When we are on holiday in another country we also want to taste traditional dishes. However, only very few people know that there are certain regional ways and rules how to eat local dishes. Here is a guide on the food etiquette in South Tyrol to help you stand out a little less among the locals:
Rule 1: Cut dumplings with a fork
Imagine it's a sunny Thursday at the Radlseehütte in the Eisacktal and the menu is full of dumpling dishes. Cheese dumplings, beetroot dumplings, mushroom dumplings, bacon dumplings, spinach dumplings and for the sweet tooth: delicious nougat dumplings with raspberry sauce - every Thursday there are no limits to the creativity of dumplings at this mountain hut. But suddenly the metallic sound of a knife touching the porcelain of a plate. It has happened: Someone has cut his dumplings with a knife. A murmur goes through the room, people shaking their heads. Okay, maybe we're exaggerating a little bit here. Nevertheless, as a South Tyrolean explorer, it's fundamental to remember that dumplings in South Tyrol are cut with a fork. If they are too hard to cut with a fork it might be better to eat them somewhere else.

Rule 2: Eat Erdäpfelblattln (fried potato pancakes) without cutlery
Erdäpfelblattln, some sort of fried potato dough with sauerkraut is a typical dish from the Eisacktal. By far the best Erdäpfelblattln are actually made by grandmothers in the Eisacktal. But if you don't have any grandmother in that area you can still send your taste buds on a journey and stop off at the Gassltörggelen, a weekly street festival in late summer in Klausen or at the Stöfflhütte, a mountain hut in Villanders. But this delicious dish is also on the menu in many farm taverns in autumn.If you have the dish in front of you, these are the next steps: Take a Erdäpflblattl in your hand and place the sauerkraut in the middle. Fold it once and put it in your mouth. Eat rumorous and enjoy. Anyone who can eat Erdäpfelblattln properly is ahead of some other South Tyroleans without roots in that area. Attention: this dish has addiction potential!

Rule 3: Cut South Tyrolian speck (bacon) properly
Whenever a tourist cuts off the white part of the bacon, i.e. the fat, as a sort of waste somewhere a South Tyrolean heart bleeds to death. Perhaps we have exaggerated a little here, who knows. But anyone who wants to earn true South Tyrolean recognition should learn how to cut bacon properly. We introduce you to the fine art of cutting bacon.
At mountain huts and in local restaurants, the piece is usually already pre-cut as a slice about 3 cm thick. But if you still need to cut your snack piece from the whole bacon you have brought home from your South Tyrolean vacation, you should cut it into quarters. Then cut a slice about 3 cm thick from one of the quarters. Now you can cut off the rind (and really just the rind!) without getting rid of the white part. Depending on your preference you can also remove the upper rind, i.e. the smoked spice layer. For a true concert of flavours, however, we recommend to leave the aromatic layer on top or only remove it partially. Now the bacon can be sliced thinly: with the white part at the bottom and the meaty red part facing upwards, push the knife up through the white fat and cut from that bottom to the meaty red top. The rule of thumb: the more tender and thinner, the better the flavor. Some also prefer thin sticks instead of slices. To achieve these, cut off thicker slices and chop them into sticks. The remaining quarters of the bacon can either be hung in a cool cellar or wrapped in a damp cloth and stored in the refrigerator.
The "Hüttenjause", "Marende" or "Speck am Brettl" is generally available at every hut and every Buschenschank. On the Ritten we recommend the Rielinger Hof in Siffian which offers farm-fresh bacon and the Speck Festival in Villnöss where the world's best bacon cutter Hans Mantinger shows his craft.

These are just three examples of food traditions in South Tyrol. You should further avoid to order a "portion of Törggelen" because in this autumnal tradition one usually orders a meat-platter with sauerkraut, meat and dumplings for the whole table. Also, delicious spaghetti alla carbonara should ideally be enjoyed with a fork; spoons are rather taboo. And we recommend to not even think about cutting the pasta into small pieces. The restaurant or hut owners might otherwise shed a tear.
In any case, we wish you great meals when it's finally time to go on holidays in South Tyrol again and the smell of South Tyrolean dishes stimulates your taste buds and makes the production of saliva in your mouth freak out.

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