Gourmet Travel Tips from Kleinwalsertal: Foodie Mountain Events!

Butterflies whirl through the air that is alive with the scent of flowers and alpine meadows. The sheer numbers of them make me stop and wonder: It has become rare to witness such a bountiful display of butterflies in the air. The alpine mountain district of Kleinwalsertal, in the very north-western corner of Austria, offers them an unspoiled home at more than 1.000 metres above sea-level. The air is still fresh here, and visitors are drawn to its healing powers immediately. Now, there are countless hiking destinations all over Austria. So what makes the Kleinwalsertal especially popular? It is a combined strength of pure nature, regional identity and – gourmet food!


Kleinwalsertal means sustainability in its purest sense. Local economic cycles built on nature and the creativity of its people are immediately appealing to us as visitors.

One of our first sensory impressions of Kleinwalsertal is this heavenly beef sausage wrapped in local mountain herbs: “Älpler Steckle”, a delicatessen food produced by local Kleinwalsertal butchers. For more than two years, the valley has been awarded the Austrian quality label “Genuss Region Österreich – Beef & Game from Kleinwalsertal“, crediting its high food production standards. Regional specialities, such as local cattle breeds and mountain game, are celebrated by a series of local food events called “GenussTage” at the beginning of the summer season. One such event is the “GenussMarkt” gourmet food market, allowing us a chance to meet and interact with the local people, their unique products and sense of traditional farming in this area for over 700 years.

Auftakt zum GenussMarkt am Hauptplatz von Hirschegg im Kleinwalsertal: Ulli von der Walserstuba begrüßt uns in ihrer traditionellen Walser Tracht.

Off we go exploring the gourmet food market in Hirschegg, Kleinwalsertal: Here, local “Walserstuba” hotel owner Ulli welcomes us in her traditional mountain dress!


Das "Walserhaus" ist als Besucherzentrum einladend mitten im Ort des romantischen Bergtales gelegen. Hier finden wir Informationen in Hülle und Fülle, sowie attraktiv aufbereitet.

The so-called “Walserhaus” is the local visitor information centre, set in a modern building right at the heart of Kleinwalsertal valley. As you arrive in Hirschegg, you cannot miss it: It is packed with useful information about the area!


Zur Eröffnung der diesjährigen Wandersaison sowie der "Walser GenussTage" finden sich alle GenussHüttenWirte fotogen zusammen.

Local hut owners gather at the opening speech of the “GenussTage” foodie mountain events in Kleinwalsertal, proliferating a pretty image of local identity.


Los geht es mit der typischen Verkostung köstlicher regionaler Produkte, wie dem "Walser Stolz", einem herrlich würzig gereiften Bergkäse.

And let’s start talking about food, too: Tasty alpine cheese called “Walserstolz” (Walser Pride) is cut here after three to six months maturing. Yum!


I have to admit it, I am still (quite) excited! Starting with my visit to the “GenussMarkt“, my “Lebensfeuer” medical heart rate analysis has actually started “burning”: Klaus Peter, my host at Hotel Gemma, is a trained “Lebensfeuer” professional who I trust in finding out more about myself. What the “Lebensfeuer” heart variability check really is, how it measures my heart’s vitality index over 24 hours and just how it tells me more about myself, is what you can read here. One of the activities that certainly made my heart beat faster is our trip up the mountain top on the Walmendingerhorn mountain cable car. Check this out.

So schön kann's gehen: Besuch eines der höchsten Berge des Kleinwalsertal auf über 2.000 Meter Seehöhe. Ringsum thronen noch mächtigere Bergspitzen mit weit über 2.500 Meter Seehöhe ...

Standing on top, we look around the magic mountain scenery of Kleinwalsertal from about 2.000 metres above sea level. The mountains surrounding us are well over 2.500 metres high …


Hier genießen und entspannen wir uns mit Ausblicken wie diesen.

… here, we arrive and spoil ourselves to magic vistas such as this one.


Vielmals finden sich hier am Wegesrand seltsam und zugleich wunderschön anmutende Zeitgenossen, wie hier diese "Teufelskralle".

Local flowers growing at these altitudes capture our attention, too: They call this beauty “Teufelskralle” (devil’s claw) around here!


Angekommen: Gipfelstürmer Elena & Petar Fuchs!

Austria, we have arrived (talking about the slogan of the Austrian National Tourist Board 😉 ) – on top with my friend Petar Fuchs!


Local restaurants & farmers tie the knot over a common love for quality food production: Meet Margit, Max & young organic farmer Ralph!

