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What to Eat and Drink After Skiing, Country by Country

What to Eat and Drink After Skiing, Country by Country

Credits: Shutterstock

The tradition of après ski, which originated in the 1950s and translates to 'after ski,' encompasses the social activities that follow a day on the slopes. This cherished post-skiing ritual is all about indulging in delightful dishes and raising a glass to a day well spent on the mountain. Join us on a culinary journey through the alpine realms of France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, and Italy as we uncover the most tempting après ski foods and drinks each country has to offer.

France

Courchevel - Courchevel - Credits: Shutterstock

The French Alps, renowned for their world-class skiing, are equally celebrated for their culinary prowess. These culinary traditions trace their roots to a time when mountain communities faced isolation during the extended, snow-covered winters. Survival depended on locally sourced Alpine ingredients that could be preserved for the season, and these recipes have been handed down through generations.

One of the most beloved dishes of the Alps is tartiflette, a mouth-watering gratinated potato dish from the mountainous region of Savoie in France. It features medium-sized potatoes, white wine, Reblochon cheese, onions, smoked salt pork (lardons fumés), and often crème fraîche—a rich and indulgent masterpiece that provides the perfect remedy for post-ski hunger pangs.

Tartiflette - Tartiflette - Credits: Shutterstock

Another après ski favorite is French onion soup, a humble peasant dish that has ascended to the ranks of prized French cuisine. The broth is simple, made merely with caramelized onions and meat stock. However, the soup is distinguished by croûtes–pieces of crispy baked bread that are placed on top of the soup and are then generously covered with cheese. Sipping a warm bowl of Soupe à l'oignon or French onion soup in a cozy chalet after a day on the slopes is an unforgettable experience.

Soupe à l'oignon - Soupe à l'oignon - Credits: Shutterstock

Discover France: www.tasteatlas.com/france

Switzerland 

Saas Fee - Saas Fee - Credits: Shutterstock

Switzerland, home to iconic peaks and premier ski resorts, offers breathtaking alpine scenery and a rich culinary experience. After a thrilling day on the Swiss slopes, indulging in après ski delights is an essential part of the Swiss mountain tradition, where cheese takes center stage.

Extremely popular in the ski region Valais and other parts of the Swiss Alps, where it also originated, raclette was invented by the Swiss mountain shepherds who used to gather around a fire while roasting potatoes. As they left some cheese near the fire, it started to melt so they scraped bits of it on the potatoes and raclette was born. The scraped cheese is usually accompanied by roasted or cooked potatoes with their skin still on, vegetables, cold cuts, pickles, onions, and bread. There is also a variety of raclette where cheese and other ingredients are scraped onto an opened baked potato. A perfect dish to share with others during cold winter nights, raclette is best paired with light white wines or traditional kirsch liqueurs.

Raclette - Raclette - Credits: Shutterstock

Fondue is another Swiss treasure and popular apres ski choice, inviting laughter and camaraderie as guests dip chunks of crusty bread into a pot of melted Gruyère and Emmental cheese, with a hint of white wine and garlic. According to local customs, if one loses a piece of bread in the pot, he or she has to buy a round of drinks for everyone involved in this unique and cheesy communal affair.

Fondue - Fondue - Credits: Shutterstock

Discover Switzerland: www.tasteatlas.com/switzerland

Austria

Schladming - Schladming - Credits: Shutterstock

Austrian cuisine in the mountains is an experience like no other. In Austrian Tirol, meals are often prepared directly on old rustic woodstoves, where mouthwatering aromas waft through the room, setting the stage for an unforgettable dining experience. Austria’s lively après-ski scene begins at lunchtime. You can have beer, champagne, or Jagertee in cozy huts close to the slopes, or in some cases on the slopes or in bars and discotheques in the villages. 

Traditional dishes like Tiroler Gröstl, a simple yet rich Alpine dish made from fried potatoes, onions, and bacon, offer hearty sustenance.  Gröstl provides an ideal way of using yesterday's leftovers and transforming them into a great, hearty, and warming mountain lunch that can be shared communally, straight from the pan. It is recommended to pair the dish with the famous kaiserschmarrn in a separate pan.

 Tiroler Gröstl - Tiroler Gröstl - Credits: Shutterstock

Also known as the Emperor's mess, kaiserschmarrn can be described as a fluffy, lightly caramelized, scrambled pancake. Legend has it that kaiserschmarrn was the favorite dessert of Kaiser Franz Joseph I, after whom it was named. The dish is traditionally served with zwetschkenröster (plum compote) or a big spoonful of apple, pear, or berry preserve. Lavishly dusted with icing sugar, kaiserschmarrn is the perfect comfort dessert after a day of skiing.

