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Sustainability and regionality at Gurgl Carat

Sustainable, tasty, authentic: This is how seriously Gurgl Carat's catering partners take regionality

Sustainability also plays a major and increasingly important role in the conference sector. Due to its location at 1900 m above sea level at the heart of the Ötztal mountains, Gurgl Carat Congress Center is aware of this responsibility and therefore relies on catering partners who take regional ideas seriously. We present three of these companies to you.


Published 06.12.2022

Restaurant See You: Tirolean cuisine reinterpreted

Obergurgl, sustainability, culinary

Culinary enjoyment with a view at See You restaurant. © See You

See You Restaurant is clearly visible on Gurgler Straße. The wooden building with its inviting window facade tempts you to take a look inside. It is so appealing with its bright and stylish atmosphere that it literally pulls you in. And once you are there, you might as well do a little tasting and sampling.

Maybe you should start with one of the alpine tapas, perhaps with the beet carpaccio? Ötztal salmon trout tartare and Obergurgl’s goat cheese au gratin also sound tempting. Or how about something hearty like braised beef cheeks?

Obergurgl, sustainability, culinary

Restaurant manager Denis Dronigke focuses on regionality. © See You

Most of the ingredients come from the region

Whatever you choose, most of the ingredients come from the region, but at most from a radius of 300 kilometers, as Denis Dronigke, gastronomic manager of See You, assures. The experienced restaurant manager wants the See You to be entirely CO2-neutral. Short delivery routes are an important part of this philosophy. The beef used comes from Leutaschtal, the beets come from Kematen and potatoes and other vegetables from nearby Mieming. These are all villages and areas in the vicinity of Ötztal.

Salmon trout and brook trout have an even shorter journey from the pond to your plate, as the fish thrive in Längenfeld, just 30 km away. In terms of delivery routes, they are only topped by the local goat cheese. It comes from Martin Grüner's cheese dairy in Obergurgl. In summer, guests can watch the goats graze through the restaurant's windows.

Where does Denis Dronigke get this awareness of sustainability paired with a passion for the regional? Having grown up in rural areas, he completed a cooking apprenticeship in Munich and then worked in toque-awarded restaurants, starred restaurants and as a private chef in France. He got to know and love Tirolean cuisine during his 14 years in managerial positions at Hotel Crystal in Obergurgl. The Tirolean character can also be found in the dishes served at See You in a modified and refined form. In accordance with the restaurant manager's philosophy of using not only the fine pieces, but the whole animal, there is also a marinated beef tongue on the menu.

In addition to the restaurant, bar and event rooms, See You offers event catering. It is often and gladly used by Gurgl Carat in order to spoil up to several hundred congress guests with regional specialties.

Sölsch: A tasty top-fermented beer brewed with Ötztal spring water

Obergurgl, sustainability, Sölsch, drink, bear, culinary

Florian Schmisl (left) and Simon Gstrein in the Bäckelar Brewery in Sölden © Stephanie Maria Lohmann

"For us, regionality means proximity to the product and closeness to production," Simon Gstrein states. The restaurant expert and beer sommelier opened Bäckelar Brewery in Sölden in 2020 - together with his cousin Florian Schmisl, a trained brewer and beverage technician. Since then, Ötztal valley has its own brand of beer called “Sölsch”, a tasty top-fermented beer brewed with spring water from the region.

In line with the aim of producing as little CO2 as possible, the other ingredients such as hops and malt also come from nearby, namely from Bavaria, and not – for example - from the more distant Mühlviertel region. It was precisely this basic idea of regionality that gave the two guys from Sölden the idea of producing their own beer.

“Ötztal is strongly influenced by tourism. We have seen that almost all other major tourist regions produce their own beer, have their own beer brand. That's why we decided to try it ourselves and set up the brewery," Simon Gstrein explains. A name for the “amber liquid” was quickly found since "Sölsch" is a combination of Sölden and the surname Schmisl.

Obergurgl, sustainability, Sölsch, drink, bear, culinary

Sölsch in its characteristic aluminum bottle. © Stephanie Maria Lohmann

Deeply rooted in Ötztal

The company name Bäckelar Brewery is also deeply rooted in the valley, as it is the family name’s epithet. Their great-grandfather was a baker, farmer - and smuggler, as Gstrein candidly explains. Because back then it was common practice to transport food and other goods on secret paths over Timmelsjoch, bypassing customs controls.