Right after my trip with the mountain cable car, the series of “Walser GenussTage” foodie events has offered me a chance to do a hike of a kind: “Storytelling here”, is what it silently reads on Margit’s forehead, a local innkeeper in the truest sense of the word. She is just so passionate about her home, her mountains, her herbs and her flowers growing by the wayside of the trail we take, that you cannot help but absolutely fall for her – and the stories she has to tell.

First of all, our hiking experience with Margit leads us straight into … the kitchen of the Hotel Alte Krone in Mittelberg.! Of course, this trip being all about gourmet foodie events, we are shown exactly which beef parts are cooked, stewed, simmered or fried as part of the typical local cuisine here. The meat in the kitchen looks excellent, just as chef Max who wears the proudest of smiles. A sense of dedication for good quality food fills the air, enhanced by the sweet scent of local flowers, cool running streams and happy people. We might not always understand each word of their “Walserisch” mountain dialect, but what we do is this: People are happy here, relaxed into a knowledge of the immaterial wealth that nature in this particular mountain district offers them.

Glücklich ist, wer gut lachen hat: Am Beginn unserer GenussWanderung besuchen wir Genuss-Gastwirt Max im Hotel Restaurant Alte Krone. In seiner Küche werden ausschließlich regionale Fleischteile von Walser Rindern verarbeitet.

Happiness is a feeling: Visiting local chef and hotel owner Max, who in his kitchen shows us that only the best meat of local cattle breeds is used for cooking.


Wenig später baumeln wir auch schon hoch über den Dächern des kleinen Örtchens Mittelberg, auf dem Weg zu unserer GenussWanderung mit Ehefrau Margit.

A little later, his wife Margit takes us up the mountain on our way starting the hike that will take us to meet the very cattle – and their farmer – we have just looked at in the hotel restaurant.


Margit ist eine wahrlich gelebte Gastgeberin, die nicht müde wird ...

Margit is a truly welcoming lady who never grows tired of sharing a story or two …


... uns die Schönheiten des Kleinwalsertal zu offenbaren.

… about the natural beauty that is her home, Kleinwalsertal valley in the Austrian Vorarlberg district.


Sei es der von Mäusen angenagte Zapfen am Wegesrand ...

Now can you guess who has had a go nibbling away at this cone? It was a bunch of mice, yes …


... die wilde Magie eines Gebirgsbaches ...

… a little later, we are face to face with this waterfall, such a pure force of nature …


... oder die einzigartige Architektur der traditionellen Almhütten.

… as well as the unique architecture of these traditional mountain farming huts. (Check out the interesting combination of solar panels with traditional fencing structures.!).


Gut lachen haben hier auch die Rinder, welche bis zu ihrer Schlachtung ein ruhiges und entspanntes Leben im Grünen sowie in behaglichen Ställen während der Winterszeit führen. Dazu erklärt uns Biobauer Ralph alles, was für das Wohlergehen der Tiere notwendig ist.

Local cattle lead a good life around here, spending the summer grazing in the mountains and the winters in warm, comfortable stables. Ralph, a 35-year-old local farmer who looks after them, explains that “you just have to let nature be, and everything else will sort itself out”. We love listening to his philosophy of sustainable, organic mountain farming!


Consider taking a bite of the juiciest cheese cake in the whole world … right here in Kleinwalsertal!

Let me ask you: Who of you has already tried the best cheese cake in the whole world? Aaah, but you haven’t been to Kleinwalsertal yet! Fresh mountain butter. Tasty, oh so tasty cheese. Happy munching cows, who eat nothing else but fresh herbs and grass during their whole life, in a world that has seen little or no contamination whatsoever. What sounds like “just another stupid advertisement slogan”, is actually true in the purest sense of the word here in Kleinwalsertal. Pure in taste that is: Taste that is never manufactured, but taste that arrives with time, maturity and lots of love – love for the animals, the people as well as the nature we all live in.

On this particular Sunday morning here in the mountains, I set off with my friends & travel bloggers Christina & Thomas, of CitySeaCountry, in order to take a peek at the cheese maker’s farm by the name of “Melköde” at the very bottom end of the Kleinwalsertal valley. To learn what he is doing when we arrive here at half past nine in the morning: Cleaning up, that is! “We start our working days making cheese between five and six in the mornings”, the young man calls out cheerfully, talking to us about his life as a boy shepherd during his summer vacation. He then moves on to feeding his “family”, a bunch of goats with their young who are just awfully sweet to look at! After walking for a good hour to arrive here at the “GenussHütte Melköde” awarded quality label mountain hut, we get some rest with the most amazing cheese cake I have ever tried … ain’t no better taste to food after you have done some exercise, too!

Ankommen und aufatmen: Im "letzten Herrgottswinkel" machen wir die Entdeckung der GenussHütte Melköde.

Taking a deep breath, arriving at the bottom of the valley floor that has this rather lonesome but beautiful mountain hut by the name of “Melköde” greet us.


