Autumn is the time for törggelen but, first and foremost, we need to clear something up… What the heck is törggelen?!?
Regrettably, there is no English translation for this that I can find, but in my opinion, there should be! So for the purposes of this blog, we won’t change the word, or try to find an equivalent, because there really is nothing to compare it to… so what is it? It is a very old South Tyrolean tradition of people gathering in autumn to enjoy roasted chestnuts, new wine, and delicious food. A feast! So dig in, let’s eat!
What is Törggelen all about?
The tradition of törggelen dates back centuries in South Tyrol, coming from the Latin word ‘torquere’, meaning to wind, press, and turn – referring to wine making. Back in the day, following the grape harvest, people would go strolling through the autumn fields and farms, from winegrower to winegrower, to sample the new wines. Usually the wine was accompanied by local specialities like chestnuts, bacon, sausages, etc. Basically: eat, drink, and be merry!
Much like any long-running tradition it evolved and changed with time. These days you don’t necessarily need to go on a hike beforehand, but it does help build up some hunger.
Törggelen takes place from October to mid-November. Although it is originally a South Tyrolean tradition, it’s become fairly commonplace here in main Tyrol too. There is no need to travel a great distance to try it out, as there are great places to enjoy such a feast right here in Innsbruck!
The Törggelen Feast at Bierstindl in Innsbruck
Sure, you could head down to South Tyrol to check out törggelen, but why make the trek when you can experience this phenomenon right in Innsbruck? I could have enjoyed a lovely mountain hike to eat in a rustic hut; I could have travelled outside the city; but my friends and I chose to enjoy the feast at the Bierstindl, at the foot of Bergisel (the ski jump) in Innsbruck.
Dinner and a Stroll
With so many places to choose from, the deciding factor for us was the menu! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a törggelen menu more appetizing than the one at Bierstindl, and there was also the additional perks of being within walking distance from the city centre, and combinable with a lovely (not too difficult) hike up to Bergisel beforehand to build up an appetite before the feast.
If you need more persuasion to explore out the Bergisel park, just check out the blog I wrote a little while ago, which I hope will convince you. Take a hike up before eating to build your appetite, then walk off the feast with a stroll back into town afterwards, marveling at the Stift Wilten and other lovely sights on the way back to the old town.
The Törgellen Menu: Over the Top Good Food!
The menu spanned five courses, and by the end we were all busting at the seams. The appetisers started with three spreads to put over dark bread, moved on to pumpkin soup, and then into schlutzkrapfen (which are pretty much an Austrian/Tyrolean take on ravioli).
The main course was a gulasch made with hunted deer meat, and desert was a delicious dark beer mousse. Some of my friends opted to have roasted chestnuts at the end, but I just didn’t have any more room in my stomach. We tried several wines throughout the night – Bierstindl has an excellent selection to choose from. It was the perfect feast with a traditional Gasthaus feel.
Autumn in Tyrol simply demands diving into the rich traditions of the area, and törggelen is sure to make it onto the list of yearly must-dos! Trust me, you won’t regret it!
All Photos: @Laura Wunsch