Kaiserschmarrn - Kaiserschmarrn - Credits: Shutterstock

And while moderation is key, it's part of the Austrian apres ski experience to sample locally made schnapps, with pear and stone pine being popular choices.

Discover Austria: www.tasteatlas.com/austria

Italy 

Alta Badia - Alta Badia - Credits: Shutterstock

In Italy, the slopes seamlessly transition into inviting chalets and rustic trattorias, where delectable dishes and strong shots await. Here, après ski is not just a tradition but a culinary journey showcasing the diversity and depth of the Italian mountain cuisine.

When it comes to après ski comfort food, few dishes can rival the heartwarming appeal of polenta. This hearty, corn-based dish has been a staple of Alpine cuisine for centuries. It serves as a blank canvas for an array of flavorful toppings and accompaniments, making it a beloved choice for those seeking to replenish their energy after a day on the slopes.

Polenta - Polenta - Credits: Shutterstock

A kind of dumpling found in the Dolomite mountains, canederli is comfort food at its best. Canederli were first made by farmers who used up leftover ham and cheese by adding breadcrumbs, rolling the mix into balls and cooking them in beef, chicken or vegetable broth. The dumplings are a part of cucina povera due to the fact that they're made with very simple and inexpensive ingredients such as stale bread, flour, milk, and eggs.

Canederli - Canederli - Credits: Shutterstock

To warm up from the winter chill, indulge in a Bombardino, a classic Italian après ski drink that combines VOV egg liqueur and brandy, topped with whipped cream. This delightful concoction is named after its explosive flavor and high alcohol content, originating in Livigno but now cherished in Italian ski resorts.

Discover Italy: www.tasteatlas.com/italy

Slovakia

Chopok - Chopok - Credits: Shutterstock

Slovakia may not be as widely recognized as some of its neighbors in the world of skiing, but its pristine slopes, breathtaking landscapes, and hearty après ski cuisine make it a hidden gem worth exploring. Whether you're conquering the pistes or indulging in traditional Slovak dishes by the fireside, Slovakia's après ski experience promises a perfect blend of adventure and gastronomic delights.

Slovakia's national dish, Bryndzové halušky, is a comforting plate of potato dumplings served with a rich sheep cheese sauce. Often garnished with crispy bits of bacon and chives, this dish is a must-try après ski delight. For a heartwarming soup to replenish your energy, try Kapustnica, a traditional Slovak cabbage soup often prepared during the festive season. It's made with sauerkraut, sausage, and dried mushrooms, creating a delightful blend of flavors.  Known as Pirohy in Slovakia, these Eastern European dumplings, are typically stuffed with various fillings such as potato, cheese, or meat. Served with sour cream and often fried onions, they make for a satisfying après ski meal.

Kapustnica - Kapustnica - Credits: Shutterstock

Slovakian winters call for a honey-and-bacon hot brandy cocktail- yes, bacon. When attempting Hriatô for the first time, your Slovak host may encourage you to overlook its appearance and savor it swiftly. Pronounced as "hree-AH-two-oh,"  this hot brandy cocktail, infused with honey and adorned with bacon, stands proudly among Slovakia's top choices for winter warmth.

Discover Slovakia: www.tasteatlas.com/slovakia

Germany 

Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Credits: Shutterstock

While Germany may not boast the towering mountain peaks of its neighboring alpine destinations, it certainly holds its own when it comes to après ski culinary delights. Skiers and snow enthusiasts may not find themselves at the highest altitudes, but they'll discover a diverse and delectable range of après ski foods that perfectly complement the country's unique charm and winter wonderland.

Käsespätzle is a traditional dish hailing from the Alpine regions of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. At its core, it's a simple yet indulgent creation that combines two key ingredients: spätzle and cheese - perfect comfort food after a long day skiing. 

Käsespätzle - Käsespätzle - Credits: Shutterstock

A staple at Christmas markets, Glühwein is as often enjoyed as an après-ski drink in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It is a classic mulled wine, combining red wine, citrus zest, and spices such as anise, cinnamon, and cloves. Some enthusiasts like to add a shot of brandy or rum for an extra kick. Glühwein pairs beautifully with traditional alpine snacks like roasted chestnuts, pretzels, or sausages, enhancing the après ski experience.

Glühwein - Glühwein - Credits: Shutterstock

Discover Germany: www.tasteatlas.com/germany

As you explore the après ski scenes in these European Alpine destinations, you'll find that each country offers a unique blend of culinary traditions. From the savory classics of France to the cheese delights of Switzerland, the rich Alpine heritage of Austria and Slovakia, and the comforting allure of polenta in Italy, après ski is not just about the slopes—it's a celebration of diverse and delectable flavors that add an extra layer of joy to your mountain adventures.

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