Tourism School Showcase – 24 April 2013

Frittaten Soup · Sliced Turkey Breast with Dijon Mustard Sauce and Vegetable Rice / Stuffed Bell Pepper · Apricot Strudel

Frittatensuppe · Tranche von der Putenbrust in Dijonsenfsauce mit Gemüsereis / Gefüllter Spitzpaprika · Marillenstrudel


At the outset today, a filling Frittaten soup comes served in a soup cup.  This rather popular type of soup consists of a rich, clear warm broth along with plain crepe-style pancakes that have been cut up into long, thin strips.  Certainly, the highlight is the Frittaten ribbons that curl up in the liquid.  They do not have much taste by themselves, since they are just lightly salted.  But these little pan-fried pieces give the starter excellent texture and substance.  They also slowly absorb the soup’s essence.  Diced chives are nice additions that provide an oniony finish.

Next on the menu is a delectable turkey breast meal – a thick slice of turkey served in a flavorful Dijon mustard sauce along with a liberal portion of vegetable rice.  Chives scatter the top as garnish.


Seasoned and cooked well, the turkey breast is fairly juicy and tender.  Slicing into the meat is a simple act.  Coated with the tasty thin sauce, the turkey is a true champion.  Diced vegetables, including zucchini and yellow and orange bell peppers, make plain long grain rice interesting.  The little sweet bursts provided by the veggies really give the side dish something special.  Moreover, the peppers and zucchini are softened up a bit to make it easier to consume with the finely cooked rice.


Culminating the three course meal is an apricot strudel.  In this dessert, presentation is impressive.  The strudel sits next to a bold, red, and sweet strawberry sauce, with strawberry chunks.  A fresh basil leaf lies on a strawberry, inserting a minty twist as well as wonderful fragrance to the dish.  Not only do the green and red colors complement each other, the flavors are superb and work together well with the strudel.  Additionally, the pastry itself is warm while the fruit slightly cold – a contrast of temperatures to add to the taste sensation.  Inside the dessert, there are not only small apricot pieces but also a variety of nuts hidden among the numerous pastry layers.   Walnuts and almonds offer satisfying crunch and dimension.  The strudel altogether is flaky and delicious.


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Pizza Sapori – Tomaten, Mozzarella, Mascarpone, Lachs, Krabben, Rucola

 Ristorante Pizzeria Sapori

Sapori Ristorante Pizzeria.  A-6020 Innsbruck · Fallmerayerstraße 12

Tuesday – Saturday 11.30 – 14.00, 18.00 – 23.00

The beauty of living in Tyrol is its close proximity to Italy.  Italian gastronomy extends its grasp into the region, clearly evident through the countless ristorantes and pizzerias all throughout Innsbruck and surrounding towns.  With a wide selection of eateries, it is sometimes difficult to locate a truly fine Italian joint.  Well look no further!  Sapori Ristorante and Pizzeria in Innsbruck is a superb locale offering a good number of pastas, salads, pizzas and desserts.  It is one of the toughest reservations in the city, which is obviously a good sign!

Sapori’s namesake pizza is a real sophisticated, gourmet delight – thin-crusted pizza, baked to perfection.  The outer rim has that ideal snap upon cutting down on it, the center super thin.  Toppings on the Sapori Pizza begin with tomato sauce spread over the base, mozzarella cheese dotting the surface.  Taking it up a notch, mascarpone adds an unparalleled richness and creaminess to the pizza.  On top of that, there are thin slices of salmon distributed about as well as peeled prawns hidden underneath the melted cheese.  Finally, a healthy bunch of arugula provides a colorful and fresh finish.


The fine rocket leaves makes it seem like an exquisite salad on top of a pizza.  It is these dark green pieces that really add something to the pizza experience.  Its sharp bite really balances together with the rather mellow cheeses.  But the dish really gets its value from the salmon and shrimp combination.  Though it may be a bit odd to combine seafood and dairy, it works really well here especially with both the mascarpone and mozzarella.  The salmon’s characteristically smooth and buttery consistency teams up naturally with the creaminess found in both the mozzarella and mascarpone.

