The next time I visit Ötztal and Sölden (and it’s funny to observe how the initial “maybes” and “whens” turn into definite “yeses”), I will strongly consider spending a couple of nights in Vent. On the map, it looks like a perfect destination for a day trip with a rented e-bike: a kind of a side valley that later splits into two side valleys. As it often happens, the reality is very different. Vent is probably reachable with a bicycle but not in a pleasant way, as the road my bus was taking was less than suitable for cycling. In fact, the bus driver swore at the careless cyclists more than once during the half an hour trip.
In addition, the two side valleys that stretch from Vent towards the Italian border are really long, featuring a steady ascent to about 3000 meters and some of the most impressive and intact glaciers I have ever seen. Vent itself (with its population of 133 people, according to Wikipedia) has more hotels than “normal” houses but otherwise creates an impression of an extremely remote and tranquil place. It is quite a difference compared to the mega-touristic Sölden (though I am starting to see the better parts of Sölden as well).
Having said that, of all the locations that Vent has to offer, Stablein Alm is probably the most obvious and touristic one. Located between two cable cars, it is a solid restaurant with an extensive and well-printed menu, having a particular emphasis on sweet stuff. It actually took me a while to discover a Brettljause in it, as it was hidden among the main dishes under the South Tyrolean name “Marende.”
As I am steadily gaining experience in the Brettljause traditions of Ötztal, I am happy to report that Stablein’s Marende fits the pattern of much more sophisticated Brettljausen than its Italian neighbor has to offer. The presence of soft cheese appears to be Ötztal’s distinguishing point, as well as a comparatively tender Kaminwurzn. In Stablein’s case, I was also surprised to find some really tender Speck, unusually arranged in the form of a ball. There were two other types of cheese present – one thickly and one thinly cut – but neither of them impressed me by a strong taste. What impressed me were a whole egg, cut in half, and a really tasty, most likely locally made butter.
I understand that visiting Stablein Alm was a bit of a cheat in retrospective. It was like spending one day in London and deciding to concentrate on observing the Big Ben. The outcome was quite pleasant, however, and it is also always nice to discover places one can happily go back to.