They Bake With Saffron in the Südtirol

We spent our Easter in the Südtirol, a part of Italy, way up north where they speak German. It was absolutely glorious and I’m not gonna lie to you- a lot of that was because the food was so good. Mr Mac and I took Ewan with us and went with our dear friends. Our friends have been visiting the same hotel in a teeny wee village called Schlinig for decades. They’ve always taken the half-pension rate so with the room and breakfast, you also get dinner in the hotel. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to just sit down and eat what was given to us instead of having to decide every night where to eat, what to eat etc. And the food from the hotel kitchen was good. Four courses every night, starting with a freshly made salad, followed by either a soup or pasta and then a main plate and finally dessert. We loved it.

We also loved going out for brisk, strenuous walks in the mountains and earning a right good slice of cake and hot beverage. That’s how I discovered that Südtiroler/ins bake with saffron. Have a look at the yellow in some of these luscious cakes:

 A strawberry cake Ewan had in a town called Prad.
Mr Mac’s black forest gateau. Mmmmmm…..
And a light, fluffy and delicious chocolate cake for me.
Mr Mac, Ewan and I stopped for a coffee in a tiny little medieval-walled town called Glurns. As I sipped the lovely cappuccino above, Ewan whispered to me, “Mum, I’m pretty sure that guy next to us is the head-teacher at my primary school!” I said to him to ask the man. When Ewan spoke to him and asked if he was the teacher the man laughed and said, “Yes, I am…. and you’re Ewan, right?!” We laughed about how it’s a small world.
When I was about five, I think, I tasted a hot chocolate and, even for a five-year-old, it was possibly the sweetest drink I’d ever had the displeasure of drinking. I didn’t touch chocolate milk, hot or cold, until the Easter weekend. Mr Mac, our friends and I had been out walking and the weather was pretty horrible. We all needed something to warm. Instead of going for one of the piss-weak black teas cafes in the area serve, I decided to give hot chocolate another go, 36 years or so since the last time. And I was very pleasantly surprised. Either hot chocolate has changed since I was a wee thing, they just know how to make it properly on the continent, or my tastes have changed (I don’t think it’s this because if anything, I find I’m more a fan of savoury foods as I get older wiser) but this Heisse Schoggi was lovely. Of course it helped that it had a big dollop of whipped cream sitting on the top.
And I had a lovely big slab of apple strudel to go with it. See the yellow in the dough?
And my friend’s roulade. When we ordered the drinks, my friend said to the waitress, “And I remember you always have the most delicious cakes here. What can we order?” The waitress looked at my friend like she was crazy, “Our cakes? Really?” Modest to a fault, I’d say.