Asteralm, Saalbach

On Day 3, we ventured out to Saalbach – which is a larger town than Hinterglemm with longer trails. The weather was the best so far as it was finally a bright and sunny day!  Unlike the previous two mountains where the gondola stops at the mid of the mountain, the gondola at Saalbach allows non-skiing guests to reach the peak. Unfortunately there isn’t any eatery up there, so once again injured man camped at the restaurant at the mid-way point.

The pros of this restaurant over the others that we’ve been to is – they got TV! They were televising live matches of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. While we were having our lunch, there was a group of patriotic Uncles supporting the German ice hockey team.

Between Schnitzel and Sausage, my choice is clear. I think the sausages I had in Austria seems to taste better than the ones in Germany. And the ones here looked so pretty with the flower cuts~

Photos Taken Earlier:

The peak of this mountain happens to be a photospot. We were awed by the amazing view of the Alps around the area~

Most of the churches I’ve seen in the Swiss Alps and Austrian Alps region has a peculiar feature – onion-shaped domes. Only came to understand that these are Eastern Orthodox churches after checking them up from the internet.

Somehow I had craving for fish while up in the Alps. Managed to purchase frozen salmon from the supermart.

Another surprise find was this delicious Austria brand Felix Sour Cream Sauce! It was a random buy as I needed sour cream to go with Rosti for breakfast. But we fell in love with this awesome dip!

Our breakfasts – I rarely get to prepare such heavy breakfast in Singapore. Pleased to have the luxury of preparing nice breakfast while on holiday~ #homecookedbreakfasts

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Berggasthof Hochalm, Hinterglemm

For Day 2, we took a shuttle bus to explore another part of the ski resort. As per previous day, injured man need to find a spot to surf internet stay warm and enjoy the beer while waiting for me.

This rather retro-looking hut serves original Austrian delicacies, hence Schnitzel was a natural choice.

The portion was quite generous, with a heavy breakfast we could make do with sharing a single portion.

Talking about breakfast, we bought several packets of an Austrian drink – Lattella developed in the late 1970s. Although the pictures on the packaging seems idiot-proof, we mistaken Apricot for Peach flavour. The apricot turned out to be the most “unique” flavour amongst the 3 flavours that we bought. The other two being Strawberry and Mango. This local fruit drink made from whey actually tasted similar to fruit-flavoured yogurt drink.

Other Photos Taken:

Blissful life – Snowboarding in the morning and back to hotel for Rest & Relax at the end of the day.

Part of the reason why I prefer to stay in apartment is the kitchenette for us to do some cooking~ We usually prefer to stay in to wine & dine in the comfort of the apartment. =)

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Wieseralm, Hinterglemm

For this trip, we would be spending most of our days in Austria and 5 nights in the alpine valley of Saalbach-Hinterglemm. Getting here from Milan involved 3 train journey and 1 bus ride, spanning over 10 hours. Not forgetting the nail-biting moment where we almost missed our connecting train due to train delay in Italy.

Our first proper meal at the ski mountain was at Wieseralm – a restaurant in a cabin hut located mid-way up the ski slope. For the gentleman who was stuck at the hut waiting for me (due to freak accident in Milan where he sprained his ankle), he settled for a Sausage with fries to go with a glass of beer – to drown his sorrows perhaps

Whereas I opted for some carbo-loaded Tagliatelle – Scampi tossed in basil pesto with black-tiger prawns fried in garlic since I’ve worked up an appetite after doing a few warm-up runs. =)

Typically I seldom take pesto sauce with my pasta as I had experienced pesto sauce that tasted too bitter or too “herbal” in Singapore. The version served here certainly changed my impression of the greenish-looking sauce! Being up in the valley, having prawns is somewhat a “luxury”.

For a restaurant nestled up on the mountains, I’ve certainly impressed with the quality of food served.  There is also an outdoor terrace seating area with a nice view, but the weather was a tad cloudy so the terrace was pretty empty.

Journey from Milan to Hinterglemm:

Caught a 7am train that depart from Milan and was supposed to have a 30 mins  grace period to catch a connecting train. Despite a timely departure, the train arrived 25 mins late at our interchange station! We were left with 5 mins to transfer platforms with luggage in tow… Thankfully we made it… As we cross into Austria border, the scene outside changed into one covered with snow. A sign that we were getting closer to our destination.

By the time we check-in to the accommodation it was already evening and it was a rush to purchase our groceries for self-catering. We were so tired that our dinner was the trusty Nissin Cup Noodles.  We first spotted the Soba (dry) noodles from the supermarket in Milan and gave it a try as this version was not available in Singapore. We fell in love with this delicious dry Soba in a cup!

Pleased with our choice of ski resort with wide slopes and best of all – it’s not crowded!