For an even finer experience, substitute buffalo mozzarella for the standard mozzarella cheese at an additional 2.50 euros.  The distinct flavor of the bufala mozzarella, molten over the pie, enhances the quality of the pizza tenfold.   Its creaminess and buttery, delicate texture is simply sublime.  Pairing it with the mascarpone creates an instant party in your mouth.  Bring together the salmon into the mix and you have an unforgettable bash.

With all of the gooey and runny cheese, the dish can get rather messy.  Though some Italians might frown upon it, there is no shame in eating the pizza with a knife and fork here.  In fact, the utensils make the dining experience much more refined and even better since the pizza itself contains such first-class ingredients.

Considering its size and the quality ingredients, the Pizza Sapori is fairly priced at 13.00 euros (again, the buffalo mozzarella is extra).  It is the most expensive pie on the menu, but worth every penny.  The Pizza Sapori is a fine creation and proudly represents this wonderful rustic Italian establishment in Innsbruck.


Overall: 9/10

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Lasagna with Mascarpone and Wild Berry Cream – Lasagna mit Mascarpone und Waldbeer Creme


Sapori Ristorante Pizzeria.  A-6020 Innsbruck · Fallmerayerstraße 12

Tuesday – Saturday 11.30 – 14.00, 18.00 – 23.00

Lasagna is as Italian as it gets – the connection is simply ingrained into people’s minds.  It comes as no surprise that this layered pasta dish is included in practically all risorante menus, Sapori included.  But lasagna for dessert?  Who would have thought!  A unique twist on the comforting classic, the lasagna with mascarpone and wild berry cream is an ambitious creation and just one of several desserts featured on the chalkboard at Sapori Ristorante and Pizzeria.

Just like traditional lasagna, this dessert comes stacked.  Alternating layers of flaky pastry squares, mascarpone cheese that bursts out the sides and wild berry cream that oozes with tanginess and fruitiness make up the dessert.  Powdered sugar sprinkles the surface, adding a dash of sweetness.  Strawberry syrup decorates the rim of the plate and is an attractive finishing touch.


The three delicate pastry squares are layered dough pieces baked golden brown.  One bite and it crumbles apart.  These baked squares really give the dessert a solid foundation and substance.  Its fragile and crumbly consistency is such a contrast to the heavy, creamy mascarpone element and fruit creams.

The mascarpone cheese is pure heaven.  It is super smooth and very creamy.  Moreover, it has a slight sweetness that brings pure joy with each and every bite.  Dazzling with its bold display of colors, the wild berry cream tastes predominantly of raspberries and blackberries (discernible by the numerous seeds).  But a hint of sweet blueberries can also be found in the mix.  Like the wild berry cream, the apricot sauce has a touch of tartness.  But both are balanced out by the sweet, incredibly thick and rich mascarpone.  Strawberry syrup encircling the perimeter also adds zip and helps offset the sourness.

6.50 euros is not bad for this happy dessert, considering that the super generous amount of cream and fruit makes it seem like a meal on its own.  Definitely save room for this treat – you will not be disappointed.  Lasagna with mascarpone and wild berry cream is a truly unique culinary creation.


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Tourism School Showcase – 09 April 2013

Salad and Appetizer Buffet · Fried Fish Fillet with Potato Salad and Tartar Sauce · Mocha Éclair

Salat und Vorspeisenbuffet · Gebackenes Fischfilet mit Kartoffelsalat und Sauce Tartare · Mocca Eclair 


The lunch salad and appetizer buffet just keeps getting better and better!  As usual, the buffet line begins with leaf vegetables – iceberg, red leaf lettuce, arugula, and lamb’s lettuce – to establish a foundation.  After that, there are bowls full of kernel corn, tomato wedges, sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, and kraut – all colorful, nutritious vegetables to build up the salad.

