According to my latest count, there are five food-serving farms along the path circling Ramsau’s children-friendly hill/mountain Rittisberg (excluding the Rittisstadl located on the very top and closed in October and the Au-Wirt, which stands sort of aside). Out of these five, three have a “premium” status, meaning that there are actual signposts pointing to them along the way. Ochsenalm is the most distant from Ramsau (though not as distant as the signposts may make you believe), and I wonder if it was the best choice for my yearly holiday’s final Brettljause.
All the pragmatism aside, I like it when restaurants at least claim that the ingredients for the Brettljause come from their own businesses. Ochsenalm does not make such a claim, and it’s easy to see why: there is not much space around Ochsenalm to house any kind of animals, oxen in particular. I saw a goat grazing right under the terrase where I was sitting, and there were quite a few chickens walking among the tables, but since I saw neither goats nor chickens in my Brettljause I could only assume that the ingredients came from somewhere else, where they most likely stayed in refrigerated areas and served in the multiples of 100 grams by specially trained ladies in supermarket uniforms. In that, the meats and the cheeses were just as authentic as the “Estragon-mustard” that was served with them in a small aluminium bag.
Authenticity issues aside, we are speaking of a rather good Brettljause here. It’s Speck-heavy: three types of Speck with distinct tastes and textures are always a welcome thing. Also present were a sort of a Wiener sausage (not exciting), some salty Hauswurst cut into tiny pieces and – best of all – some very tasty Verhackertes in a separate small plate, seasoned with onions. Out of the two cheese sorts, one was definitely a “Dachsteiner” from a local supermarket – not a bad choice considering that the Dachstein was just around the corner and the cheese actually had some strong(ish) taste – and the other one, cut into small cubes, had no taste at all and thus was instantly forgettable.
To give Ochsenalm credit, the Brettljause was quite nicely decorated: besides the above-mentioned onions, there were slices of egg, plenty of pickled cucumbers and Pfefferonis, some horseradish, butter for the bread and even an unidentified yellow flower (most likely inedible). Sadly, the bread consisted of one not-very-fresh slice and had to really be rationed, especially since Verhackertes is all but impossible to eat without bread.
There is really nothing to hate about the Ochsenalm’s Brettljause: as a straight out-of-a-supermarket offering it was actually a very competent one. On the other hand, one could have hoped for more. Well, maybe it was just a wrong choice of a farm.