Zillertal in Tyrol is replete with hiking trails, traditional huts, and toffee-brown cows who wander the craggy, flower-carpeted meadows under gaping blue skies. Herbs grow everywhere, and the spring water is the freshest in the world. All of Austria has ravishing terrain — what sets Zillertal apart is its healthy cuisine, which exploits the marvelous local ingredients, including organic herbs, highly esteemed Tuxer cattle, and the finest dairy products in the world. And there’s always locally brewed beer, mouth-watering speck (a juniper-flavoured ham from Tyrol), and tangy local chutneys, too.
The dairy products of the Zillertal must come first in any account of the region’s fine edibles. The grassy hillsides where the Tuxer cows graze are overflowing with veronica, heath milkwort, lady’s mantle, and yarrow – essential components of “Zillertal-flavoured” milk, also called hay-milk.
In his ‘Hidden Austria’ series, Matt Carroll discovered how exquisite Zillertal’s hay-milk can be. In fact, the milk in this region is so good, they even recommend that you bathe in the stuff. We’re not sure on the science behind it, but why not give it a try?
The beef comes from traditional Zillertal Tuxer cattle, renowned for their succulent marbling. But it’s not the steaks alone: the valley is dotted with family-run butcher shops such as Metzgerei Gasser in Mayrhofen, where the scent of smoked pork hangs in the air courtesy of the prime cuts hanging from nearby hooks. Next to the strings of seasoned sausages, you’ll also find cheese, honey, bread, even schnapps – everything you need for a gourmet picnic to take with you when exploring the valley.
Around 30 percent of the Zillertal is marked as conservation area – that’s nearly 1,000 km of hiking routes. Why not discover the latest – and coolest – outdoor trend sport that’s also found its way to the Zillertal. ‘Geocaching’ involves using a GPS to find hidden surprises in the most unlikely of places. Search mountain summits, forests, old huts, mills, and chapels for that elusive gastronomic find.
Find your best holiday offer for hiking and relishing in Zillertal.
Read more about the Zillertal: www.austria.info/uk/treasures/zillertal