Things become more interesting further down the line.  Platters full of roasted bell peppers and zucchini, tossed in balsamic, as well as thinly sliced mozzarella cheese with tomatoes and basil provide incredible bursts of flavor.  There are also bowls full of chunky tuna and Fleckerl pasta with tiny ham slices.  Today’s unique addition happens to be beef Carpaccio, paper thin slices of raw beef.  It is an amazingly wonderful appetizer and a great choice to add to the salad bowl.  This edition of the salad and appetizer buffet may be the best yet!


Main course continues on the healthy trend and is even more delicious than the starter.  Fried sea bass, served with a hearty portion of potato salad and a large dollop of tartar sauce, comes on a large plate covered with a serving lid.  Upon service the lid is taken off, uncovering the aromatic, crisp fish fillet.  The white-fleshed fish is delicate and cooked perfectly.

Acidity is certainly not lacking in the dish – the potato salad as well as a lemon slice on the fish is there to cut down on the grease and aid in digestion.  The potato salad consists of chunky, firm potatoes, chopped red onions and a pinch of parsley.  The potatoes’ firmness, along with the crunchy raw red onions, offers an excellent contrast in texture on the plate.  Tartar sauce, with its smooth creaminess and earthy herbal aroma, adds excitement and takes the fish to another level.


Finally, there is a mocha éclair dessert to satisfy the sweet tooth.  The elongated pastry is nice and crisp on the outside and hollow and airy on the inside.  Chocolate coats the surface while a mocha custard fills the center.   The mocha éclair sits on a concentrated raspberry sauce, which delivers a summery sourness and a slight hint of sweetness.   The copious mocha custard overflowing inside dominates the dish as it should; the pastry resigns to the background to merely provide a light, elegant consistency.  It is an enjoyable dessert; albeit a bit substantial considering the first two courses.


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Bergisel Strudel – gefüllt mit Topfen, Nüssen und Heidelbeeren


Restaurant TIROL PANORAMA.  A-6020 Innsbruck · Bergisel 1-2

One of Innsbruck’s truly unique attractions is Bergisel, a hill overlooking the city to the south.  At 746 meters high, Bergisel provides visitors with a picturesque panoramic view of the Tyrolean capital below.  Additionally, there is a fascinating museum that offers insight into the region’s rich past.  Bergisel Stadium, with its world famous ski jump, is also located up on Bergisel.  Not only does the venue act as a reminder of past Olympic Winter Games and sporting events, the hill itself is also a place steeped in history.  With so much to see and do at Bergisel, visitors will surely need a break.  Luckily, there are restaurants located at Bergisel Stadium and another connected to the Tirol Panorama Museum.  Both locales feature a distinct type of strudel – the aptly named Bergisel strudel.

Filled with curd cheese (Topfen), nuts and blueberries, the Bergisel strudel offers a different twist on traditional Austrian strudel.  This one-of-a-kind treat features a flaky crust and thin filo pastry layers holding in the filling.  Sifted powdered sugar covers the surface.  Underneath the layers of crust is a pebbly level of finely chopped hazelnuts, a fine addition.


Curd cheese is a bit springy, but you can certainly taste the small pieces of cheese.  It has a distinctive taste and light texture that gives the strudel substance and structure, binding everything together.  The combination of cheese and blueberries is quite interesting.  Blueberries not only give the dessert wonderful color with its attractive purple hue, but also a touch of sweetness.  Bites with blueberries are bright, sweet and pleasurable, but those moments are few and far between.  Nuts add a satisfying crunch and a nutty background flavor.  The dessert overall is only marginally sweet – the powdered sugar and blueberries being the primary contributors.

All in all the Bergisel strudel tastes good, but like Käsekuchen/Topfenkuchen cheese cake in German speaking countries it lacks that special something.  Curd cheese and fruit in a thin crust, nothing more.

