The fresh air has cleared your head and your legs feel wonderfully tired after a hike in the mountains or a day on the slopes. At the close of such perfect days, is there anything better than visiting a village inn or a rustic mountain hut to enjoy a healthy portion of Vorarlberg Kässpätzle or Käsknöpfle? Mixed with melted cheese from Vorarlberg and garnished with crispy roasted onions, such dishes are a particular treat. After all, cheese production in in Vorarlberg has a long tradition – small wonder that Kässpätzle taste particularly delicious here. The thick, gooey dough is made from egg, water, strong flour and salt.
For all those who want to try making their own: a Knöpfler is a device that allows one to grate the dough directly into boiling water. Once cooked, the individual Spätzle float to the water’s surface and can be removed with a special ladle. The finishing touch is the cheese, up to four types of aromatic and mild mountain and Alpine cheeses – in the Montafon also Sura Kees – are added. This speciality is traditionally served in a special wooden bowl called “Brenta” or “Gepse”. Potato salad, green salad, or homemade applesauce work well as side dishes.
Kässpätzle Recipe from Vorarlberg
Ingredients for 4 people
500 g of strong all-purpose flour (Austrian flour type 480)
125 ml water
Pinch of salt, nutmeg
100 g Vorarlberg mountain cheese
100 g Vorarlberg Alpine cheese (Emmental as an alternative)
100g Vorarlberg Räßkäse cheese
1 onion, peeled and cut in slices
150 g butter
1/2 bunch of chives
Knead the eggs, flour, salt, nutmeg and some lukewarm water into smooth dough. The dough should have a texture between liquid and firm. Using a Spätzle device, grate the dough into the boiling water. As soon as the Spätzle rise to the water surface, strain them out of the water. Mix the cheese. Then layer together the Spätzle and cheese bit by bit in the buttered pan. Heat up the butter in a small pan. Roast the onions until golden brown. Ensure that the onions do not get too browned. This means removing the light brown onions from the pan and using kitchen roll to soak up the grease. Garnish the Kässpätzle with some diced chives and the browned onions. Season with pepper.
Recipe: Michael Ritter
Here you’ll find an overview of online shops for Vorarlberg cheese specialities (Information in German)