Recently, the Concierge was in Sesto in val Pusteria to meet with his web designer. They wanted to talk about ideas for an upcoming redesign of the hotel’s website and decided to do so over lunch.
Their meeting was to take place in a mountain lodge in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Three Peaks Nature Park.
We arrived at the parking lot of the Talschlusshütte which is about 2 km from the lodge. The Concierge’s web designer and friend promised him a (not quite serious) pickup in a horse-drawn carriage, which to no one's surprise, never arrived. Instead of this we enjoyed a short walk of 20 to 30 minutes.
On a sunny day the snowy mountain peaks of the Dolomites look particularly impressive. Walking in the brisk air, combined with the sight of the midday sun hitting the mountain peaks and crests is a unique experience. In these conditions even the longest of hikes would feel no more exhausting than a pleasant stroll.
Arriving at the lodge, the Concierge had worked up a hunger, but for now he had to wait. The lodge can only accommodate a limited number of guests, so after he and his group were checked for their reservation and their green passes, they were asked to wait outside. It was a bit chilly despite the sunshine, but no problem: warm blankets and hot tea were immediately provided by the lodge. Instead of the tea, the Concierge went for a cup of steaming hot mulled wine.
“SPARER!” rang out the voice of Frau Maria, who was in charge of our table. We sat in a traditional Tyrolean Stube, with a tiled stove on which masked teddy bears sat.
To give strength to all the hikers, climbers and other winter sports enthusiasts, the lodge serves typical Tyrolean specialties.
A glass of white wine was already waiting for us at our table together with the Web designer. We opted for a horseradish cream soup, followed by a risotto; while the Concierge’s web designer chose potato mezzelune with a chive butter and game filling. The Concierge had a parsley risotto with Brise, and for seconds, calf cheeks with a Lagrein sauce, served with potato mash and celery root. For dessert we enjoyed créme brulée with raspberry ice cream.
While sitting at our table in the corner, the Concierge noticed that from time to time people would walk into the kitchen or open the door to greet the chef working inside. He couldn’t help but wonder who this widely popular chef must be. They all seemed to know him and his family quite well. One of them even turned to the chef with a request: “Hanspeter, please give my regards to your son!"
Something similar played out with a lady, who briefly peeked through the doors and told Hanspeter: “Thank you for the delicious Schlutzkrapfen! If you hear your son, tell him I said hello!”
Another guest said something along the lines of: “Hanspeter! Tomorrow morning we’ll all be glued to the TV!”
Now what could he have meant by that, the Concierge wondered. What could there possibly be on Television, that all inhabitants of the small Fischlein valley would watch TV for?
Without being able to solve this riddle, the Concierge’s attention was drawn back to the matter at hand, his website. A few final details later and Frau Maria brought the bill, but not before insisting on treating the Concierge to a gentian Schnapps at the bar counter.
At the counter, two postcards caught the Concierge’s eye. On both of them was an autographed photograph of Jannik Sinner, the Italian tennis player from San Candido, ranked number 10 in the ATP rankings.
Jannik Sinner is considered one of the best tennis players of his generation. Suddenly something had clicked in the Concierge’s head. Someone on a table close to his had even said that the Sinner family sure knows how to get great at something. Until this point the Concierge hadn’t been able to connect the dots between the chef and everybody wishing his son well, but then suddenly everything made sense.
An incredible chef and a world star tennis player as his son. Only one thing left to say: Game, set and match SINNER! How will tomorrow’s match at the Australian open end? In any case, we’ll too be sitting in front of the television to root for Sinner!