CRISPY OR SOFT? Salty or sweet? Plain or bedazzled? However you like your baked goods, a trip to South Tyrol is not complete without indulging in the heavenly goodness kneaded and rolled within its bakeries. South Tyroleans are masters at crafting fields of wheat, barley and rye into enticing creations of pure culinary magic.
Swing into a village “backerei” (bakery) or stroll through one of the many daily food markets dotting the land and you’ll discover ample opportunities to sample South Tyrol’s baked specialties. But if you really want to appreciate the region’s centuries-old baking traditions, the South Tyrolean Bread & Strudel Market in Brixen (Bressanone) is a must-attend festival.
This delicious autumn celebration takes place the first weekend of each October in one of the most picturesque squares in South Tyrol — the Piazza del Duomo. There’s nothing quite like being able to touch, smell and taste countless baked goods while wandering amid splendid antiquity.
Delight Yourself in Brixen
Brixen is a natural choice to show off the oven-tending talents of South Tyroleans. This ancient town reigns as the cultural heart of the Valle Iscarco (Eisacktal Valley). And it is also home to one of its most endearing culinary traditions: Törggelen.
With more than 1,000 years of history echoing over its cobblestones, Brixen is the oldest town in South Tyrol. The golden-towered Cathedral of Brixen soars over the square offering a jaw-dropping backdrop for bakers and festival revelers alike.
Upon entering the piazza you could simply bask happily in the wood-fired bread aromas billowing into the sky. But the real joy comes when you succumb to the sweet temptations all around you.
The South Tyrolean Bread & Strudel Market hosts 18 baked goods stands throughout the square. These inviting displays showcase the special concoctions of bakers from rural mountain valleys throughout South Tyrol. You’ll encounter baked delights born from age-old family recipes only known to a few.
The best way to enjoy the market is to leisurely walk the square discovering the fanciful flavors of traditional South Tyrolean favorites such as schüttelbrot (a crispy flatbread made from rye), krapfen (a doughnut-like pastry), apfelstrudel (apple strudel), Pusterer breatl (a special loaf from Puster Valley), Vingschger paarl (rye rolls from Vinschgau valley) and much more.
We were astonished by the number of unique baked specialties originating from South Tyrol. In fact, a quick flip through the definitive cookbook of South Tyrol, Alpine Flavours, reveals more than 20 individual baked goods recipes from the region. If you have an interest in embarking on South Tyrolean culinary adventures in your own kitchen, we highly recommend adding this cookbook to your shelf.
In between bouts of nibbling, you can watch bakers demonstrate the various processes, techniques and artistry South Tyroleans use to make tasty bread and other baked goodness. And if your legs need a rest, consider catching a carriage ride from the square to take in the sights of Brixen.
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Quality Fresh from the Mountain to the Oven
South Tyroleans place a high value on quality. The region’s bread, baked goods and pasta are no exception.
The South Tyrolean Bread & Strudel Market presents a delectable introduction to the mouth-watering benefits of the South Tyrolean Seal of Quality. This coveted seal guarantees the use of natural ingredients, homemade sourdough and spices. To earn the seal bakers must not use any ready-made mixes, preservatives or flavor enhancers.
Today, 54 South Tyrolean farmers grown grain in the Venosta, Pusteria and Isarco valleys to meet the bread and baked goods needs of the region. An independent inspection bureau conducts regular checks to ensure compliance with the specified quality regulations.
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How to Attend the South Tyrolean Bread & Strudel Market
Getting to the South Tyrolean Bread & Strudel Market is as easy as buttering warm bread. Brixen is among the most walkable towns in South Tyrol.
If you are arriving by car, we suggest parking in the Parkplatz located just off of Via Dante (Dantestraße). A tunnel from the lot will lead you directly to the Piazza del Duomo. The walk is less than 5 minutes.
Visiting Brixen by public transportation is encouraged to support the festival’s green initiatives. For bus and train options and timetables, visit the festival’s arrival page.
The specific dates of the South Tyrolean Bread & Strudel Market each fall can be found at the official Valle Isarco website.
After attending the market, be sure to explore the historic treasures of Brixen. The town is a must-see for any fan of history, art and architecture. And if you’re also a fan of wine do not miss visiting the Neustift Monastery located just outside of Brixen. It is one of the oldest operating wineries in the world.