My parents owned a small hotel in the Alto Adige and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. But I dreamed of travelling the world. I attended the Hotel Management School in Tegernsee, in Germany, and then I trained further in Italy and in starred restaurants in London, Zurich, Milan... My most formative experiences were with Eckart Witzigmann in Munich and David Bouley in New-York. I learnt that perfection can be reached when you respect nature and the quality of the produce. You can’t make anything good without that.At Rosa Alpina, with the Pizzinini family, we started with a pizzeria before we won stars: the first in 2001, the second in 2006. And that brought with it a considerable change in our clientele. My cuisine follows a mountain, Italian tradition, with Austrian influences from the South Tyrol, and is simple and clear. We use techniques designed to respect the produce we use and get the best out of it without altering its true nature.
Cranberries have a wonderful taste, a blend of sweet and tart sensations. As they ripen, they develop a real harmony of flavors. We use them cold, mixed very slowly with sugar in the blender, or cooked to make a jam. We serve them as an accompaniment to guinea fowl or venison as well as in desserts — one of which we call Enrosadira (“the peak of the Dolomites”).
Our cranberries are much smaller than the ones that grow in Scandinavia or North America. I remember my parents selling them in their store when I was a young boy. We had to wash them and take off the leaves, which was a good summer job for me. There were so many cranberries I dreamed about them at night. Today I buy cranberries from farmers, and even more often from local women who go out to gather them for us.