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Harvest time in the Italian Alps, but with a difference: in South Tyrol you’re as likely to have knödel as tortellini

A German-speaking bit of Italy, the South Tyrol is a region with a dual identity. But there’s one thing locals know for sure, and that’s how to make the most of autumn


The craggy spires of the Dolomites tower above Santa Maddalena in the Val di Funes (Villnöss in German), a proving ground for many mountaineers

On his family’s farm high in the Dolomites, white clouds suspended between the mountaintops like spiders’ webs, Stefan Winkler is roasting chestnuts. Wielding a cast-iron pan over a flaming brazier, he flips the nuts to ensure they’re cooked evenly, watching their skins blacken and char in the flames, cracking to reveal buttery yellow beneath.

Stefan Winkler roasts chestnuts at his family’s farm.

‘It’s important that we get them just right,’ says Stefan. ‘Chestnuts are an essential part of Törggelen.’ Such harvest feasts have been a tradition in the mountains of South Tyrol (Südtirol) since at least the 16th century, when travelling merchants would visit the region’s farms and vineyards to taste the year’s produce. Keen to show off their goods, farmers would host banquets in their honour – no doubt hoping the well-oiled merchants might buy a few extra crates of grapes or barrels of wine in the process.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - November 2016
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