Taste the typical dishes of Cortina in the several restaurants, pizzerias, agriturismi, cafes, bars, pastry shops, pubs, wine bars and Alpine farms that combine the unforgettable landscapes of the Queen of the Dolomites with the pleasure of its traditional cuisine.


Spinach Canederli (Knödel), a delicious no-waste recipe

Historically a borderland between Italy and Austria, Cortina encompasses both Italian and Tyrolean flavours in its recipes.

One of the most traditional dishes are the canederli, Knödel in German. It’s a delicious recipe that enhances a poor but genuine cooking, and a clever way to use leftover bread.

Ingredients (serves 6):

– 5-6 thinly sliced stale bread rolls
– wild herbs or spinach
– 150 g of ricotta cheese
– 3 eggs
– 4-5 spoons of flour
– ½ onion
– water
– grated parmesan cheese
– salt, pepper and nutmeg

Wash and boil the wild herbs (or spinach), chop it and brown it in a pan with some butter and thinly sliced onion. In a large bowl combine the bread with the vegetables, eggs, ricotta cheese, a handful of grated parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and some water.
Combine all the ingredients until a wet dough forms and assemble balls of 4-5 cm of diameter with it.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, lower the canederli into the boiling water and cook them for 15 minutes. Serve them with grated parmesan and melted butter.

Hint: you can put in the refrigerator all the canederli that you won’t be able to eat (before cooking them) to enjoy them another time!

Recipe taken from the book “Cošlupe frìte e lòchi ‘n técia – raccolta di ricette della tradizione ampezzana” edited by Francesca Gaspari and Maria Luisa Menardi – Edizioni U’lda.

Photo: Diego Gaspari Bandion

Beetroot casunziei, Cortina’s quintessential traditional dish

No recipe is more local, traditional and deeply rooted in Cortina than the casuziei, a sort of moon-shaped ravioli, especially in their red version with a beetroot filling.

Everything about this recipe talks about Cortina’s history and territory: the beetroot and potatoes, easy to grow even in an Alpine valley; the cheese and butter, from the traditional animal farming; the poppy seeds, a signature ingredient of Cortina’s tradition; and nutmeg, a spice that used to arrive to Cortina from Venetian merchants.

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the filling:
400 g of beetroot
100 g of golden beetroot
200 g of potatoes
15 g of plain flour
1 tbs salt
1 pinch of nutmeg

For the dough:
320 g of plain flour
1 egg
180 ml of water
1 pinch of salt

For the sauce:
100 g of butter
Smoked ricotta cheese or parmesan
Poppy seeds

Prepare the filling in advance, even on the previous evening, so that it is cold and firm by the time you use it.
Steam the beetroots and golden beetroots and, separately, the potatoes. Blend the beetroots and mesh the potatoes with a masher, then mix everything and leave to cool down.
Toast the flour for the filling in a frying pan until it browns, then add it to the mixture of beetroos and potatoes. Add salt and nutmeg and leave to rest.
For the dough, mix the egg and flour, then add salt and the water little by little, until the dough is soft (you may need slightly more or less water, depending on how dump the flour is). Knead on a pastry board until you have a ball, then leave to rest covered for about half an hour.
Roll out the dough so thin that you can see through it, dust it with flour and form circles with a 5-7 cm pastry ring. Place a scant tablespoon of filling at the centre of each circle and fold to form half-moon shaped raviolis, making sure to carefully seal the edges.
Dust a tray with bran flour and transfer the casunziei. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add salt; put the butter in a saucepan.
Carefully put the casunziei into the simmering water (to prevent them from breaking) and cook for 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile,
brown the butter.
Drain the casunziei using a skimmer spoon and place them on a plate, sprinkle with the ricotta or parmesan cheese and season with butter and poppy seeds. Serve immediately.

NOTE: beetroot is the classic winter filling, while in the summer you can try casunziei with herbs or potatoes. For that extra twist, add a pinch of cinnamon to the filling and some sage leaves to the butter before browning it!


Šmòrn, a simple and tasty mountain recipe

This is a simple but mouth-watering dish, perfect for a hearty breakfast but also as a main at lunch or dinner, especially when one needs to recharge after a hike or a long day.

In Cortina’s traditional cuisine, Italian and Tyrolean cultures intertwine. The šmòrn (Schmarren in German) is traditional in the cuisine of a wider area including Tyrol and South Tyrol. Here is how to prepare it according to the recipe by food blogger Federica Constantini of @dolcisenzaburro!

Ingredients (serves 4):

2 eggs
250 g of milk
30 g of sugar
125 g flour
2 apples
1 spoon of rum Jam

For the batter, mix the eggs with milk and flour. Add to the batter one spoon of rum and the apples cut into pieces and cook it in a hot pan greased with oil or butter.
Turn the omelette and cook the other side. When almost ready, break it with a wooden spoon into big chunks while cooking and add some sugar.
Serve the Šmòrn sprinkled with icing sugar and accompanied by jam.

