It’s here again – the most beautiful time of the year. Autumn is very dear to my heart. The larches glow in lush shades of yellow, the alpine meadows turn golden brown, and nature gradually becomes quieter. But especially from a culinary point of view, the fifth season in Salzburger Land has a lot to offer.
The small mountain village of Filzmoos also places great emphasis on the pleasures of autumn. Today I am going to the Sulzenalm, or more precisely to the Wallehenhütte. There I can look over Silvia’s and her daughters’ shoulders as they make two farmers’ specialities that are hardly ever prepared anywhere anymore.
Have you ever heard of “Hoamfoahkrapfen” (going home doughnuts)? Or do you know “süsser Schotten” (sweet curd)? Well, I can guarantee you one thing: these traditional and regional delicacies are not for those counting calories! 😉
Although it’s a bit cloudy and wet today, I ride up to the Wallehenhütte on my electric bike. From the village square in Filzmoos, heading at first towards the Hofalm (SW07) and further up into the Sulzenalm area (SW-V-07). The mist nestles against the mountains and gently envelops them. I love this mystical atmosphere and even the rain doesn’t bother me, because it’s all the more cosy in the warm snug of the hut afterwards. The Bischofsmütze mountain may be hiding behind the clouds, but I still stop for a moment and enjoy the magical atmosphere.
Arriving at the Wallehenhütte, Katharina – one of Silvia’s daughters – meets me with her daughter and 4-year-old niece. “We’re going in search of some mountain pine and rowan bushes so we can decorate our animals for Monday,” she tells me, while the children can hardly wait to get going. For me, however, it’s first into the warm snug, or rather straight into the kitchen to the hut’s landlady and dairymaid Silvia, who is already preparing the yeast dough for the “Hoamfoahrkrapfen”. She is assisted by her two other daughters Barbara and Julia.
Silvia explains to me: “The custom is still alive today and this traditional dessert is only served in autumn, when the cattle return to the valley”.
Silvia prepared a yeast dough in the morning and covered it to “rise”. The dough is kneaded again and again so that it rises nicely. The more often you knead it gently, the finer the dough becomes. “This can take a few hours,” Silvia explains. Then the dough is portioned and filled with sultanas or apricot jam soaked in rum. Before the doughnuts are baked in the hot fat, they are allowed to rest for another half hour. Silvia’s professional tip: “First bake on the “wrong side” and make sure to put the lid on, then turn around and bake the second side. It already smells delicious, and my mouth is watering. But before I get to enjoy a doughnut, I really want to know how the “süsse Schotten” is prepared.
This speciality is described as a special milk dish served only once a year and made from the last alpine milk of the year.
While Silvia finishes baking the doughnuts, Babsi is boiling a large pot of fresh cow’s milk, stirring constantly. She explains to me: “It’s best to use freshly milked milk, because that’s the best to work with. It’s important to stir constantly so that the milk doesn’t burn. Just before the milk boils, add a dash of vinegar to the milk. This causes the milk to solidify and flocculate. These flakes are strained off. Then another shot of vinegar is added to the milk and the process is repeated until only the whey remains. The curd is finely stirred in the machine and then poured into bowls. Last but not least, aniseed is added and then chilled. Shortly before consumption, the coarse schotten (looks like curd) is mixed with cold milk and refined with sultanas. Depending on taste, a little more or less milk is added, sweetened with cinnamon and sugar and many also add butter flakes.
To this day, this special milk dish is ceremonially prepared around the time of herding the cattle back down to the village and is gladly eaten by the locals and especially the alpine dairy folk themselves. “People come from far and wide just to eat sweet curd,” Silvia tells us. Neighbours and friends are also happy to have a portion of this traditional milk dish. So, if you find “süsse Schotten” on the menu the next time you visit an alpine hut, be sure to try it. The dish remains special and is rarely served. Other specialities of this alpine hut, which I can also warmly recommend, are the famous “Bauernkrapfen” (farmers’ dougnuts) filled with apricot jam, “Pofesen” (French toast), meat pasties and “Blattlkrapfen” (batter leaves mostly served with sauerkraut).
Now we come to the best part. The sweet curd and the still warm dougnuts are tasted. Katharina and the children also come back from the forest with a full basket and together we eat the delicious specialities. I tried sweet curd for the first time today. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would become a fan of this dish, but it‘s certainly tasty and I am thrilled! I would certainly recommend that you give it a try.
The Sulzenalm is and remains one of my favourite places and the view is balm for the soul. I would love to spend the whole day up here on the mountain pasture. I pause again and enjoy the view and the great atmosphere. Before I return to the valley, Hannah proudly shows me the little baby cats. I can guarantee that they will melt your heart.
If you want to experience the colourful autumn and above all the culinary delights at this time of year in Filzmoos, you still have the opportunity to do so until the end of October. The Filzmoos Sommer Card is valid until 28th October and some of the alpine huts are open until the end of October.
You’ll find a list of the current closing days here:
Information about the Filzmoos Sommer Card:
If you would like to head up to the alpine pastures on an e-bike:
Sport Flory (https://www.flory.at/sportgeschaeft-skiverleih-filzmoos/verleih-sommer/)
Sport Stefan (https://www.sportstefan.at/de/sommersport-filzmoos/mountainbike-ebike.html)
Save the date:
Harvest Festival 2024 | Festival in the Village Square & Traditional Filzmoos “Almabtrieb” (herding the cattle down) on 15th & 16th September 2024
My personal recommendation: Visit the Harvest Festival /or the Almabtrieb in Filzmoos. Because at these traditional festivals, numerous delicacies are produced by the farmers’ wives that you can’t get anywhere else.
Bildnachweis: Sabrina Reisenberger