A culinary e-bike tour of Altenmarkt’s three local mountains
Those in Altenmarkt have really come up with a great idea. A three-course menu of the very finest. Okay, admittedly, that’s nothing new. From the guest house around the corner to the gourmet restaurant. What’s different is the idea of enjoying each individual course on a different local mountain in Altenmarkt. How’s that? Quite simply: on an e-bike.
The starter. On the Schlatterberg.
After a short introduction to the use of the powerful e-bike, I start my pleasure tour right in the centre of Altenmarkt. The trail heading up to my starter leads past the sports ground. Uphill of course. Over lush, green meadows and idyllically located farms I quickly leave the centre of the resort behind me. Pedal for pedal heading up towards the Winterbauer, a mountain guest house, which thrones majestically above Altenmarkt and enjoys a regal reputation. Quicker than I thought – thanks to the e-bike – I reach my destination. Up here a spectacular all-round view over Altenmarkt and the Pongau mountains as far as the Dachstein range and a starter of the very finest awaits. The wild mushroom tartar with poached eggs on a marinated superfood salad is almost too beautiful to eat. Yet, that really would be a shame. As it tastes just a good as it looks. It’s a treat for the senses.
Almost a bit sad, but with the firm intention “I’ll be back“, I jump back into the saddle and head off towards the main course. This is waiting for me over at the Schwemmberg. In no time I’ve reached the Enns river. I ponder for a minute. Left or right? After a short spell of orientation loss, I’m saved by two young heroes on bikes. “Where do you want to go?”, they ask in a friendly tone. “To theJausenstation Habersatt. Do you know it?“ Of course they know it, after all the two twelve-year olds are from the area. Proud to be able to show me their home, they accompany me alongside the Enns river to the turn-off to the Habersatt Holiday Farm. We chat for a while, they introduce themselves as Niklas and René from Radstadt. The two young cavaliers are helpful, charming, and show understanding for my lack of orientation. “You’re allowed to switch off on holiday“, says René. He puts a smile on my face. How right he is. How difficult switching off can sometimes be. Yet here, I find it playfully easy.
The main course. On the Schwemmberg.
The geologically interesting Schwemmberg stretches from Eben to Mandling. Now it’s time to pedal like mad, as it’s steep uphill here. Pedalling past mountain farms, I come across busy farmers bringing in their hay. The scent of fresh-mown hay. Summer in concentrated form. The more intensive I breathe in this scent, the easier it is to change down a gear. On the bike and within myself too. I arrive and feel welcome.
Martin Steffner, the owner of the Habersattgut, leans relaxed on his terrace railing, enjoying the sunshine and looking into the distance. The secluded farm looks just like a huge, sunny balcony. Here a lounger, there a couple reading, children playing playfully. You can just feel the deep satisfaction, a wealth of harmony oozing from this spot. Maybe it’s just the life in harmony with nature. Cows, pigs, sheep, bees and horses all seem to have a great home here. Most of what lands on the plate, comes from the Steffners‘ own farm. Such as the fresh-caught herb alpine trout, which I’m served as a main course with a view. You can taste that fact that quality has a high standing here. Martin Steffner agrees: “Even though the farm is a lot of work, we love the life up here. It’s lovely to be able to offer our own produce, and it’s even better and it’s satisfying when you see the guests’ enthusiasm.” Up here you can just smell the good life and satisfaction. Has he a tip? He contemplates only very briefly: “Savour the landscape. The journey is the destination!“. That’s my cue, as over at the Ameisenberg, on the other side of Altenmarkt, my dessert is waiting for me.
The dessert. On the Ameisenberg.
Home-made Kaiserschmarren (chopped pancake dish) with mountain cranberries. Well, the ride is well worth it. I almost fly down, through the centre of Altenmarkt, past the Local Museum and the historic Dechanthof towards Zauchensee. I hardly turn off again – heading up towards the Berggasthof Bliembauer – the peace and quiet is back again. Now and again a light, joyous tinkling of a cowbell, the chirping of crickets, that’s all. Apart from my own breath, that is. Then finally – happy laughter and chatting noises welcome me at my last stop on this impressive culinary tour. A colourful mixed group, which has walked the Salzburger Almenweg is making a refreshment stop at the Bliembauer Farm. The crowd marvels and murmurs, when Bartl Ackerl the owner, serves me his legendary Kaiserschmarren. A dish, that looks like a mountain with snow-covered peaks. The aroma: pure sweet temptation. The hiking group can’t remain seated. Curious they marvel at this fluffy work of art. And of course, I let them taste. “I’m going to order that for dinner tonight!“, I hear more than once. I understand. Totally. As no-one can surely resist this Kaiserschmarren.
Full, happy and satisfied I pedal my way homewards. Filled to the brim with impressions for all my senses, inspiring encounters, exciting chats and unique natural experiences I now know: that’s what biking tastes like!
Photo credits: Renate Sallaberger, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee Tourismus