Hier leben diese fröhlichen Zeitgenossen ...

Cute little goats such as these ones call this place home …


... laden diese Köstlichkeiten ein zu verweilen ...

… and we too are welcomed here, a display of the gourmet food ready to greet us upon entering the typical mountain hut…


... und begrüßt uns Gastgeberin Renate gleich mal vorweg mit einem "Klaren" am Morgen!

… Renate, our host here, is eager to get some “spirit” into us too after hearing all there is to the “life of a travel blogger” – it really IS a hard life being out and about doing research! 😉


Wenig später ist sie erneut in Aktion, wenn es darum geht gemeinsam mit ihrem Kollegen Diethelm das Anlegen traditioneller "Käserucksäcke" im Kleinwalsertal zu demonstrieren ...

A little later, Renate is again all eager to demonstrate her further skills, as she assists her friend Diethelm adjusting an old wooden backpack that was used to carry big cheese wheels …


... ich bleib' dann lieber mal beim Genuss - und gönn' mir noch ein Stück guten Käsekuchens!

… I rather have another slice of this though, I must say. THE cheese cake of my life – thank you so much for cutting a slice fresh out of the oven dear Renate! Sooo sweet, so light, so tasty – amazing!


Abends noch genießen wir ein großartiges Konzert unter freiem Himmel in der GenussRegion Kleinwalsertal.

Later in the evening, the local orchestra has come together to offer a “musical hike” across the mountains of this world, delighting and entertaining our ears to music. We are delighted by what the Kleinwalsertal manages to offer its visitors in just a few days’ time!


Last but not least, let me tell you more about a very special mountain brunch. A cup of “Lebensfeuer” vitalizing herb tea. And Christine’s garden paradise at the Hörnlepass mountain inn!

Food combined with a love for Austrian mountain never stops, that is for sure. The very last activity of our trip into Kleinwalsertal is again a gourmet foodie event that turns out to be a “second breakfast of a kind”: Sweet music is played to us sampling traditional mountain cheese, sausages and spreads at Bärgunt hut at the foot of the Widderstein, the highest mountain of Kleinwalsertal. Next to such amazing heights, we cannot help but become awestruck. No noise distracts us around here, no industrial buildings, not even houses – there is NOTHING to deflect our gaze from the pure beauty of nature. The world might end here, is what you think: An ideal place if you want to “get away from it all” and find true love – peace, that is.!

Auf zum letzten Programmpunkt unserer ereignisreichen Tage im Kleinwalsertal: Bergfex & Reiseführer Elmar zeigt uns den Weg in seine Heimat.

Starting our last hike for the time being: Elmar, our local guide from Kleinwalsertal, shows the way using typical signposts including time and distance needed to get you to the next hut.


Auf der Bärgunthütte angekommen, begrüßt uns dieser junge Mann zu außergewöhnlichen Klängen ...

Having arrived at the Bärgunt hut, his charming man starts playing a special mountain tune …


... gönne ich mir bereits am Morgen ein gutes Glas "Aperol Alp" ...

… whereas I am tempted to try some “Aperol Alp” even in the “early hours of the morning” …


... und schlemme mit meinen Mädels zum zweiten GenussHütten Frühstück am Morgen - auf über 1.300 Meter Seehöhe schmeckt einfach alles besser.!

… the girls and I are having fun here at 1.300 metres above sea level, left in the utter peace and tranquility that is nature in this part of the world.


Last but not least steht noch ein Besuch dieser charmanten Dame auf dem Programm: Christine Keck und ihre einzigartiger Kräutergarten mit weit über 400 Sorten, die sie hier zum Blühen und zum Verarbeiten umsorgt!

Last but not least, we visit charming Christine Keck and her unique herb and flower garden, where she grows over 400 different varieties of herb and flower species. Amazing, the scent that fills the air!


Aus diesen Schätzen werden einzigartigen Almprodukte wie der ganz eigene "Kleinwalsertal-Lebensfeuer-Tee", den ich mir als Souvenir mit nach Hause nehme.

One of the things she produces from her garden are these dried herbs that go into a special tea blend I get to take home with me as a souvenir.


Vielen Dank Euch allen für die großartige Reise sowie die vielen Eindrücke zusammen! Es hat sooo viel Spaß gemacht, und so gut geschmeckt: Kleinwalsertal, ich komme wieder! Und zwar bald! :D

So what is there left to say? THANK YOU everyone for such an amazing trip to Kleinwalsertal: I vow to come back soon!


Disclaimer: We have been invited by Kleinwalsertal Tourism Board and Hotel Gemma to travel to Kleinwalsertal mountain food district. All opinions are my own.

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