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Saturday July 8, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

The Culinary Way of St Jacob opened this weekend around Ischgl in Austria. PlanetSKI goes on the trail of Michelin starred chefs high up in the Alps.

It seemed like a crazy idea 9 years ago.

Michelin starred chefs from around Europe would create a dish at an affordable price for mountain walkers.

The route chosen was an ancient pilgrim route in the Alps high above the ski resort of Ischgl. 

One is the Jamtal Hutte at the base of the Jamtal glacier in the distance and it's where I'm heading to.

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

Now wind forward almost a decade and not only are the hikers sampling gourmet food, foodies have become hikers as they walk up to try fancy food at a very affordable price.

This weekend the new menus were launched at 5 different mountain huts. 
  •  Jamtal Hutte
  •  Heidelberger Hutte
  • Ascher Hutte
  • Niederelbe Hutte
  • Friedrichshafener Hutte   
See here for the the routes to the huts.      

And the British chef, Simon Hulstone, is amoung those presenting a dish.

He owns and runs The Elephant in Torquay in Devon. 

But today he is in the Alps.

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

He is offering braised pig's cheek with celeriac & pancetta risotto with truffle. 

It is at the Jamtal Hutte and costs €15. 

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

"It is a simple dish with taste and that's what I think people want. I offer it at my restaurant in England but there people enjoy it with horseradish," he said to me as he served his contribution to the hungry hikers.

"It is fabulous to be up in the mountains and we have certainly lucked out with the weather. What a day!"

I was in no position to disagree.  

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria


On my weekend trip to Ischgl there are various other culinary events for the foodies in the resort - some are more over the top, or even out of the box, that others.  

Packed dinnerPacked dinner


Now if I was invited on to Room 101 Celebrity Chefs would be on my list - and here I am spending a weekend with a few!
Do check back later on PlanetSKI for a personal and, er, tongue-in-cheek look at the some of the absurdities and pretensions of the modern culinary world.Wink

So, what was in the box?

But back to the mountains and the Culinary Way of St Jacob.

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

Simon follows in the footsteps of British chefs, Russell Brown, Matt Tomkinson and Stephen Crane offering a dish for the event.  

When the culinary route first opened it was difficult to persuade the British chefs it was a worthwhile venture. 

But now word has gone round and they are queuing up to be involved. 

The other chefs this year from elsewhere in Europe include Konstantin Filippou from Austria, Frederic Morel from Germany, Dieter Koschina from Portugal and Jacob Jan Boerma from Holland.

A single dish from each of them is at the 5 huts but for the opening day of the weekend all are on offer in a single place - the Jamtal Hutte.

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

"This is now a major part of what we offer here in Ischgl in the summer and it has been a resounding success," said Andreas Steibl, the head of the tourist office to me. 

"We have seen our summer bookings up 35% in the past 5-years or so and this is one of the reasons people now come here to enjoy summer in our mountains." 

Andreas at altitudeAndreas at altitude

For me the hike up the valley from Galtur to the hut at 2,165m was part of a wonderful, wonderful day.

It took around 2-hours and we went through some truly spectacular mountain scenery.

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

We even saw a bit of snow:

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

One of the key aspects to hiking is to enjoy the scenery and what goes on around.  

And at the top nearer to the glacier - stunning!

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

For full details of the Culinary Way of St Jacob then see here.  

Would I do it again?  

You bet.  

Did I go back for seconds?  

What do you think? 

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria

And don't forget to check back next week for a personal look from James at the over-the-top fuss made about food - sometimes. Wink


And after a relaxing day of hiking and eating there was only one way for James to follow it:

James Cove steps into heavenJames Cove steps into heaven

Check out the full report

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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