Buried in the Dolomites massif in Italy, at an altitude of nearly 1,700 metres, Terra - The Magic Place establishment bears its name well. In this exceptional hotel-restaurant nestled in the mountains, the Schneider family has created a family cocoon in which cuisine blends with nature.
Terra - The Magic Place is a family owned, nature-inspired hideaway for gourmets that explores biodiversity and its local landscape in a unique way.
The Schneider family, the magic wand behind the business, grew up in the region, loving the mountain and getting to know the secrets of its wilderness. What's more, brother and sister Heinrich and Gisela have always been foodies. When they were kids, they used to go out to special restaurants with their parents for grand occasions. So, it’s not all that surprising that today they own a magical, cuisine-driven destination right where their grandfather’s ski-hut guest house used to be.
Heinrich Schneider is the artist and Gisela is the soul of the place, as they like to say. Twenty years ago, Heinrich took over the kitchens and his sister began managing all the other elements, completing the circle of hospitality. Step by step, they transformed the inherited business to fit their natures and their dreams. They went from a traditional ski chalet to a two Michelin-star restaurant with accommodations.
Heinrich is a self-taught chef with a unique style crafted around terra, just as the name suggests. He cooks with his heart and high-quality products, while always addressing ethical and ecological concerns. Everything that is placed before the guest at Terra - The Magic Place is either produced with great respect for nature or produced by Mother Nature herself, without any intervention at all.
Heinrich draws his inspiration from more than fifty different wild herbs he picks himself every morning. We were lucky enough to be part of the process, foraging with the chef in the surroundings for our own meal. An experience that led to our being even more blown away by Heinrich’s ability to perfectly balance the use of wild herbs.
Sitting in the modern restaurant of Terra – The Magic Place, with the breath-taking view of the Dolomites as a backdrop, we discovered, plate by plate, Heinrich’s distinct vision of the region’s landscape. Equally creative, elegant and rich with unique flavors.
The memory of “marinated arctic char with apple, organic chicken cream, red sago and pine oil powder” or “ray foam with wheat grass and parsley root cornet” will be engraved on our palates for a long time.
Even the pasta dishes take an unexpected turn at Terra, showing up in a yeast spaghetti course with woodruff and yarrow.
The philosophy remains the same in the cellar. The other half of the story, Gisela Schneider, is a fully qualified sommelier. She crafted her passion for wines around a special selection of more than 1,000 labels from small, local producers, an impressive array of bottles depicting the lush variety of grapes and microclimates the region has to offer. Some pretty interesting ones from Alto Adige really got us hooked.
After an intense dinner and a good night's sleep in the warmth of the modern, simple rooms, our gastronomic experience continued with a lavish breakfast serving the same general concept. Home-made yogurt, warm apple-curd soufflé, free- range scrambled eggs with herbs, amazing cheese, honey, and bacon from small producers nearby. And many other delicious bites to keep our satisfaction level high until our next visit.