It’s my second Brettljause in the Gastein area of the state of Salzburg, and I am starting to notice certain patterns (well, at the time of writing I have had three Brettljausen already, and can confirm that the patterns hold).
First, the influence of the South Tyrolean Marende is obvious – unless, of course, it was the South Tyroleans who took the Brettljause of Gastein and removed most of the ingredients, leaving only the essentials. The thickly-cut Speck, the hard sausage and the cheese are all here, though the cheese, while having some flavor, is not as strong as I would have liked. In addition to this “Marende minimum,” there is at least one extra type of cheese (unfortunately, not very different in taste), a meaty round Wiener-like sausage, some white creamy spread of an unknown origin and a tiny bowl filled with finely shredded Speck mixed with some herbs. Most of the stuff, according to the web site, comes from own production, though the round sausage surprised me somewhat by sporting an inedible pink artificial casing with some printed writing still visible on it.
Second, Gasteiners love to talk. It must be considered bad manners in Salzburg to serve a Brettljause and not to exchange a few sentences about the weather, where you are from, where you are going, as well as provide helpful tips of how to best reach the nearest village. Gastein being a tourist area, in many restaurants they easily switch to English the moment they hear your accent, or at least (like at Brandner Hochalm), start speaking a very understandable German.
Third, the dogs of Gastein are always hungry. The owner’s dog eyed my Brettljause the moment it was brought to my table, and kept on giving me that famous sad dog look until I offered it the skin of the Speck (the Speck of Salzburg appears to always have a skin that one must cut off). The look then changed to a jollier one, but the dog did not move away until my plate was empty; a bit of cheese, sausage and the Speck’s fat ended up in its stomach.
Apart from the satisfaction of making a dog happy, Brandner Hochalm is a great place if you look for something genuine and surrounded by beautiful nature while still within an hour walk from a cable car’s station. Its Brettljause may not be exceptional and the beer comes in bottles, but it is impossible not to leave absolutely satisfied.