When Norbert Niederkofler, Executive Chef of three Michelin-starred restaurant St. Hubertus initiated Cook The Mountain, he had a clear project of offering pure gastronomic cuisine that is strongly rooted to the territory using the local and seasonal resources it offers. Precarious perhaps for the philosophy that seems so limiting to a starred restaurant but instead, he received a third star in 2018, was included in the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and most recently, awarded with a new distinction by the Michelin guide – a Green Star which highlights restaurants that practice ethical and environmental standards, and work with a solid network of sustainable producers.
In 2018, he found the perfect home for his gastronomic philosophy: high up on the Italian alps at 2,275 meters asl. What used to be an old cable car station on the summit of Kronplatz or Plan de Corones in the Dolomite mountains became the refuge of the three-star chef for his Cook the Mountain philosophy in a more relaxed ambience and execution as opposed to the haute cuisine of St. Hubertus. It’s name is AlpiNN Food Space and Restaurant.
AlpiNN is located inside a spectacular all-glass structure on stilts sharing the space with Lumen Museum which overlooks the Dolomite mountain ranges and valley below. It gives the impression of hanging on the edge of the mountain. It was designed by Martino Gamper, a local designer of international fame, who conceptualized it as a welcoming living room, a convivial place where you can admire the panorama of the Dolomite mountains and the Arhntal Valley below where he combined innovation with naturalness of the mountains. The whole 330 square meter ceiling is painted by hand using a Japanese technique that does not pollute the water on Moessmer natural fabrics while the tables are done of solid maple wood. To get there, you will need to do a 4-5 hour walk (with starting points from San Vigilio di Marebbe, Olang, or Reischach) or take one of the cable cars (Passo Furcia or Riscone at €25 roundtrip in summer) to reach the plateau.
AlpiNN is a gastronomic project created by Norbert Niederkofler and his business partner Paolo Ferretti. Here he uses genuine raw materials that the mountains provide, very seasonal and proudly local. The producers of the area belong to their researched network of trusted small entities that favor biodiversity, sustainability in their methods and environmental protection. This way, there is also a solid support of the local economy. The kitchen then transforms these raw materials to exceptional dishes that highlight the quality and taste of their production. AlpiNN is a laid-back translation of a multi-starred creative mind with a mindful environmental soul. It has a culinary approach in which ancient tradition and contemporary methodology coexist in full respect of nature.
The role of Executive Chef of AlpiNN is entrusted to Fabio Curreli, who for various years has worked as a Chef de Partie in renowned Australian restaurants, and with Heinz Beck at three Michelin-starred La Pergola in Rome and Odyssey Restaurant in Montecarlo as Chef de Partie.
On the menu you will find dishes that explicitly recount the excellence of the mountain through your palate. The presentation is simple and straightforward. Appetizers are between €16 to €21, first dishes of pasta or warm cereals are between €18 to €21, main dishes of fish, meat or vegetables between €21 to €32, and desserts between €8 to €12. There are two tasting menus available, one created by Fabio Curreli, at €68 for six courses including amuse bouche; and the other one, the Cook the Mountain Classics by Norbert Niederkofler at €85 for 5 courses. Among these, there is Niederkofler’s classic, Once Upon a Time There was a Trout and Spaghettone Monograno Felicetti with Lake Sardines from Monte Isola, Burnt Buckwheat and Cabbage Leaves Powder by Curreli. For the kids, they also have four simple dishes of pasta, veal or chicken between €7 to €15.