Rote Wand vo:dô – products from the region
To get the best, you only need to go out on your doorstep.
„fürs Bescht vo dô muasch bloß vor d’Huustür go“
This seems to be a cliché at first glance, but for us in the Tannberg region, it is one thing above all – a truth. We really do only have to go out on our doorstep to get the best quality of everything – something that shapes our regional food culture. As a gourmet hotel in the Arlberg region, we spoil our guests’ taste buds from the first day of their stay to their last with the best ingredients our region has to offer. This is where the idea of Rote Wand’s vo:dô in-house production came from. Our range of products has since grown continuously over the years, something we are all very proud of. Responsible for the entire vo:dô production is our long-standing sous-chef Christopher van den Abeelen, who is as passionate about regional specialities as Walchs themselves. Incidentally: All Rote Wand vo:dô products are available in our new shop!
Christopher, tell us something about yourself!
I’m 28 years old, born in Munich, but I have been living in this beautiful country for nine years now. Apart from my love for my car, including driving and washing it, I also like mountain biking, which helps me to clear my head. I completed my cooking apprenticeship in Munich at the Westin Grand Hotel under the watchful eyes of my parents, who are also trained chefs. I started at the Rote Wand Chef’s Table almost five years ago. I then worked for three years as a sous chef in the hotel kitchen and am now responsible for Rote Wand’s in-house production and milk processing, as well as looking after the vegetables and herbs.
Since this summer, you have been responsible for Rote Wand’s in-house production, or as we call it – the “gourmet in a glass”.
Yes. vo:dô production has been running for several years. Most people will be familiar with our granola and home-made jam. Since we are all convinced of the philosophy and quality behind them, we have decided to expand the range of the Rote Wand’s own vo:dô brand. In the new Rote Wand Shop, we now have the opportunity to present our fine range of products, which are marked with our own logo.
The gourmet in a glass, which contains the best ingredients from the region, aims to remind our guests of us in culinary terms even after their vacation. Of course, we also offer many of our home-made products in both the hotel restaurant and the A la Carte Restaurant. The home-made butter and yoghurt with milk from the Zug dairy farmers, for example, are available at breakfast every morning.
How important for you is a good relationship with regional suppliers?
Quality needs good, personal cooperation with regional partners. It’s a constant give and take, but, above all, it’s mutual appreciation that makes home-grown products so valuable. I am in direct contact with our producers, day in, day out. The direct channels and straightforward cooperation make the collaboration much easier. For example, we receive fresh milk from the Zug farmer every second day. If it’s urgent, I grab my bike and cycle over quickly.
Would you say you can taste the vo:dô quality?
Yes, let’s take silo-free hay milk as an example. It’s the most original milk you can get. Made from cows that only eat fresh grass with many nourishing herbs over the Alpine summer and mainly hay in winter. You can just taste it. However, there is much more behind regional delights than just the taste itself. Let’s stay with the example of hay milk. With traditional 3-step agriculture, which our farmers in Lech practise, they not only preserve an essential part of our traditional food culture, but they also act as guardians for our unique Alps and mountain meadows, or us, for our guests and for our future. All this together means regional delight for me.
What do you like about your new position?
The variety. First, we think about what dishes our guests would like to take home with them. Once the dishes are defined, it’s all about cooking, tasting, refining… until everyone in the Rote Wand is happy. Some of the dishes find their way to Mr and Ms Walch’s office, since their opinion is, of course, very important to me. For this, we need high-quality ingredients, which I get from our partners. Here, I learn something new almost every day. Only recently, by chance, I came across a farmer who managed to grow rice in Austria! The rice is perfect for our rice meat. I get the vegetables from the Vetterhof organic farm in Vorarlberg. I have a close relationship with them and I work their vegetables into our dishes. In addition to purchasing goods, I plant new herbs in the raised flowerbed, plant potatoes and grow my own lettuce. Milk then comes in the evenings. Depending on requirements, we turn it directly into yoghurt or separate the cream from the milk for making butter. And who knows, maybe the Rote Wand will soon have cheese too – like in the old days. (laughs)
Which vo:dô products would you recommend to our guests?
My absolute favourite is the Rote Wand apple bread! We have been using the same recipe for years because it has simply proven itself again and again. Ideal for baking at home. Grate four fresh apples to the mixture in the glass, mix and bake. Enjoy with cheese and a glass of wine in the evening or with some butter for breakfast. Then there is definitely our chocolate fondue. Simply made with chocolate, cream and rum. The legendary Rote Wand chocolate fondue gets its very special touch from fresh fruit. You simply have to try the beef goulash from Zug beef because only vo:dô beef tastes this good. The beef comes from farmer Elmar Schneider from the Waldhof in Zug, whose cows are fed exclusively fresh Lech Alpine grass with herbs in summer. Freshly prepared and finely seasoned for demanding palates – that’s what we call “gourmet in a glass”.