Arena Redaktion, 20.04.2023

From the meadow to the plate

Herbs in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena

Fresh wild garlic, local parsley, aromatic chives – regional herbs add flavourful aromas to any number of dishes in Tyrolean cooking. Knut, the chef at the Ox & Ehrlich restaurant in Lermoos, tells us what herbalists should look out for and what you can do with the delicious herbs.

What do bread dumplings, wild garlic pesto and ‘schlutzkrapfen,’ a kind of ravioli, have in common? The Tyrolean and Bavarian specialities are prepared with fresh herbs from the region, which give them their delicious and unmistakable taste. And, of course, no holiday around the Zugspitze is complete until you’ve tried these little delicacies. After all, they simply taste best amid this wonderful mountain scenery. The Ox & Ehrlich restaurant has many of these regional dishes on its menu, and uses only fresh herbs from Tyrol or the Mediterranean region. The restaurant can be found in the Boutique Hotel Bellevue in Lermoos.

Sustainable and seasonal treats

Knut, the hotel’s general manager, is also one of the two chefs at Ox & Ehrlich. He’s particularly fond of the plant-based foods at the restaurant, which have become his speciality. Around half of the dishes on offer are vegan or vegetarian, while the others contain fish or meat. ‘There’s something for everyone, then,’ laughs Knut, himself a vegan. He and his team are also very concerned about the environment. ‘We try to be as sustainable as possible. We only buy our meat and fish from sustainable and responsibly managed sources,’ he says. ‘Our vegetables are also both regional and seasonal. We mainly use what’s growing in Bavaria or Tyrol at any one time, for example Bavarian asparagus or Tyrolean berries. Around harvest time, they’re particularly crunchy and delicious,’ adds Knut.

Parsley, chives, and wild garlic are very popular ingredients in Bavarian and Tyrolean cooking. But herbs from Tyrol, which are less used in everyday cooking, also find their place in Knut’s kitchen, where, for example, he prepares dumplings and pesto from nettles. Knut also enjoys cooking with Mediterranean herbs like fresh thyme and rosemary. Herbalists won’t find these in the Tyrolean forests, but they can still be combined very well with local dishes. ‘You could, of course, go and pick well-known herbs such as dandelion or lovage in the woods yourself,’ says Knut, who himself loves to collect herbs in the vast forests around the Zugspitze.

Get to know regional Tyrolean herbs on a hike

However, the curious shouldn’t set out in search of wild herbs without any prior knowledge, as there’s the considerable risk that you might make a mistake and pick something poisonous without realising. Wild garlic, for example, is very popular but looks confusingly similar to the poisonous lily of the valley or meadow saffron. If you’re undaunted, though, it’s worth knowing that the tourist information in Lermoos offers guided herb walks, on which you can find out about all the local herbs, plants, and other seasonal specialities. And it costs nothing if you’ve got the guest card.

Knut’s favourite herbs in Tyrol, by the way, are wild garlic, chives, and parsley. ‘They taste best fresh, of course. The aroma’s just different,’ he says.

So, had your appetite whetted by all these delicious dishes and aromatic herbs? If you’d like to bring the taste of Tyrol home, you can try recreating Knut’s wonderful recipe for asparagus and wild garlic dumplings. Rounded off, of course, with regional herbs.

Vegan wild garlic dumplings with asparagus
Ingredients for around 6 dumplings
200g stale (spelt) white bread
1 bunch of wild garlic (approx. 150g)
2 tbsp oat flakes
100ml vegetable drink (oat milk)
1/2 onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp wholemeal flour
Salt, pepper, ground caraway, nutmeg, chives
For the vegan topping (ParmeVan)
1 tbsp peeled almonds, 2 tbsp cashews
3 tbsp yeast flakes
1 tsp lemon juice
1 pinch of salt
Cut the stale bread into small cubes of about 1cm.
Now you can allow it to dry further or use it straight away.
Crush the wild garlic to form a pesto or puree it in a food processor with a little olive oil.
Also cut the onion and clove of garlic into small cubes, then fry in the olive oil until translucent.
Add the vegetable drink, the oat flakes, and spices, and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
Pour the mixture over the bread cubes and carefully stir it in.
Gently add the wild garlic pesto, but leave a little aside to use as a topping later.
To make sure the whole thing isn’t kneaded too fine, carefully add in the spelt flour.
After the mixture has boiled for five minutes, slightly moisten your hands and form dumplings. Press them together fairly firmly so that they don’t fall apart later when cooking.
Allow to stand for ten minutes and then place in lightly salted boiling water. As soon as the water boils again, turn down the heat and simmer gently for another ten minutes.
For the ParmeVan, finely blend all the ingredients in a food processor.
Whatever’s left over can be stored in a sealable container in the fridge for over a week and also tastes great with pasta dishes.
Peel the asparagus, cook it, and then toss it in the pan again with salt and pepper, cherry tomatoes, and a little olive oil and season to taste.
Finally, arrange everything on a plate, garnish with fresh chives and some more olive oil, and enjoy.
Bon appetit!
Tip: Even after many years of making dumplings, I still always make a small dumpling first that I cook and taste to work out if I need to season the mixture a little more. If the first dumpling falls apart during this test, it needs to be redone with a little flour.

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