Dining in Italy: Pretzhof

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In Italy a distinction is made between ristoranti, more formal restaurants, and trattorie, more informal restaurants with rustic food like grandma used to prepare it. The Gambero Rosso guide awards 1, 2 or 3 forks (forchette) to the best restaurants, and 1, 2 or 3 shrimp (gamberi) to the best trattorias. There are only 18 trattorias with 3 gamberi in all of Italy, and Pretzhof is one of them.

Pretzhof is a farm in South Tyrol (Südtirol or Alto Adige), the German-speaking region of Italy, near the border with Austria. It is located at the end of a road in the Pfitschtal/Val di Vizze, near Sterzing/Vipiteno. The restaurant only has daily specials, because they turn whatever the season or farm offers into local dishes, based on Grandmother’s recipes.

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The dining room looks like what you would expect in Tyrol.

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The antipasti consist of a selection of cheeses made on the farm, both goat’s and cow’s milk..

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…as well as a selection of cold cuts made on the farm. The roast veal and veal carpaccio are amazing. Often these lack in flavor, but these are a revelation. There was also smoked and unsmoked prosciutto, as well as boiled and smoked ham and a dry sausage of pork and beef. The farro (wheat) that came with it was a nice accompaniment. These cold cuts were the star of the dinner and worth coming to Pretzhof for. 10/10

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We started out with an aperitif of a spumante from the region called Comitissa. Then we had a bottle of a delicious oaked local pinot noir, Trattmann Mazon from Girlan.

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There is no written menu, but today’s options are rattled off by the owner. It all sounds so great that it is difficult to choose. We decided to pick different dishes and share, in order to try as much as possible. One of the primi we chose was goulash soup, a lot of small pieces of beef in a flavorful broth. 8/10

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Gnocchetti, fresh pasta dumplings with local greens, stewed venison and a creamy sauce with just a hint of tomato. Delicious. 9/10

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Most grandmothers in Italy are most famous for their meatballs, polpette. And so I wanted to try them as one of the secondi. These were very flavorful as they included local greens, pork and beef, and were served with mashed potatoes with great potato flavor. 9/10

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The pork chops (1 regular and 1 small, from a suckling pig?) were tasty, but just a bit dry. You really had to eat the lean meat together with the fatty meat to make this work. 7/10

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Roast potatoes and a generous portion of cantharelle mushrooms on the side.

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With the desserts we had a glass of Rosenmuskateller, a red muscato that smells of roses.

Black currant semifreddo with slices of peach and apricot sauce. 9/10

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Krapfen are deep-fried ravioli filled with Nutella, nice and crispy. 9/10

This meal at Pretzhof was a great start of our trip to Italy. It is very obvious that the quality of the produce from the farm makes a huge difference and takes simple dishes to a whole new level. I’m rating the food 8.5/10, which is comparable to restaurants with 1 Michelin star. Even though the food at Pretzhof is rustic, it certainly is as delicious if not more delicious than what you get at a restaurant with 1 star.The check for two including drinks and coffee came to 162 euros, so not cheap but certainly value for money. The service is good and friendly, 8/10. For such a simple restaurant, they have a great wine list with a good selection of affordable bottles.

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8 thoughts on “Dining in Italy: Pretzhof

  1. Am totally jealous ’cause so love Südtirol both for its beautiful scenery and that ‘fusion food’ of Austria and NE Italy with a tad of Hungary thrown in! The meat cold cuts plate out of this world I have never had a veal carpaccio and would have loved to compare prosciutto ‘both ways’! That and the gnochetti would have made a memorable meal on their own for me ! *big smile* And ‘Krapfen’ yes, but perhaps not with Nutella!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are really having a feast there. My Italian adventure has been Eatmosfera. I’ve been back to that restaurant three times already. I expect to go back another two times before I leave Amsterdam on Thursday. Thank you for introducing me to a bit of “your” Italy.

    Liked by 1 person

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