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There's no better time than winter to visit the high altitude restaurants of picturesque northern Italy -surrounded by a white capped mountains, just a stone's throw from the ski slopes or hiking trails or housed within luxurious SPA hotels, afterall we're not all adrenalin junkies, where the stars descend and light up these Michelin rated restaurants.
These are the places with pedigree that will bring as much pleasure as a satisfying day on the slopes (or at the spa) whether in the picture perfect Dolomites, Valle d'Aosta or the Lombardy Alps.
Here are the michelin rated restaurants in the Italian mountains:
1. ZUR ROSE - SAN MICHELE (BOLZANO)
Bolzano is one of the finest gastronomic regions in Italy, with reason - local chefs are dedicated to creating strong networks between producers as well as each, supported by strong tourism in the area.
Chef Herbert Hintner is a prime example, who has held a star at Zur Rose since 1995, always holding in the opportunity to teach and train new generations of South Tyrolean chefs in high regard. He believes in the "the preservation of traditional cuisine" and"social responsibility" that he interprets in his dishes such as calf's head soup with celery ravioli or cottage cheese dumplings with wild garlic sauce.
2. LA CLUSAZ - GIGNOD (AOSTA)
Located in the charming valley of the Great St. Bernard Pass, you will find La Clusaz at 1200m altitude: an establishment that values the cuisine of the Aosta Valley by rediscovering traditional recipes and forgotten products such as Tartiflette (potato soup, bacon and fontina cheese) or Carbonada ( slices of beef marinated and cooked in red wine) along with cheeses and cured meats.
3. LA STUA DE MICHIL - CORVARA (BOLZANO)
Chef Nicola Laera makes this the the most romantic and enchanting mountain restaurants in Italy. She brings her Ladin-Apulian origins and youth to the kitchen that has successfully established itself as one of the strongest as well as one of the most innovative in the South Tyrol.
4. LOCANDA MARGON - RAVINA (TRENTO)
Alfio Ghezzi is one of the great names of Italian cuisine, whose style is a synthesis of "formal rigor, precision and creativity." Try the "Suggestion Bubbles", where seven courses are combined with five labels of Ferrari, the TrentoDoc sparkling wine from the Lunelli family.
5. LA SIRIOLA - SAN CASSIANO (BOLZANO)
Matthew Metullio obtained a Michelin star while only in his mid twenties where the territory, of course, remains at the center of the 5 tasting courses (pine, larch, birch, Stone Pine and Spruce) that enhances the mountain and its products.
6. TIVOLI - CORTINA D'AMPEZZO (BOLZANO)
Not only a glamorous ski destination: Cortina can make a gourmet stop stop at Tivoli, a Michelin star on the road to Passo Falzarego. The menu stars local products, such as beans of Lamon, mushrooms of Cadore and Alpago lamb.
7. ST. HUBERTUS - SAN CASSIANO (BOLZANO)
It's imporrisble to speak about high end dining in the Italian mountains without mentioning two Michelin starred St. Hubertus, the hotel restaurant at Rosa Alpina under chef Norbert Niederkofler.
A keen protagonaist of events in the Dolomites as well as promoting collaborations between chefs and producers in order to enhance South Tyrolean cuisine.
8. UMAMI - BORMIO (SONDRIO)
Head to Bormio and you'll find the cuisine of chef Antonio Borruso, "on loan" to the mountains from his native city of Naples. Expect to find strong evidence of his Mediterranean roots in dishes such as reinterpreted Neapolitan sauce or Neapolitan pastries.
9. LAITE - SAPPADA (BELLUNO)
Fabrizia moved to Sappada for his love of Roberto and, together, they opened their first restaurant. While she manages the kitchen, he runs the wine cellar, and together, in amidst a beautiful love story, they have won a Michelin star.
10. CASTEL FRAGSBURG - MERANO (BOLZANO)
This former hunting lodge, surrounded by orchards and vineyards in Merano, became a rare beauty in the Relais & Châteaux portfolio. A unique, starred restaurant completes the enchantment.
11. MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO (TRENTO) DOLOMIEU
Originally hailing from the coastal town of Rimini, chef Enrico Croatti has achieved a Michelin star at Dolomieu thanks to his light cuisine with strong visual impact, which invests in and explores the mountain by a full 360 degrees. A perfect demonstration that Trentino Alto Adige may be remote, but it's open to the inspirations and the contributions - both food and non from the outside in the beautiful boutique hotel suites.