Norbert Niederkofler, is an eccentric Chef with such a personality. His restaurant is located in Alta Badia, Italy. This Two Michelin starred chef, creates his culinary delights in the restaurant St. Hubertus at the Hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano in Italy.  Just to reaffirm that Alta Badia is in South Tyrol, and this is part of Italy NOT Austria.

When I met Norbert Niederkofler I knew that I was in for an experience of a life time. Who is Norbert? What is his core ingredient when it comes to Cook The Mountain? What is the atmosphere in his kitchen?

Norbert is a visionary and a pioneer of new works of art, when it comes to the world of cooking. Early within his career, he explained that he would source food from all parts of the world to create his dishes. The logistic of this is mind blowing in itself. But he soon discovered that the very best of ingredients were to be found in Alta Badia, Italy.  In his own words, the key to his success is.

“Happiness, a lot of  respect for the produce, respect for the producer and nature”.

Cabbage

I am an individual just like you. I have strengths and weaknesses just like all of us. Being real I do not always succeed. Do you?
But when I succeed in letting people experience the familiar smell and taste of my homeland, I am simply happy. – NORBERT NIEDERKOFLER CHEF OF RESTAURANT ST. HUBERTUS

Cool Calm & Young

In speaking with Norbert, he explained that passion is the core of his success. That when dealing with his very youthful staff, he chooses them because their minds are yet not corrupted by other chef’s influences. He can teach, educate and develop these young minds to serve some of the best food in the world. All from a mountain top. I was equally impressed about how quiet his kitchen of order was. In Norbert’s own words.

“What’s the point of yelling in the kitchen? I don’t want to go home with a head ache”!

Because Norbert understands that you’re only as good as the chef’s themselves. It is why in the few hours I was observing and eating the best food I have ever had, his kitchen was happy, passionate and vibrant. He had trained these young minds so well that Norbert’s heart, skill and mind was literally served on a 15 course menu. If you want to understand Norbert, then you just have to experience him and his fine wine dining first hand.

Bread

My mum would bake bread every week from a wood burning oven. In our small town of 2000 people in rural Australia, my friends would always make sure they turned up for some Italian bread. This, gorgeous fresh baked bread with butter that looked like facial cream, was just delicious.

SPELT DITALINI BY MONOGRANO FELICETTI BUTTER AND SAGE

Veal Sweetbread With Christmas Flavours

Wine & Dine

Each course was served with various wines from the region as well as France, Italy and Germany. It was the battle of the cultures. I am learning and discovering that the right choice of wine that matches the dish is just as important as the food itself. Don’t panic the staff are very well trained to match your personal taste too. My wine preferences are rich, strong, spicy and fully of body. Take the time to endure the wine tasting adventures here at St. Hubertus. Make sure you book a stay at Hotel Rosa Alpina. The St. Hubertus, restaurant is within the the hotel and the breakfast here was amazing too. It just completed my stay.

Dolomites Welcome

DOLOMITES WELCOME PEAR IN WILD BERRIES KOMBUCHA – “AGONE IN SAOR” – TACOS , “NERVETTI” AND AGED GOAT CHEESE – HOME MADE MOUNTAIN LAMB HAM – TARTLET

DOLOMITES WELCOME PEAR IN WILD BERRIES KOMBUCHA – “AGONE IN SAOR” – TACOS , “NERVETTI” AND AGED GOAT CHEESE – HOME MADE MOUNTAIN LAMB HAM – TARTLET

HOME MADE MOUNTAIN LAMB HAM

“AGONE IN SAOR”

Half way through some, dishes I was given some fresh apple juice to prepare my stomach for the next few dishes. This really works. South Tyrol is known for its amazing apples too.

Cook The Mountain

The fresh local produce work of art was truly transformed and left me wanting more. The main dishes were served in two courses:

CRISPY LOCAL SUCKLING PIG & CEREALS
PIG’S HEAD SANDWICH
PIGEON BREAST FROM MONCUCCO FARM & CAVOLO NERO
BRAISED AND WITH HAY GLAZED LEG

Desserts

Pastry Chef Of The Year – Panettone

I had the privilege to meet Andrea who explained to me about the process of making this chocolate Panettone, which can only be purchased here in Italy. The chocolate was actually supplied by the famous Italian coffee company called Illy. Which I had the pleasure in meeting one of the founders called Riccardo Illy. More to come next year on that.

I am not a fan of this sweet bread which is originally from Milan. I did explain this to Norbert, who confidently said that I needed to try it. Half a Pannetone later, I was hooked.

Heaven On Earth

For any single man out there. A way to a women’s heart is creating and gifting her chocolate. The chocolate presentation was the high light of the “Table Hopping” event I attended two days before and featured food from Norbert Niderkofler as well. I just sat there and ate and dreamt, ate more and dreamt till my heart was content.

Passion

You can’t buy passion. You can’t even market the word. In my observation of Chef Norbert Niederkofler, his hidden core ingredient for life, is passion. I can only imagine the sacrifices he has chosen to make, in order to be one of the most successful and influential chef’s in Italy. In observing Norbert, I could see he has taken risks and pioneered food and pushed boundaries to create his own signatures dishes. Norbert has chosen to explore the world of food where others would not even dare try. If you’re in the Alta Badia area, you’re crazy not to make a booking at St. Hubertus.

I know I am not the Pope, but if I was. I would  rename his restaurant to Saint Niederkofler.

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