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Ham Holy Burger, Milan

Ham Holy Burger is a gourmet burger chain in Italy, but unlike the other fast-food chains, they positioned themselves as a trendy gourmet burger eatery. They took pride in using the finest breed of cattle in Italy for the patties and appealed to the youths novelty seeking mentality by introducing customisable burgers with orders placed from the iPad.

Usually when visiting outlet villages, we would not opt for sit-down meal due to the need to maximise the time at the mall (typically visitors who didn’t self-drive has to pre-purchase coach tickets with fixed timings). However due to the infrequent coach schedule, we had to spend either 3.5 or 7 hours at the mall.

In this instance, we went for the later timing and could afford to enjoy our meal leisurely. *On hindsight, it was kinda boring to be stuck at the mall for 7 hours…

After being wowed by the Italian cheese we had during this trip, we couldn’t give up having Mozzarella impanata Fried mozzarella sticks in breadcrumbs served with barbecue sauce with our lunch. Everything seems to taste better after adding cheese…hmmm.

Ordered the Holy Burger burger of Fassona beef Slow Food Presidia from “La Granda” farm Piedmont (180 g), red onion rings, tomato, cucumber, lettuce and holy sauce and the Tosco Burger 180g Chianina breed burger, black cabbage, Tuscan Pecorino cheese, Tuscan green sauce, lard, freshly milled black pepper (pictured below).

I liked the type of bun they used for the burgers – with a golden crust on the outside and and soft fluffy texture on the inside. However the beef patties was hit and miss. Oddly the beef patty for the Holy Burger was more tender and juicy compared to the supposedly more superior Chianina beef. Although the latter had a richer flavour, it had more tendons and was tougher to chew.

Granted that we visited the store nestled inside the designer village, we didn’t have high expectations on the food. It was good enough to fill our stomachs but nothing extraordinary to lure any foodies to make a visit to their other outlets in Italy. Unless you have a craving for burgers in the land of pizza and pasta.

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Luini, Milan

Ranked as the top street food in Milan, Panzerotti is a snack that I must get my hands on. Arriving in Milan on late Saturday night, the famous local institution Luini had closed for the day and Sunday is a rest day for them. We had to squeeze in a slot to visit them in the morning before we make our way to the designer outlet village at the outskirt of the city.

So we were back at the Duomo area again. In fact, Luini is just directly opposite Cioccolati Italiani where we bought the gelato. We arrived slightly before their opening time and saw some customers lingering outside the store.

So what’s great at Luini? They make amazing panzerotti –  fried dough stuffed with tomato and mozzarella, a popular Italian snack.

Browsing at the menu hung outside the store, we soon realised that there are different stuffing and they could be fried or baked. It is further divided into either savoury or sweet variant. Boy, we are lost as to what to order!

Having had our breakfast less than 30 mins ago, we were still kinda full… but once the roller gate was lifted, the customers started entering the shop. We joined the queue while still undecided on what to order. By the time it was our turn, we ordered the first item on the list from the savoury menu the classic Tomato and Mozzarella and asked the staff for recommendation from the sweet menu.

The savoury and sweet variants looked different in shape and also taste different in terms of the dough used.

Because we ordered the classic Tomato and Mozzarella flavour, it tasted just like a folded pizza! No wonder these are sometimes known as fried calzones. In Asia term, this is pizza flavoured “fried fritters” (Ham Jim Peng). 

The sweet variants are called panzerotto dolce  and are baked using a shortbread crust so they are much more akin to a pastry. In honesty I forgotten which flavour we bought as it simply tasted like typical fruit jam fillings.

Comparing the two, my personal preference is the savoury version which is more chewy and pillowy versus the more crumbly and crusty sweet “pie”.

I think most tourists who were “left” by the tour goup leader at the Duomo area for some free & easy time would tend to look for fast food chains like McDonald‘s for a quick snack. They should try Luini for a more local experience.

Photos Taken Earlier:

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is undoubtedly one of the World’s most beautiful shopping mall.

There are 4 symbols on the floor at the rotunda area which serves to represent the capitals of the Kingdom of Italy:

  • The wolf represents Rome
  • The lily represents Florence
  • The bull represents Turin
  • The white flag with red cross represents Milan

The most popular symbol was the Turin one as there are claims that wishes can come true for people who put a right heel over the hole (at the genitals of the bull) and make three complete turns on one foot. Hence there is perpetually a queue at the symbol to perform this amusing act.

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Sciatt à Porter, Milan

After struggling to stay awake beyond the evening for the past two days, we were prepared that we might need to have an early dinner as we slowly adjust our body clock to the new time zone.