At 3.10 euros, there is no excuse not to try this special treat.  Toppings are extra – 60 cents for whipped cream and 1 euro for vanilla sauce, a small price to pay for added richness and moisture.  The restaurant adjacent to the Tirol Panorama Museum is a self-service style eatery featuring classic Austrian eats.  It is a fabulous place to relax as well as reflect after an educational experience at the museum.   Certainly an ideal location to try out the Bergisel strudel!


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Pear Cake – Birnenkuchen


Grafenast.  A-6136 Pill · Pillbergstraße 205 Am Hochpillberg

Nestled high up in the mountains near Schwaz, 1330 meters up on the way to the Kellerjoch summit (2344 m), Grafenast is an exclusive hotel and spa paradise promoting sustainability and environmental awareness.  The establishment proudly boasts serving 100% organic cuisine, utilizing fresh, regional ingredients.  From the early morning breakfast buffet to the elegant three course dinner meals, everything is truly organic.  This includes dessert and the Birnenkuchen pear cake that is the day’s special.

Simple and straightforward, the pear cake is dense and crumbly with a lovely golden brown exterior.  The sliced pears topping the surface and the chunks suspended throughout reinforce the pear flavor.  The only gripe here is that the cake could certainly use some more pears.  Powdered sugar on top gives the dessert just the right amount of sweetness.

Whipped cream makes a real difference as it adds a wonderful, creamy melt-in-your-mouth finishing touch.    Fresh cape gooseberries, with their leafy husks, add a citrusy element that is more tangy than sweet.  It is an unexpected addition to the dish.  3.60 euros with whipped cream, 3.30 without, is certainly a fair price to pay for a real organic dessert.

A cup of coffee always pairs perfectly with cake.  At Grafenast, the aromatic brewed beverage just tastes so much purer and finer.  The coffee comes with a snazzy four level coffee condiment rack containing organic honey, granulated light brown sugar, blocks of sugar crystals and larger granulates of brown sugar.


Grafenast is a true gem tucked away in the mountains.  Whatever you order, be it the pear cake or another delicacy, you can guarantee it will be fresh and natural.   You can certainly taste the difference!


Overall: 9/10

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Braised Lamb Shank in a Thyme Sauce, Served with Root Vegetables and Potatoes – Geschmorte Lammhaxe im Thymiansaftl, dazu Wurzelgemüse und Kartoffelgebäck

Stiftskeller Innsbruck.  A-6020 Innsbruck · Stiftgasse 1

Hours: Daily 10:00 – 24:00

Easter Monday – what better way to celebrate the occasion than some traditional lamb!  As the special dish of the day, Stiftskeller in Innsbruck serves up a delectable braised lamb shank in a tasty thyme liquid.

As it is brought to the table, the braised lamb dish not only gives off an alluring scent but it also carries a sense of comfort.  It might be the combination of root vegetables, the holy trinity of aromatics, swimming in the liquid that makes the dish whole.  Perhaps it’s the potato fritters lining the rim of the plate that remind you of childhood finger food.  Or maybe it is the star of the dish – the lamb leg bone standing tall with a healthy amount of meat attached to it -that reminds you of past Easter dinners at grandmas.  All of these elements come together to form the Easter special.

Slowly simmered in liquid, the braising process naturally breaks down the tough connective tissue in the cut of lamb.  The gelatinous parts melt in your mouth.  Unfortunately, the meat is not exactly fall-off-the-bone quality but it is still manageable.  The best parts, though, are the sections along the surface – the fatty segments underneath the browned skin, together with some lamb meat and dipped in the thyme sauce, make for one pleasurable bite.

The fragrant liquid used in the process infuses the lamb with incredible flavor – the potent thyme leaves add intoxicating aromatics and earthy freshness.  Imbued with bountiful amounts of thyme leaves that accentuate the foundation supplied by the mirepoix of celeriac, carrots and onions, the braising liquid simply floods your mouth with flavor.

Served with the meat are five adorable little potato croquettes that take the form of mini carrots, giving the dish that Easter touch.  They are basically mashed potatoes blanketed by a compact bread crumb coating and deep-fried.   Perfectly crunchy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside, these irresistible potatoes are the perfect accompaniment.

