The Dolomites – A Culinary Destination
Most of us have heard about the Dolomites. A stunning mountain range in the South Tyrol region of northern Italy, bordering with Austria. It is a wonderful winter destination for skiing, snowboarding, and all other winter activities. In the summer, the destination is heavenly for hiking, biking, exploring the villages, and taking in the dreamy scenery.
There is an especially warm and authentic feeling in the Dolomites. It is Italian hospitality at its best. What I didn’t expect is the level of the culinary scene in the Dolomites. The cuisine is a delightful mix of traditional Alpine and Italian cuisine.
The region has many beautiful hotel options with great restaurants and spas. Mountain Hut dining was the big surprise for me. Rustic mountain huts (rifugi), sprinkled all over the Dolomites, offer local dishes and breathtaking views. They serve as a rest stop where skiers, hikers, and mountain climbers can grab a hearty meal before heading back out on the trail again. Most offer gourmet dining and fine wines with sommeliers that can assist with wine selections. Reservations are highly recommended at some of the more popular huts.
The Dolomites region produces some great wines. Don’t be surprised to learn there are beautiful wine cellars at the rustic Alpine huts throughout the mountains. Ask the sommelier for a tour of the impressive wine cellars.
Here is an overview of the regions within the Dolomites…
More than 2,000 distinct mountains encompass the Dolomites. Here are the most popular areas and their attractions:
Central Dolomites - Alta Badia: Located to the south of Val Gardena, the Alta Badia region is known for its stunning alpine scenery and is a haven for skiers, hikers, and cyclists. Nowhere else in the Dolomites can you encounter scenery as otherworldly as the rocky barren landscapes found here. Alta Badia has a great mix of day hikes for people with all abilities.
Eastern Dolomites - Cortina d'Ampezzo: Often referred to simply as Cortina, this is one of the most famous and upscale ski resorts in the Dolomites. It is situated in the eastern part of the mountain range and offers not only excellent skiing but also a vibrant town with shopping, dining, cultural attractions, and the best turquoise lakes in the Dolomites.
Western Dolomites - Val Gardena: Val Gardena is a picturesque valley located in the western part of the Dolomites. It is known for its charming villages, including Ortisei, Selva di Val Gardena, and Santa Cristina, which serve as excellent bases for exploring the region. Val Gardena is famous for its skiing in the winter and hiking and mountain biking in the summer. This Western region has the most iconic rock climbing in the Dolomites. Here you will also find narrow valleys with deep green forests and plunging waterfalls.
Whether you are interested in winter sports, hiking, climbing, or simply enjoying the breathtaking scenery, the Dolomites have something to offer for every outdoor enthusiast. Plus, you will indulge in gourmet dining and a wonderful wine scene making this such a special and unique destination.
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