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Nature is his best pantry

By Lavazza Team 2/3 minutes

Nature, its care, the rhythm marked by the seasons in the Dolomites: these are some of the main ingredients in the cuisine of Norbert Niederkofler, the chef from Alto Adige who has chosen to combine his own sophisticated menus with the authenticity of Lavazza coffee. 

His deep connection with the environment stems from his early childhood. Exploring and understanding the natural cycle of things is what motivated the chef on a journey around the world, bringing him to Munich. Here, he worked alongside his mentor, Eckart Witzigmann, from whom he learned how the “nature” element contributes to haute cuisine

Being so far away from the places he loved led him to reflect on how to give the right value to the raw materials on the hobs. It was time to return home, to his mountains, in Alta Badia. It was 1994 when the chef set his course towards an ever more ethical cuisine, commencing with Hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano, Badia (BZ), where he transformed an old pizzeria into a sophisticated restaurant inspired by Italian and Austrian tradition. Thus was born St. Hubertus, with which the chef earned three Michelin stars in 2017. 

A cuisine characterised by respect for the environment

In the meantime, he developed his philosophy, which he calls “Cook the Mountain”: a cuisine that is based on a profound respect for the cycles of nature, for the environment’s delicate balance and that of its inhabitants, and for the reduction of waste as much as possible. Different dishes, the same story: the mountain, Alto Adige tradition, the perfect union of the principles of ethical cuisine that are capable of creating human bonds on various levels, from the producers to the territory and the guests. 

“Not just dishes but unforgettable human experiences”, is how the Michelin guide defines the cuisine of chef Norbert Niederkofler, in which human value meets respect for nature, at a rhythm dictated by the seasons. This is what motivates a clientele accustomed to the best of international haute cuisine to venture out to Alto Adige: dishes that have the taste of the highest peaks and a unique way of offering guests something that is impossible to find elsewhere.  

Niederkofler ristorante

Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler

Every dish is exclusively prepared with genuine products of local origin. For example, over the years, the chef and his team have been using less and less olive oil, opting instead for the use of grape seed oil.

Niederkofler ricetta

Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler

But chef Niederkofler’s commitment to spreading an ethical food culture is not restricted to his hobs. In 2015, together with his friend Paolo Ferretti, he founded Mo-Food, an agri-food consultancy firm with the objective of creatively promoting, interpreting, and sustaining the art of mountain gastronomy. Certainly, one of the projects that best sums up this aim is Care’s – The Ethical Chef Days, an event that expresses the importance of an ethical approach both inside and outside of restaurant kitchens. Lavazza has been a partner to this demonstration since it first kicked off in 2016.

The Green Star and the three Michelin stars of chef Niederkofler

The “Cook the Mountain” philosophy has found a home in the new restaurant, opened in 2018: AlpiNN, a name that fully represents the personality of chef Norbert Niederkofler and what he wants to communicate through his creations.

AlpiNN ristorante

AlpiNN Food Space & Restaurants

Situated at 2,275 MASL, AlpiNN is engulfed in the beauty of the surrounding Puster Valley and the Val di Marebbe. Here, in this breathtaking scenery, an affordable menu is offered which constitutes the passport to an unforgettable high-altitude experience, made up of the authentic flavours of mountain cuisine. The chef’s ethical work was rewarded in 2020 with his first Green Michelin Star, a recognition given by the Guide to restaurants which promote sustainable cuisine. It is not by chance that the coffee offered here is La Reserva de ¡Tierra! Brasile, a blend composed of 100% Arabica varieties of superior quality with a sophisticated taste and delicate roast, containing 30% sustainably grown coffee from Rainforest Alliance certified farms.

Niederkofler Cook the Mountain ricetta

Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler

It was on 26 June 2023, after the closure of the St. Hubertus restaurant, that Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler was established in Brunico (BZ) within the walls of the enchanting Villa Moessmer. Here, one could sample a menu composed of ingredients that would reduce food waste to a minimum, to give space to the increasingly broad evolution of the “Cook the Mountain” concept. And just four months after its opening, in November 2023, Norbert and his fantastic team (the ever-faithful St. Hubertus staff) regained the three Michelin stars, as well as the Green Star recognition.

The role of coffee on the Atelier Moessmer menu

From the first welcome entrée to the petit patisserie that accompanies the coffee, the menu at Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler tells the story of ingredients selected day by day, culminating in the Specialty Coffee Calima 1895 by Lavazza Coffee Designers and La Reserva de ¡Tierra! Brasile as the perfect conclusion. 

Niederkofler Atelier Moessmer

Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler

From the mountainous region of Cauca, in Colombia, the Specialty Coffee Calima 1895 by Lavazza Coffee Designers embodies all the energy released by its red fruits with notes of lychee and papaya, a perfect meeting of the chef’s cuisine and Lavazza coffee. At Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler, the end of the meal is a bona fide moment of “slow coffee”. The guests are accompanied to and accommodated in a dedicated room where the coffee is served by Chemex, a slow brewing process that uses an hourglass-shaped glass decanter and a thick paper filter, resulting in a cup of filter coffee with intense aromas.

If, on the other hand, you want to enjoy a good espresso at the end of your multisensory voyage at Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler, you can also opt for La Reserva de ¡Tierra! Brasile, with its elegant taste and aromatic notes of dark chocolate, hazelnut, and sugar cane. 

Atelier Moessmer caffè Lavazza

Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler

So, this continually evolving journey through the culinary arts of Chef Niederkofler is also accompanied by in-depth research on coffee, to perfect how it is paired with his dishes. The ritual of coffee and its various brewing methods, accompanied by a good biscuit made from mountain grain or a macaron with bone-marrow caramel, prolongs the unforgettable experience as a guest of Chef Norbert Niederkofler, the chef that looks upon Nature as the greatest pantry one could wish for.

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