surprises in its ability to show off its many facets. Among my favourite memories in absolute are some of the everyday moments to do with dining: an aperitif in the kitchen with chef Norbert Niederkofler , or an early evening ‘hello’in the Hotel La Perla kitchen!  

Hannes Jaenicke, for him Alta Badia means …
A place to come back to. I have been a visitor to Alta Badia for 15years and have an inseperable relationship with the area. The very fact of being able to visit the area every year brings great joy. I return always willingly, both to admire anew the beauty of the stunning landscape, but also I look forward greatly to seeing many friends and aquaintances. 
The lightness of the air is something you do not find elsewhere and there is certainly no time nor place for stress when you visit. Among my preferred dishes is the ‘mezzelune ripiene di ricotta e spinaci’ (ravioloi with spinach and cottage cheese), while the Alto Adige wines are certainly my favourites. Concern and support for others is an important consideration even in holidaytime and I am always keen to be updated on the great work of the Costa family with their  “Costa Family Foundation”, and it is always good to think of how tourism can help the needy. Alta Badia is one of my favourite destinations in Europe. When I think of skiing I immediately think of the Gran Risa at La Villa, the  Marmolada, and the slopes at Arabba. In summertime the valley is a magnificent natural spectacle; the one disappointing point would be the noise of the motorbikes along the valley roads for such noise pollution has no place at all in such a setting. The presence and respect for traditions in the valley is ever so evident and you can witness it in the daily life of the villagefolk, in the architecture and in the culture, and of course in the cuisine and the language.

Concetta Bonaldi