There are some dishes you just want to dive right into.  Not this one.  The braised lamb meal is one dish you should savor and enjoy every single bite of.  The thyme infused liquid is pure gold, the potatoes pure paradise, and the root vegetables pure pleasure.   Though the lamb could use some more cooking time, the meat still packs quite the flavor punch.  14.20 euros for a special Easter day indulgence is an easy price to pay for such a feast.


Overall: 8.5/10

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Roasted Pork Hock with Sauerkraut and Pretzel Dumpling – Schweinshaxe vom Grill mit Sauerkraut und Brezenknödel


Stiftskeller Innsbruck.  A-6020 Innsbruck · Stiftgasse 1

Hours: Daily 10:00 – 24:00

Bavaria and Austria (notably the western part) share many commonalities.  In addition to the language and dialect, there are a number of gastronomic similarities – for instance, Knödel dumplings and Spätzle noodles are a traditional component of both Bavarian and Austrian cuisines.   Delicacies and desserts like pretzels, Apfelstrudel and Zwetschgenkuchen are other notable examples.  In terms of main dishes, Schweinshaxe is quite popular in Bavaria but also in various parts of Austria.

Schweinshaxe is roasted pork hock.  At Stiftkeller, the dish consists of a hulking pork bone with meat attached all around.   The pork is served with a generous portion of sauerkraut and a bread dumpling in a flavorful sauce.

The pork meat is relatively tender and succulent.  It falls apart and shreds rather easily.  Crackling pork skin is heaven.  Of course, it isn’t the healthiest thing to eat but it’s certainly the best park of the pork shank.  The gelatinous parts lurking underneath make it even more mouthwatering.

Diced bacon gives the fermented cabbage a salty hint to balance its potent acidity.  The Brezenknödel pretzel dumpling is a noble variation on the more common bread roll dumpling, but it lacks much depth of flavor by itself here.  As usual, the Knödel tastes best with the accompanying gravy.  The thick, bold gravy contains lots of chopped onions which have softened and released their essence, bolstering the sauce’s flavor.  A few black peppercorns float in the sauce and provide wonderful aromatics.  Chopped parsley gives the side items an earthy herbal tone.


This particular Haxe is slightly overcooked, clearly noticeable from the few charred and blackened spots on one side of the pork knuckle.  Moreover, at a few spots the skin is tremendously hard.  Slicing through the skin to get to the delicate meat is a huge chore.  It seems as though the shank has been cooked and made ready to serve for some time.  This is understandable, though, since such an enormous cut demands hours in the oven.  Lastly, the meat is heavily salted – be sure to have enough liquids to wash it all down.  Beer is the perfect beverage for this.  Fortunately, Stiftskeller proudly serves refreshing, thirst quenching Augustiner beer.

This classic roasted pork shank meal is not featured in many Austrian restaurants, which is why it is a Saturday specialty.  € 11.90 is a fair price to pay for this Bavarian classic.


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Caramel Waffle with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce – Karamellwaffel mit einer Kugel Vanilleeis und Schokosauce


Stiftskeller Innsbruck.  A-6020 Innsbruck · Stiftgasse 1

Hours: Daily 10:00 – 24:00

Pancakes or waffles?  Such an age-old dilemma simply does not exist for the most important meal of the day here in Austria.  Firstly, pancakes and waffles are not classically recognized as breakfast items – they are deemed more as a dessert.  Secondly, the German word Waffeln can refer to either waffles or wafers but is generally used in reference to the latter.  The term is largely associated with Neapolitan wafers (popularized by the famous Viennese Mannerschnitten sandwich biscuits) as opposed to waffles.  Lastly, though waffles are popular in Belgium and Nordic countries, Austrian cuisine is big on thin crêpe-like pancakes known as Palatschinken.   Simply put, waffles are not so common in Austria.  If you had to make the choice, pancakes, albeit in a different form, would almost always win out.  Not this week, though, as Stiftskeller in Innsbruck offers this scrumptious treat as part of their weekly special.

