Festive spirits

The drinks that ignite winter

Winter in Trentino is a special season that ignites the senses and distils the joy of life. The illuminated landscape is transformed into a nativity scene. The snow magnifies the mountains. The sky turns such an intense, bright blue that the cold ceases to be something to fear, and pulls you outside. Even when darkness falls, the sky is filled with stars, and fires are lit for the festive feasts.

After all, in Trentino the winter holidays are even longer. Delicious scents fill the Christmas markets, and places to eat and drink bring people together and build new friendships.

Trentino grappa needs no introduction, although it continues to renew itself over time in search of new infusions for ever more sophisticated recipes. And what about those mountain herb bitters! The repertoire that Trentino has to offer during the festivities is truly rich. Learn about what you will find during your winter stay in the mountains and villages of Trentino. Spirits to be enjoyed warm, and also a treat when tasted at their source

Vin brulé | © Archivio Trentino Mktg

Vin brulé, a mountain recipe

Vin brulé is the undisputed and timeless Christmas drink of our mountains – who among us has never drunk it at one Christmas market stall or another? Needless to say, the ancient Romans, Hippocrates in particular, already had the idea of spicing wine with cinnamon to give the “nectar of the gods” cleansing properties. Even to this day, this burnt wine is considered an effective remedy against seasonal colds.

To make an excellent brulé, you need to start with a good, fragrant, full-bodied wine: a red like a Pinot Noir, or a white like a Müller-Thurgau. Then, add cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, star anise, orange and/or lemon peel, and sugar or honey to taste.

You can make the recipe your own by adding cardamom, dried apple or juniper berries, for example. Simply combine the ingredients and heat them until the sugar or honey has dissolved, before the wine reaches boiling point.

For the children, you can make a non-alcoholic brulé by replacing the wine with a good Trentino apple juice.

Parampampoli | © Archivio Trentino Mktg

Parampampoli, a Trentino recipe

An explosive mix of coffee, honey, wine, distilled grape spirit and other secret flavourings, created by accident in the late 1950s by the forefather of the Purin family, Giordano. The family still runs the legendary Rifugio Crucolo refuge in Valsugana and has made this drink its flagship, complete with name and trademark.

It is said that one evening, Giordano was separately preparing two hot drinks in two separate copper pots for his guests: coffee, wine and sugar on one side and coffee, honey and grappa on the other. As a joke, some of the guests asked him to mix them together, which resulted in a big blaze and a bang that made them shout “Parampam!”. This was where the drink got its name, served alight with flame. First it is heated on the stove, and then, before being poured into cups, its surface is set on fire with a match. It’s a display that is certain to impress, and the taste is something else!

Bombardino | © Archivio Trentino Mktg

Bombardino, an explosive recipe

A real pleasure after a day in the snow, and a treat offered by many mountain lodges and refuges It’s such a good combination that as soon as you drink it, you feel a sudden thrill, a flush of heat. This is assured by the temperature of the zabaglione and the substantial alcohol content! The drink was invented by chance by a Genoese manager of a refuge in Lombardy. Using different ingredients from the ones today, upon tasting his creation he immediately exclaimed, “Whoa, it’s a bomb! (“bombarda”). Hence the name of this mouth-watering bomb.

The base is a zabaglione made from egg yolks and 10 g of sugar per yolk. Whisk them together until obtaining a creamy mixture, and then cook in a bain-marie until the zabaglione is formed. Once removed from the heat, add brandy (⅓ brandy to ⅔ zabaglione) and garnish with whipped cream and cocoa powder. That’s the recipe for the traditional bombardino. There are versions that use whisky or rum instead of brandy, or that add espresso coffee to the zabaglione. Come and discover all the Trentino varieties, even with custard. You’ll drink some great ones!

Rumtopf | © Archivio Trentino Mktg

Rumtopf, the Advent recipe

Its origin is German, but for generations it has entered into the DNA of Trentino families, especially those in the Valsugana valley. It literally means pot of rum. It is basically a dessert that you drink, and then eat, containing very high proof rum, no less than 40% but 50/55% to make it properly, plus fruit and sugar.

It is the result of a process that begins in spring and keeps the family busy until autumn. It’s relentless work, picking the best fruits of each season every month as they ripen according to nature.

The topf is a key component – a glazed ceramic pot that normally has a capacity of 4/5 litres. The pot has a lid that is opened every month and topped up a little more. With what? Seasonal fruit left to macerate for a good hour in an amount of sugar equal to 50% of its weight. Then, each time, the macerated fruit is placed in the pot and filled with rum so that it is submerged in the liqueur by at least a finger.

On the first day of Advent the Rumtopf can be tasted, in the hope that it will last throughout the festive period.

You can taste it at certain village festivals, or seek it out from its producers, such as Tullio Valcanover from Ca’ dei Baghi. Don’t miss it!


Christmas Markets

Published on 30/11/2022