Life is a Mountain Not a Beach!

The calmness of Rosa Alpina resort during the summer season is obviously very different to that of the winter, when ski hills are groomed with freshly made white snow by automatic snow making machines all over the slopes. This time of the year, the fields are scattered by edelweiss and lots of colorful rhododendron. The scenery reminds a little of the Siberia highlands when high concentrations of lime make mountain waters reflect deep green:

Siberian Lands:

But that doesn’t really matter because you’ll find plenty of hiking trails in the area and lots of mountain goodness. The Dolomites are jagged peaks mixed by rocks bright green valleys bordering Austria.

It was our first time in the Dolomites and the introduction to the owner of Rosa Alpine, Hugo Pizzinini. Hugo is a local Ladino with the sophistication of an uptown New Yorker. No one would doubt Hugo is multilingual as he easily switches from Italian to German, and mid sentence into Ladino, the local language fundamental to his heritage. He speaks English perfectly, is always well dressed and is 100% dedicated to his guests experience.

Hugo is either on the mountain hiking with guests, on his mountain bike climbing challenging steep hills, or at his bistro’s pass watching over his kitchen to ensure his guests are satisfied. Without Hugo Rosa Alpine would just be another luxury mountain lodge and any guest who encounters an “Hugo experience” would understand what I am speaking of.

Then meet the chef of Rosa Alpina’s gourmet restaurant Hubertus, Norbert Niederkofler, a two-starred chef with a purest point of view. We requested the chef’s table to get acquainted with the chef’s style and his mountain cuisine. Chef Niederkofler selects only the highest quality ingredients found on his doorstep, from wild game to mountain herbs.

The chef demonstrates his obvious experience and talents, he has a caring point of view offering true kilometer zero philosophy using only local materials, no olive oil in his mountain cuisine. Norbert founded an organization named CARES, a statement of respect for mother nature:

Norbert proudly displays “Cook the Mountain” a platform about Mountain Gastronomy, a mountain project surrounding research idea about the local raw materials, and the network which aims to connect Chefs, farmers, alpinists, naturalists, sociologists and entrepreneurs from the mountain regions of the world.

Chef Profile:

The kitchen was quiet, a pet-peeve of the chef as staff almost tip-toe as he orchestrates his first night back to work after a few months of being off and it was flawless. There is something about this chef, a genuine confidence, Norbert is one of those chefs who adores his way of life. His foods aren’t overly creative and he does what he believes is all based on alpine cooking. So, no olive oil, and no sea foods, just alpine based raw materials and I respect that. We talk about herbs and flowers and how cows digest, as he points out the humans cannot eat plate after plate of raw herbs without consequences. I have my own experience after numerous visits to Viva Mayr, where we learn that raw after 4pm ferments in your gastro tract, and causes discomfort, bloating and or gas.

Mountain way of life is so very different to that of any other place, here you are obliged to be sporty, and if you think that hiking is a challenge, here you have all kinds of climbing levels. But without the personal touch of Hugo, Rosa Alpine wouldn’t be the same, and as he says, “Life is a Mountain, Not a Beach”.


Strada Micurá de Rü, 20
39036 San Cassiano in Badia (BZ) Italy