Our weekend at Alpenpalace Deluxe Hotel & Spa Resort was a leisurely one and definitely a little out of the ordinary for us. We saw views from mountaintops instead of tower-tops, the paths we traversed were paved with dirt and not cobbles, and the only noise we woke up to was the sing-song of the local birds. It really couldn’t be any further from the hustle of our usual weekend city breaks but there was one thing which remained the same… the food. It wouldn’t be a Connie Consumes weekend getaway if there wasn’t some decent food on the adventure!
All room bookings at Alpenpalace are half board which means you get your breakfast and dinner included in the rate, though in reality they offer you so much more than just two standard meals. The thought of eating at the same restaurant for three days and nights in a row did make me feel a little uneasy… I’m the girl with the big bucket restaurant lists, remember?! But from our first meal to our last, everything dished up by Head Chef Andreas Schwienbacher and his team was delicious. They created feasts which were comforting, creative and showcased the South Tyrolean produce – something which are they are rightfully very proud of.
My fears of dining at the same place were unfounded and by the end of the weekend, we were actually quite sad to be saying goodbye to our cosy corner table. Alpenpalace already attracts visitors from all over the world because of the stunning location in South Tyrol and its access to top ski-fields and hiking trails, but now they’re pushing themselves even further to attract another kind of guest… the kind like us who want all that other stuff plus an exceptional dining experience thrown into the mix. So what did this greedy traveller think? I’d happily eat here again and again…
Each morning we were greeted with a generous breakfast buffet consisting of everything you need to set you up for a day on the slopes, hiking the hills, or just lounging by the pool! Our first port of call is always tea… but with almost twenty different types on offer, even I was tempted to stray from my usual English Breakfast brew! The decisions didn’t get any easier from here because there was just so much choice; breads, spreads, cereals, fruit, salads, cured meats, cheeses, pastries… you name it, they had it and multiple types of each at that.
I found my favourite breakfast combination involved a few slices of a hearty rye bread topped with herbed ricotta, smoked salmon, and cornichons, followed by an omelette or eggs benedict, and a bit of fruit to finish! You all know that I’m not usually a breakfast eater but always make an exception for hotel offerings, particularly when they are this varied! No wonder I didn’t need lunch… though if you were still hungry, you can always order off the restaurant’s lunch menu or room service menu.
Every afternoon from 3pm – 5pm, you can saunter down to the bar area where you can enjoy tea and cake, with a side of fruit if you’re also feeling virtuous! We had usually just come back from our morning hikes by this time so it was perfect timing for us – a slice of black forest gateaux or strawberry sponge seemed like a fitting reward at the end of a four hour round trip through the forest!
The chefs at Alpenpalace must see every dinner as an occasion to feast because the food they provide every night is quite sumptuous; be prepared to dine on five to seven course dinners! Each night we helped ourselves to a selection of salads and antipasti to start; all of which were so tempting I had to remind myself to save room for the actual courses. I particularly loved the bold flavours of the traditional Tyrolean cured sausages, and more refined dishes such as the raw beef and parmesan, or the beautifully prepared seafood salad.
For the rest of the meal, we had a choice of two dishes for each course and I was pleased to see that they all continued to focus on local Tyrolean produce. I particularly liked the traditional trio of spinach, bacon, and cheese dumplings, and the pike-perch with barley and horseradish. But their take on the modern classics such as veal-stuffed ravioli, and herb-crusted lamb cutlets with a potato gratin were equally well executed – this lamb dish was one of my favourites from the whole weekend! A certain someone and I eat pretty much anything but if you don’t, then there’s no need to worry, the team here are exceptionally good at catering to dietary requirements so you can feast like the rest of us!
One evening, we were treated to a little pre-dinner soirée which, to my delight, involved canapés, prosecco and live music! Even with a full dinner ahead of me, I’m ashamed to admit that I couldn’t resist the canapés and when asked which I would like, I simply said all of them. The melon gazpacho-esque offering pleasantly surprised me, but the speck with herb ricotta on a biscuit, and the salmon tartare on a pumpernickel-style bread were undoubtedly my favourite mouthfuls!
Our final dinner at Alpenpalace was certainly the most special and inventive of the lot and really focused on showcasing the skill of Head Chef Andreas and the kitchen team. This tasting menu was filled with creative dishes such as a refreshing quince sorbet and an utterly delicious raviolo benedict, which as the name suggests was a pasta version of an eggs benedict. Even seemingly classic dishes such a blushing Irish beef fillet held some surprise when a crisp white praline shell and bright green brussel sprout leaves both broke open to reveal mashed potatoes hidden inside, or the chocolate ‘icebomb’ which was filled with a subtly flavoured green tea ice cream.
By the end of the meal I really understood the ambition of the kitchen team and appreciated their efforts. I liked that they haven’t let themselves grow complacent given that they know they have a captive audience every night. The whole menu wasn’t completely faultless, there were flavour combinations that didn’t quite work for us and certain elements could’ve done with a bit of sharpening up on execution but overall, I would have happily eaten here for another three nights!
Have you ever stayed at an all-inclusive style hotel? How was the food?
Thanks to Alpenpalace Deluxe Hotel & Spa Resort for hosting our delicious getaway, but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!
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