Hiking fine dining


17. 6. 2024

Our Hannah teammate Honzik Martinek set off with a mate hiker Marketa, to explore a piece of Austria – the Carinthia region. However, his narration is not at all about describing the difficulty of the route and the peaks reached, nor providing a targeted review of our clothing. But it will definitely make you crave – and not only for the mountains.

cooking in the mountains
Quality and fresh ingredients are the basis.

"Food just tastes better in the mountains!" That's what my older sister always used to say while shoveling another spoonful of casserole into her mouth. And she's right! It does taste better. But only when there's something good to eat... Forget about dehydrated meals, food in strange pouches, or a kilo of pasta with ready-made Bolognese sauce. We go to the mountains for the experiences, so why ruin them with bad food? Today, we're doing it my way – pigging out with our dirty hands, food from the fire straight to our mouths. 

Uncle Pompo with Maky in the mountains
One selfie of me and Maky.

I'm a weekend hiker. I don't do multi-day mountain crossings, nor do I run ultra-endless trails like Tandlis, but I love the mountains. And food too. That's why I usually spend more time planning what we'll eat than where we'll go. I'm just a wandering dog with a picky nose. Which is exactly what my mates like best about me. I don't interfere with the route, and I cook dinner in the evening. This time, I took Maku on the hike. She got hungry at the top, and as it often happens, with a hungry girl next to you, it's more of a run downhill. But I didn't mind, I was looking forward to it. We already had the groceries, so we just needed to set up camp and light a fire in the living room. The Alpine living room. 

preparing dinner
Alpine living room

Preparing the wood is essential. That's why I always slack off on it... Does it make sense? It doesn't. But it's important to accept certain things because they won't change. For me, the randomness in cooking over a fire is what I enjoy the most. I never know how it will turn out. And the best part is, neither do the people I'm cooking for. Zero expectations. That's why everyone is always so excited afterwards. And if it doesn't turn out well? Who cares! We're not at a Michelin restaurant, plus we always have a blast when sitting around the fire... 

good old camping cookware
I always sloppy wood preparation.

For the menu, I chose my favourite classic this time. Argentinian rump steak straight from the charcoal and roasted potatoes. Add some chimichurri and charred onions and perfection is complete. Ideal for the mountains, I don't need any extra gear and if I don't have a fridge in the car with me and I'm not doing the shopping that day, I can just take the meat from home frozen, and everything will stay fresh and be ready just for lunch. 

First the potatoes, they always take their time. If I want to shorten the roasting time, I pre-cook them in water for a bit. What's great about roasting potatoes is that you can do it even in a classic mess tin. Just line it with parchment paper. Sure, the best way is to throw them straight into the ashes, but that takes more time. And we didn't have that. Did I mention that Maky was already hungry on the hill? 

baked potatoes in the fire
Baked potatoes in the fire.

" When will it be ready? I'm hungry." 

Well, that's what I'm saying, it's here! Classic first line... Oh well, it's time to keep Markét busy, so she at least feels like she's speeding things up. And while Maku is preparing the chimichurri, the fire is slowly producing the embers I'll need for the steaks. 

Do you remember when I said that preparing the wood is essential? Well, I was right. Be smarter than me. For grilling steaks over charcoal, it's always good to have hardwood, otherwise, it's not worth a darn... Before tossing the meat onto the embers, it's crucial to get them as hot and glowing as possible. And when you don't have good wood, you end up like us. The meat quickly suffocates the embers, the temperature drops, and the Maillard reaction is out the window. But in the end, you'll still enjoy it. 

The coals must be blown before inserting the meat.

"Before you take the picture, we'll end up eating it cold again!" 

Yeah, I hear this every time I cook. Probably because it's true. But things like onions and potatoes stay hot for at least a week! 

hiking fine dining
Enjoy your meal

But once everyone starts eating, suddenly everything goes quiet, and all you can hear is the sound of chewing, slurping, and contented purring. And then I know it's good... Food just tastes better in the mountains! 


You can read more about Honzik, both about his personal and professional life, here: https://www.unclepompo.com/ 

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