In 1908 at the Hotel Holzner, a chef with character bows to the raw material. And he gets the first star
Stephan Zippl cooks alone tonight, sommelier Markus Schnitzer replies to my insistent questions about how
many chefs are operating in the kitchen, in addition to the executive … “Tonight he is without a brigade,
don’t ask me why: usually there are three of them, but tonight it goes like this “.
He will manage on his own, I tell myself, with hope and optimism, enjoying the intimate atmosphere of this elegant living room, a little removed from the other rooms of the hotel. “He’ll make it,” I told myself. And so it was. Of course, Stephan’s is a demanding presence and, without detracting from the second of him, he has broad
shoulders, he is a great soloist.
To the point of having transformed the Park Hotel Holzner into a top-notch gourmet destination, which he
is establishing himself as a destination “worth the trip”.
The 1908 kitchen (this is the name of the restaurant, in honor of the founding date of the beautiful hotel in
Soprabolzano / Oberbozen) is an extreme example of love for a unique place.
We are on the Renon plateau, a handful of kilometers from Bolzano, a cable car that connects the city to
the mountains. We are in the midst of the woods and forests so loved by Sigmund Freud, to whom a
romantic five-kilometer walk through fir and larch is also dedicated. The hotel of the Holzner family is in
pure Alpine Art Nouveau style and every detail recalls the times of luxury tourism ante litteram, that of the
early twentieth century, which reached the Renon from Austria and Germany to experience the
“sommerfrische”, or to spend at your days of aristocratic holidays are fresh from the South Tyrolean
Stephan Zippl’s cuisine, born in 1988, is light, delicately impregnable, in a certain sense it defies any
definition. At the first approach with paper, an almost obsessive presence of the raw material is perceived,
the true great teacher of Stephan’s kitchen line. Undisputed supremacy of matter, some would say. But
that’s not enough. His talent is the added value.
An unexpected discovery, which overwhelms expectations and disrupts the rules, starting with the Wagyucarpaccio, an intriguing opening dish, in which salami, peanuts, pheasant berry coexist joyfully (a shrub that is so called because it is loved by that type of bird), hay jus, Achilles tendon. To those who seem like a bizarre proposal, with bizarre combinations, I recommend a visit and a taste: you will not easily forget this dish. We then continue with the Raviolo, so simply presented on the menu, whose ingredients are chestnuts, wild blueberry, chanterelles, mugo pine
foam with rum and earth chestnuts.
You may wonder what the difference is between chestnuts and earth chestnuts: the first is the fruit of the tree, the second is a herb whose taste is reminiscent of that of chestnuts. And if you want to go further, it is worthwhile to go into the next dish, truly excellent: the veal tripe, coming from local farmers. It is cooked with long cooking together with potatoes, woodruff, fermented plum, brewer’s yeast, Japanese spring onion. Zippl’s greedy tour continues with a char, elderberry umami, moringa, barley, Japanese ginger, pak choi, blackberries. The sequence of desserts
belongs to a fantastic world, in which the lion’s share is interpreted by a Raspberry, yogurt, cucumber,
lemon thyme, violet, marshmallow: a touch of creative wisdom that, as in the other dishes on the menu,
takes into account of oriental suggestions combined with materials with a strong South Tyrolean identity.
Zippl’s cuisine shows a marked attention to organic productions, according to a logic of sustainability that
combines sensoriality and respect for the territory. And, as a sign of devotion to the beloved land
(“heimat”), the wine list is made up exclusively of South Tyrolean labels. A form certainly not inclusive of
our extraordinary national wine heritage, but certainly a choice in keeping with the distinctly territorial
proposal of Zippl’s culinary line.