Note: An alternative to the recipe of the Šmòrn (Schmarrn in German) is the Kaiseršmòrn (Kaiserschmarrn), a richer variety of the recipe that the Austrian emperor (Kaiser) was particularly fond of and to whom it owes its name. To prepare the Kaiseršmòrn, add some raisins (soaked 30 minutes in warm water) and pine nuts or other nuts at your discretion.

Photo Credits: Federica Constantini – @dolcisenzaburro

Brazorà, the sweet focaccia of the Ampezzo tradition

Mountain cuisine is an important part of the Italian traditional cuisine: simple dishes made of a few basic products. However, basic ingredients doesn’t mean poor flavour. On the contrary, some traditional recipes are so good and tasty that they are still handed down from generation to generation, and are offered in restaurants or pastry shops.

One of these is the recipe for brazorà, a sweet focaccia sprinkled with sugar grains, a crown shaped dessert, just like a hug!

A long time ago it was the cake of the wedding invitation: bride and groom personally went to invite their own guests, offering a brazorà with 5 “crostoli” and 5 sugared almonds in the middle. Era usanza nell’occasione portare in omaggio un brazorà con al centro 5 carafoi (crostoli) e 5 confetti.

Ingredients to make one loaf:
500g flour
80g sugar
80g unsalted softened butter
5 eggs
1 grated zest of lemon
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
16g dried brewer’s yeast
80g milk
To finish: granulated sugar

Dissolve the yeast in warm milk.
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them for about half an hour or until you have a soft dough.
When the dough feels smooth and silky cover it with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm room, for at least 1/2 hour or longer.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 170.
On a baking tray divide the dough into three parts and form a braid closed in doughnut Let it rest for another half an hour .
Gently brush the egg yolk mixed with water over the loaf and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the Brazorà for 40 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool before serving.

Let us go through the flagship desserts of the six sestieri, the "neighbourhoods" that compose Cortina, for a journey into taste and tradition.

The Kaiser-schmarrn

In its richer version with pine nuts and sultanas it is called Kaiserscharrn, just Schmarrn without them. Either way, this dessert has been delighting locals’ palates since time immemorial. Simple and quick to prepare, its genuine flavour has the taste of tradition.

The omelette, Alpine crêpe

We continue our exploration of Cortina’s traditional desserts with a very international dish, yet at the same time deeply local. What we call omelettes are actually sweet crêpes.
They get an Alpine touch with the use of lingonberry jam, a traditional produce of local families.

The fartaia

This dessert is something you will hardly find elsewhere. Like with many regional Italian delicacies, you won’t believe something so simple can be so good

The Tirtl

Our culinary journey into Cortina’s tradions continues with the tirtl, a dessert testifying to Cortina’s common history with Tyrol. The combination of a crispy dough and the sweet, warm filling of blackberry jam makes the tirtl one.

The Nighele

The charming mountain town, which has always been a border land, is a blend of Alpine Lifestyle and Dolce Vita and the flavours of Italy and Tyrol are combined to delicious dishes. Learn the best recipes of the Ampezzo Valley: download the recipe of the nighele, one of the desserts of the 6 sestieri, the “neighborhoods” that make up Cortina.

The apple fritter

The final recipe of Cortina’s sestieri (the six areas of town) is ideal for a warm touch in a cold winter day. And as Italian tradition says, round things bring good luck for the new year! Proviamo a cimentarci insieme scaricando questa ricetta, appositamente confezionata per noi da @moninamillion!


Vov egg liqueur, a winter comfort drink

In the snowy winter of the Dolomites, few things are more comforting than a glass of egg liqueur. This traditional recipe has a sweet, enveloping taste and a pleasant vanilla flavour. Just one sip will take your mind to a cozy, traditional mountain lodge in the wintry landscape of Cortina’s mountains.

Ingredients (for two 1.5 liter bottles)

1 liter of fresh milk
800 g of sugar
1 vanilla bean
10 egg yolks
200 ml of a dry liqueur wine, like Marsala
200 ml of alcohol (for liqueur)

Open the vanilla bean lengthwise and add it to the milk and sugar in a high-sided pot.
Heat it until the sugar is completely melted, then let it cool down.
Beat the egg yolks in a bowl; then add the dry liqueur wine and the alcohol, always stirring with the whisk.
Combine the two mixes, remove the vanilla bean and quickly whip with a blender to avoid lumps.
Using a funnel, pour the foamy liquid into the bottles and close with a bung.
Store in a cool environment and shake the bottles vigorously once a day for a few days.
You can consume it right away, but the liquor is at its best after settling for at least 10 days. Once opened, keep it in the refrigerator and shake well before drinking it.

NOTE: If you want to try a traditional winter drink, the Calimero,
mix 1/3 of hot espresso coffee, 1/3 of hot vov and 1 spoon of dark rum.

Pour it in the cups, add whipped cream with a dusting of cocoa powder and serve it.