Everyone visiting London for the first time will undoubtedly go to see the Big Ben. Likewise, any first-time visitor of Filzmoos will definitely head to the “Hofalmen” – a mountain pasture with two restaurants, called Unterhofalm and Oberhofalm (the former located, strangely, higher than the latter), and a small but very beautiful lake nearby. Almost everything in the village screams “Go to the Hofalmen:” there are dozens of signs pointing towards them, a special hiking bus, a cycling path, and so on and so forth. The difference is, while the Big Ben is, ultimately, a pointless non-attraction (unless you are very much excited about knowing the time), the Hofalmen, as I’ve realized today, are quite advanced in the culinary terms. And that’s in addition to them being located in a truly gorgeous place.
As you may very well attempt to go to the Hofalmen via the same route (the “Königinnen Runde,” or the Queens‘ round) as I did, here is my word of advice: if you want to have a Brettljause at the end of you journey, don’t order the “Almkäs Jause” (“cheese snack”) in either of the two huts on your way. There is a nice Austrian saying that cheese “closes the stomach,” and it’s totally true. I ate the “Almkäs Jause” around 12 p.m., and at 17:30 p.m. I was still unable to finish the Brettljause at Oberhofalm.
It did not help, of course, that the Brettljause was enormous. It has been a while since I’ve seen anything so varied and so big. It was also surprisingly complete: while some otherwise good Brettljausen miss essential ingredients like horseradish, mustard, a pickled cucumber or an egg, they were all preset in the Oberhofalm’s creation. Everything was just perfect.
You have probably seen the score already (and if not, please take a look now), so I am going to keep my job easy by simply listing all the ingredients of this fantastic monster. Schweinsbraten: two types – one is quite typical, the other tender and fatter. Speck: two types, one harder and saltier than the other, but both superb. Geselchtes and some fatty sausage (I keep calling it a “Wiener-like,” but I promise than one day I’ll find the proper name): good enough, but won’t win any competitions. Hauswurst: the normally hard sausage was actually quite tender in this case, making its skin stand out more prominently than it deserved. Grammelschmalz: very strange orange color, but very tasty. Cheese: three types: strong-tasting mountain cheese (Bergkäse), equally strong but somewhat industrially-tasting Dachsteiner and the weird “Graukäse,” or the “grey cheese.” Normally a Tyrolean specialty, I keep on encountering it again and again in the Filzmoos area. It has a distinct dark yellow color, no strong taste and the consistency of a sponge but if anything, it’s very authentic. You simply look around, see all those cows and wonder how the milk they produce could turn into something as weird as the Graukäse.
Basically, all my fears of Oberhofalm’s Brettljausen being a second thought considering the number of tourists visiting the place every day proved to be very wrong. It’s not only a good Brettljause, but one of the best ones around. As long as you are hungry enough.