The mood map for this journey so far has been like a roller coaster ride. Exhausted after an arduous 21 hours journey to reach Modena, we then had an exhilarating and rewarding meal on day 2 of our trip. Woke up to a horror on day 3, when I realised one of my eyelids was swollen and itchy…made a quick dash to a pharmacy to get some eye drops, pressed on with the scheduled visit to see “The Last Supper“.  It was perhaps a blessing in disguise that we did not have other plans for the rest of the day, not even any restaurant reservations – I was too tied up with work commitments to plan for this trip in detail…

Armed with a shortlisted list of street food vendors, we did a quick scan for the ones that are located nearer to our hotel. That was how we ended up at Sciatt à Porter. However it was certainly not a slipshod decision to include this place in the list of potential eateries. This place specialises in Valtellina regional cuisine. The region is just north of Milan and south of Switzerland. At first glance, the decoration of the restaurant has a Scandinavian feel to it, but I got to realise that it was designed to replicate the ambience of an Alpine valley restaurant as Valtellina is a ski destination with snow all year round!

The cuisine are typically rich and hearty local dishes that uses buckwheat flour.  Here at this restaurant, they serve all three top dishes of the region: Polenta Taragna, Sciatt and Pizzoccheri.

We chose to have Sciatt as appetizer, which are crispy buckwheat balls with a melted casera cheese heart served in a paper cone. They are crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Fans of mozzarella sticks would find these a notch better than what you had been having!

Next we had one of the most famous Italian antipasti – Carpaccio. We were kinda shocked by the plate of red meat when it was placed on our table. We were expecting the thin beef slices adorned with arugula and shavings of Parmesan cheese, not plain like this… Not the prettiest sight. Perhaps if I’ve done a bit more homework, we would have ordered the Bresaola (cured beef deli meat) instead which is more unique – although I’m not sure if it would be too exotic for our liking.

Nonetheless we managed to finish the carpaccio as we alternate eating this with the heavy main dish. The main was another Valtellina cuisine – Pizzoccheri Buckwheat pasta cooked with cabbage and potatoes and served with melted cheese and butter.

This is such a carbs-loaded dish that it felt really sinful… although I do like the texture of the short tagliatelle type pasta made with buckwheat, which was more chewy. The rich cheese flavour made this a homely dish. However this dish could prove to be over-cloying. Try as we might, we struggled to finish this even though this was supposed to be a single portion!

While writing this post, I recalled that I had tried a similar pasta which I had fond memories of in Veltlinerkeller RestaurantSt MoritzSwitzerland . And it turned out that it’s the same pasta! Back then I wrote that the dish was “Worthy of special mention“. Seems like my taste hasn’t changed over the years!

Photos Taken Earlier:

Explored Piazza Gae Aulenti which is one of the newest part of Milan. It’s sleek and futuristic. At stark contrast with the historic buildings in old town.

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Il Kiosko, Milan

After visiting Santa Maria delle Grazie (“Holy Mary of Grace”) it was already late afternoon. We  skipped lunch in order to make it to our scheduled booking to see “The Last Supper“, so it’s time for some snacks. We did some research for street food/snacks in Milan as we reckoned that we would not be in for another fine dining meal after Osteria Francescana.

Most people’s impression of Italian food might be confined to pizzas and pastas. So for this trip, we wanted to survive without an overdose of these two mains.

We made our way to Il Kiosko, which is actually a Pescheria (fish shop). This tiny kiosk is said to sell one of the freshest seafood and fishes in the city.

Other than selling fresh seafood, the other half of the kiosk sells Fried Seafood – what we were here for.

We ordered the €8 cone which was packed with fried calamari, squid, prawn, fish fillet, topped with a lemon wedge. Although the ingredients were not freshly fried upon order – they were left in the display with warmer, they were still delicious. I supposed this kiosk probably got very good suppliers that provides them with quality seafood.

Photos Taken Earlier:

It ain’t easy trying to get tickets to see “The Last Supper“.  The wall mural is preserved in the refectory at Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. Due to the fragility of the work, resulting from the technique that Leonardo da Vinci used to achieve his masterpiece, each entry session is limited to 15 minutes with a maximum capacity of 30 people at any given time.

While exchanging our voucher for the tickets at the box office, we saw many visitors being turned away because it is nearly impossible to just walk-in and expect tickets to be available! 

The wall mural was much larger than I imagined it to be. Compared to seeing “Mona Lisa” in Louvre Museum, this was a much better experience. The painting draws the viewers into the dining hall with the creation of “space” behind Jesus. Naturally, I was astounded to see part of the painting ruined by the addition of a doorway in the lower half section. 

On the other end of the hall is another wall mural. Painted by Giovanni Donato da Montorfano it is called “The Cruxifixion“. The condition of this painting was much better than “The Last Supper” as this was painted using traditional fresco technique.

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