Käsefest im Bozen

I am still in Italy, though the title of this post references another local language. After World War I, the border between Austria and Italy was redrawn and a bunch of Süd-Tirolers found themselves suddenly living in a new country. A century has nearly past and this area still has a strong Alpine flavor with German being the preferred local language.

40.273-ctmy43-batzen käse

I discovered this town, known as either Bozen or Bolzano, when I was living about an hour south in Trent/o. (All the towns up here have two names). For me, it felt like I had crossed the border, but there was none of the hassle of international travel and all the fun of experiencing a whole new culture.

I came back to Bozen in 2012 and on that visit happened upon the Batzen Brewery. I had two great meals here and was eager to return again. Unfortunately, I discovered in the past 3 years, their menu had undergone an overhaul with a distinct emphasis upon making it rather meaty, but there was a tagliere dei formaggi, or a cheese plate. Thank goodness all the local menus are bilingual or I’d be up a creek muttering only Gesundheit und Danke.

As for what cheeses were on this cutting board… I’m afraid I didn’t take careful notes! I wrongly assumed I could revisit their menu online, but it doesn’t seem to be posted, or it’s in German and I can’t find it. I do remember that the description noted that some of the cheeses were made with their own beer! And I can tell you that I liked everything I tried on it, with the exception of the ‘beer mustard’, a jelly-like spread that turned out to be dominated by horseradish, a flavor I can’t stand. I washed everything down with a radler, the German name for a shandy. This is beer mixed with lemonade, so called because cyclists (radlers) could down one and not worry about wobbling too much on their ride home.

My journey back to my lodgings was on foot, but I was happy to find that the brewery was willing to wrap up my leftover cheeses. There is no fridge in my room, but it’s thankfully cool outside thanks to a light rain, so I’m going to test Mother Nature’s cooler and hopefully I can further enjoy these cheeses at breakfast tomorrow. Auf weidersein!

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