Strudel Di Mele – Part 1, By Mara L.

My visit with Jens in the Dolomites is not yet sufficiently documented on this blog. For my main interest, of course, was researching the food. I came with a particular plan: I wanted to walk from rifugio to rifugio, and taste their strudel di mele (that is, apple strudel). A kind of small competition. Since I visited only for two days, my procedure was highly unsystematic – I’m sure there are many more delicious versions out there. But for what it is worth, I want to report on two extraordinary incarnations. However, I have to do it in two installments, because there is reason to digress…

I begin with the Rifugio Tre Scarperi. The place reminded me of a Greek temple: everything is about location, perspective, light, sun, and the horizon. The rifugio is built into a kind of corner, high up in the mountains. When you sit in front of it, it’s like sitting in a theater, built for perfect vision of panoramic events. Also, you can sit outside even though it’s still winter, because the layout of the building provides unbelievably smart shelter against the wind.

Anyway, the strudel. Impressively different from anything one might find in Manhattan: practically no sugar, only a tiny bit on top. It didn’t really taste like cake, more like a kind of nutritious bread, with raisins, apples, and nuts. This is serious mountain food, perfect if you have a couple more hours of hiking to do. Five stars for its lovely flavor and total lack of pretension. And, of course, for location. *****