Presentation is impeccable.  One thick square waffle, complete with its distinguishing lattice design, arrives on a clean white plate.  The dough gets a nice powdered sugar showering over the top.  Sitting in the middle is a clean round scoop of frozen ice cream.  A back and forth drizzling of warm chocolate sauce provides a perfect finishing touch.  Supplementing the dessert dish is a fresh mound of whipped cream, completed with a handful of blanched sliced almonds.

Stiftskeller’s waffles are dense and chewy.  Actually, the cake is quite doughy in the center which makes it sort of reminiscent of a donut.  The waffle is only slightly crisp on the outside.  Sugar has been caramelized on the dough’s surface – therein lies the caramel component.  It has that distinctive richness, but a slight sugary grittiness.

The combination of powdered sugar and chocolate sauce, though, overshadows the caramel flavor.  To say the dessert is sweet is certainly an understatement – the caramelized granulates cooked into the waffle, the white powder dusting the surface, the frozen scoop on top and the sauce drizzled over the surface all have a distinct level of sweetness.  The deep pockets and large squares forming the waffle’s grid pattern provide copious amounts of space for the toppings to find refuge, making both the sugar and chocolate a significant part of each bite.  This takes a bit away from the flavor and texture of the waffle.

A creamy consistency is certainly not lacking in the dish as there is both the frozen dessert and whipped topping.  Vanilla ice cream slowly melts away as it sits upon the warm square cake.  The cold treat teams with the doughy waffle to produce a delightful creamy and chewy combination.  Additionally, the whipped cream and sliced almonds add something special.  € 4.90 is reasonable.


Overall: 8/10

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Tourism School Showcase – 20 March 2013

Salad and Appetizer Buffet · Grilled Turkey Steak with Basmati Rice and Herb Butter / Cheese Spätzle · Baked Semolina Pudding with Sour Cherries

Salat und Vorspeisenbuffet · Gegrilltes Putensteak mit Basmatireis und Kräuterbutter / Käsespätzle mit Salat · Grießauflauf mit Sauerkirschen


The salad and appetizer buffet is the day’s highlight.  On this occasion, there is just one type of lettuce to start with – roughly chopped iceberg lettuce.  But there are other fresh and impressive ingredients to build up the salad.  Shredded carrots, sweet kernel corn, diced tomatoes with mozzarella cubes, chunky tuna, peeled and thinly sliced cucumbers, and cubes of sheep’s milk cheese are all available.  Freshly sliced red, yellow and green bell peppers make for a colorful and naturally sweet addition.  There are roasted peppers and zucchini to electrify the first course starter.  To finish, there is a creamy dressing to top your unique salad creation.  Slices of rye bread are also on hand, lined in a basket.   Bringing a summer flair on the first day of spring, the medley of peppers really pop with sweetness and also add something special with their crispness.  Moreover, the roasted vegetables shine with its concentrated flavor.

The salad is the perfect complement to pair with the vegetarian course – classic Austrian cheese spätzle.  Gooey, stringy, and cheesy all are perfect adjectives to describe the dish.  The tiny little spätzle sparrows are coated with a good amount of creamy, cheese sauce that is not only comforting but delicious.


Crispy shoestring onions garnish the top of the noodles.  Together with the chopped chives, they not only assist in producing an eye-pleasing dish but also provide small bursts of crunchiness along with little sweet explosions.  These thin, frizzled onions complement the cheesy noodles marvelously.


Concluding the three course meal is a special treat – baked semolina desserts shaped in a mini Bundt cake form, served with sour cherries.  The sour cherries gush with tanginess and tartness, providing a sharp contrast to the slightly sweet semolina dessert.  All in all, though, the cherries and its accompanying sauce dictate in the flavor department while the baked semolina product merely provides a contrasting texture.  The baked semolina pudding possesses a nice dark outer crust that adds a bit of crunch to the mix; the interior is slightly gooey.  It’s a delicious dessert, nonetheless.


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