Creative travel in Sout Tyrol. “At the Oberpalwitterhof mountain farm? We have already visited there during summer. Magnificent place. Great inspiration for the kids, too.” Such is a recent comment I got from one of my readers on Facebook. I sigh, happily, breathing in the fresh air up here some 1000 metres above sea level. And catch myself being distracted, again and again, by the view upon the Dolomites mountains, slowly emerging from the morning mist … “Elena! Have you made your choice about which beans you’d like to choose for making your earrings?” Christine’s happy laughter are reflected in the peace that surrounds us. Her farm, the Oberpalwitterhof, is actually known as an organic herb farm. Besides cooking and colour printing herbs on tissues and clothes, she also loves to create jewelry from unusual, dried beans (!). Dried beans?
Check out more about Christine and her aromatic herb farm, the Oberpalwitterhof here.
But there is more. A lot more, so to say! The Roter Hahn – Gallo Rosso association of mountain farms in South Tyrol has provided us with lots of useful tips exploring traditional crafts as well as opportunities for creative travel among the farms of South Tyrol. What we encounter here is a long-standing tradition of animating guests and visitors to join different types of activities, as the comment of my reader confirms. Farmers themselves nod in agreement: “I have been asked several times to open a carving school“, Herbert Kerschbaumer of the Thalerhof farm tells us, only about half an hour’s drive from Christine’s Oberpalwitterhof. “But then, I like to be half-farmer, half-carving artist: Like this, I can enjoy the time with my creative guests as much as I do with the animals and the farming business.” Arriving at his farm, Herbert is about to help out a friend carving a magnificent Madonna statue. Impressive! With all this creative inspiration at hand, Marc and I take to carving out a bird as well as a sea shell from comparatively soft lime wood.
Really proud of what we have achieved: It is amazing what you can do in just one afternoon! After all this inspiration, I do recommend a #winelover’s hangout, for instance at the nearby Gummererhof farm. Or have you ever tried a “Blattele” sparkling wine made from local South Tyrol grapes grown at more than 600 metres above sea level?
Apart from wine: Have you ever thought about the many things you can make from milk?
Well. Butter, cream and cheese of course. Mozzarella for instance: Oooh, how I’d love a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese now … But hang on a minute. Has it really always been this easy?
“Making butter has been one hell of a job”, Peter laughs, starting to turn the wheel on his little wooden butter barrel: “Besides, did you know that this used to be a job for children?” Both the Italian family, joining us as guests at the Tiefentalhof farm in the Puster valley, and us look at him wide-eyed. What might start as a fun activity actually turns into something three strong men (!) have to deal with in the end: Making butter ain’t no easy job after all. “A job for the children?” Hm. Check this out.
Not far from the Sapelza family’s Tiefentalhof, we are invited for another creative activity of a kind at the Mudlerhof mountain farm in the Gsieser valley. Here, Agatha Walder has made it her choice to create fresh mozzarella, or “Mudlarella”, as she likes to call it. “The kids love it”, she smiles, cheeks glowing. Five children surround her in the kitchen, anxiously watching her every move. The family farm even offers a “nest” of fresh eggs for each guest room, readily available for morning breakfast! Happily, Agatha tells us about the many centuries of farming history at the Mudlerhof and how her family succeeded in becoming 100% energy-independent thanks to a perfectly constructed biogas facility. All the reasons to be proud!
Last but not least, I have a final creative travel tip to share. Lovely Maria and her healing herbal workshops at the Unterstein farm in Niederdorf– all to be reached within half an hour’s drive from our Tiefentalhof farm in Welsberg-Taisten in the Puster valley. Maria has specialized in Kneipp baths, aromatic herbal teas and all kinds of local, herbal produce. She loves to pass on her knowledge during courses and workshops with her guests. The winter balm we created together for instance is a pure blessing at this time of year! But even simple things, such as making our own lip balms and deodorants free of any chemicals help us to rethink what we would buy in the shops otherwise. Check this out.
Fancy even more tips and ideas for your next holidays in South Tyrol? Here they come, in the most vivid of colours. But beware: Do not look at the following foodie pictures hungry ..! 🙂
Disclaimer: We have been invited by the “Roter Hahn – Gallo Rosso” to discover and explore the (his)stories of local South Tyrol mountain farms. All opinions are my own.