Today, of course, everything is done by the book. In this way, all the official requirements for brewing beer are met, and at the same time the two young entrepreneurs from upper Ötztal implement their own method: "We want to intervene as little as possible during the maturing process and do not use ultra-high heating. This allows our beer to mature naturally. That's something very special these days and really away from the mainstream," says Gstrein.

The result is a fruity, wholesome hop drink with an alcohol content of just 4.7%. This in turn sets the top-fermented Sölsch apart from the bottom-fermented Märzen beers that dominate the Austrian market and have an average alcohol content of 5%.

Sustainable bottles

Away from the mainstream is undoubtedly the striking black and white bottle in which the Sölsch beer is filled. It is made of aluminum, 86% of which can be recycled forever. It is therefore superior to glass, which can only be recycled three times.

With their sustainable brewing philosophy, the two guys from Sölden meet the taste of both guests and locals. As a result, Sölsch is in high demand - especially with German tourists. At the same time, supermarkets have become important sales channels. And it goes without saying that also guests at Gurgl Carat can enjoy this authentic Ötztal beer, for example at major events. Simon Gstrein and Florian Schmisl then set up a mobile bar with a tap and fill the Sölsch directly from the barrel into specially made glasses. Cheers!

Martin Scheiber: A Tirolean makes wine in Burgenland

Obergurgl, sustainability, drink, wine, culinary

Martin and Doris Scheiber. © Scheiber Wein & Gästehaus

When it comes to Tirolean viticulture, many people first think of South Tyrol. Yet vines have been thriving on the favorable slopes of North Tyrol for over 1000 years. Emperor Maximilian I was considered a particular patron of viticulture in this area. The patronage of His Highest Majesty may have contributed to the fact that North Tirol now has wines of excellent quality. However, production is not sufficient to fully cover demand.

This is exactly where Martin Scheiber comes into the picture. The son of the Scheiber host family, which is now the fourth generation to run Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl in Obergurgl, has always been interested in wine. This interest led him to Burgenland in 1998, where he met a winemaker with cultivation areas in Jois and Weiden on lake Neusiedlersee. It was a true twist of fate, as it soon turned out. After just a few weeks, the first vineyard was under lease and more were to be added. In 2000, the first Blaufränkisch came onto the market under the name of “Scheiber”.


Obergurgl, sustainability, drink, wine, culinary

The winery in Weiden am See. © Scheiber Wein & Gästehaus

Obergurgl, sustainability, drink, wine, culinary

Scheiber Wine – matured in Burgenland, inspired by the Ötztal Alps. © Steve Haider

Passion for wine pressing and hospitality

The winemaker from Ötztal initially only intended to supply his parents' hotel with his own wines, but his passion for wine production soon gained the upper hand. Martin and his wife Doris decided to move to Burgenland. They found an old winegrower's house in Weiden am See and converted it into a modern bed and breakfast, the SCHEIBER Wein & Gästehaus. Because in addition to wine pressing, hospitality is in their blood.

Today, the Scheibers produce not only the "Blaufränker" - as Martin Scheiber calls his favorite variety - but also several other grape varieties such as Welschriesling, Chardonnay or Zweigelt. Blaufränkisch - matured in wood, as a rosé or as a frizzante - is still the flagship of the entire production of around 20,000 liters a year. The majority goes to Tirol.

"My customers come from a wide range of industries, but mainly from the hotel/gastronomy business and I know them all personally," reports the winemaker. It goes without saying that Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl belongs to this select circle. Gurgl Carat is also supplied with first-class Scheiber Wines.

"Burgenland’s sun gives strength to my wines while the inspiration for them comes from the Ötztal Alps. You can taste it,” says the winemaker from Tirol, who has also held the office of viticultural chairman in Weiden am See since last summer.


Sigrid Neureiter

Sigrid Neureiter is both founder and owner of Dr. Neureiter PR Agency based in Vienna. Tirolean by heart and very committed to the MICE sector, Tirol as a conference region is a particular concern of Sigrid Neureiter. Together with her expert team and Gurgl Carat, she is responsible for editorial planning and implementation of the Carat.Blog. "Conferences held at Gurgl Carat stand for inspiration, foresight, tranquility in a truly incomparable ambience of the unique Alpine scenery. I am therefore very happy that I can contribute to bringing the advantages of Europe's highest conference center and its unique surroundings closer to customers."

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