If you are looking for a design restaurant with traditional cuisine in Bolzano, the Zur Kaiserkron will be appreciated by archi-lovers as well as lovers of good food, embellished with cm0 materials

Holidays 2023 are upon us: it's time to prepare the infamous lists. Loved by some, hated by others, they always prove to be an excellent tool for not losing those ideas that we fell in love with during the evenings spent on the sofa, leafing through a newspaper or 'scrolling' social pages.

Restaurants, exhibitions, addresses to keep in mind during the holidays.

For those who will be spending a few days in Bolzano, there is a recently renovated design restaurant that is worth a visit, both culinary and architectural. It is called Zur Kaiserkron and is considered, due to its recognized historicity, the 'salon of Bozen'.

Welcomed within the walls of Palazzo Pock, a majestic rococo building which over the years was first a luxury hotel, then a theater and now a private residence and office headquarters, Zur Kaiserkron enjoys the culinary mastery of Chef Filippo Sinisgalli, who recently led the place to be included in the Michelin Guide.

Sinisgalli's cuisine is the spokesperson for a made in Italy devoted to enhancing the ingredients of the earth, in a sustainable and honest way, which translates into a controlled raw material, a reasoned menu deriving from a done in first person. Also for this reason, the Chef has installed a vertical vegetable garden inside the restaurant for the hydroponic cultivation of salads and sprouts.

An interesting starting point, to be tasted and observed, which joins the already intriguing architectural scene deriving from the also recent renovation of the interiors, led by the Interior Line Studio. Here, you can dine among the historic original vaults accompanied by a welcoming and relaxed environment.

We interviewed Chef Filippo Sinisgalli to understand what sustainable eating means today and why it is a philosophy not so far from tradition.

What does it mean that Zur Kaiserkron offers sustainable cuisine?

Filippo Sinisgalli: “A cuisine that treats each ingredient with love and enhances its character and flavour. I always try to make reasoned and sustainable use of raw materials, avoiding waste and putting the quality and authenticity of the product first.

I always go to meet the suppliers in person and visit the production locations, often true Italian gems. I use only local products a lot but often combined with products from all over Italy 'at km zero' to be valorised, coming precisely from the regions that produce the best quality for climate, know-how and tradition.

I build an always reasoned menu starting from the supplies. When I think of a dish to include on the menu, I want my choice to be as sustainable as possible. Not only for the supplier who must follow ethical production and breeding practices, but also for the use I make of the ordered product.

I always think about producing as little waste as possible both upstream and in my kitchen. This makes a dish truly sustainable, I would say ethical".

Is your 'waste-saving' cuisine compatible with the heartfelt tastes of the Bolzano tradition?

Filippo Sinisgalli: “Let's start from the fact that traditional dishes save waste because they come from peasant traditions where it was necessary to throw away as little as possible.

I'd say my approach to cooking is very close to this value.

Furthermore, I love the native products of South Tyrol and Trentino and I have discovered exceptional producers from whom I get my supplies regularly. Then I like to combine these local ingredients with an original touch, perhaps Mediterranean, after all I am a man of the South and it is impossible to forget the origins, flavors and products that I have tasted and loved since I was a child".

Vertical vegetable garden: what are the advantages? Why did you choose to have one?

Filippo Sinisgalli: "The introduction of this vegetable garden follows my continuous search for quality ingredients, sustainability and the charm of technology at the service of the kitchen. And last but not least, the zero waste approach that we have always applied.

Hydroponics allows you to have fragrant sprouts and salads, always fresh, with a very intense taste.

They grow from biodegradable pods containing high quality seeds, without GMOs, chemical additives, pesticides or pesticides. Very little water is needed for a growth cycle, we use water from the kitchen, for example from vegetable rinses, to waste even less!

We only pick the quantity of vegetables needed for the day, we avoid using single-use plastic packages and we cancel the CO2 emissions associated with the transport of these products, because they are literally one step away from the kitchen".

What does hydroponic cultivation mean?

Filippo Sinisgalli: "In agriculture, hydroponics is the cultivation of plants out of soil, i.e. without soil and thanks to water, in which nutrients suitable for making plants grow quickly and healthily are dissolved. But we have taken another step forward thanks to technology.

For our vertical garden we relied on Tomato+, an Italian startup based in Brescia specializing in the creation of indoor greenhouses.

This innovative system uses biodegradable pods containing a natural substrate on which the high quality seeds rest, without GMOs, chemical additives, pesticides or pesticides. They are packaged in controlled environments and keep their freshness and germination characteristics unchanged for 12 months.

Advanced software takes care of growing the seedlings, which creates the ideal conditions of humidity, temperature and light, depending on the type of cultivation. After completing the growth and harvesting cycle, the pods can be thrown into the wet along with the roots to go back to being natural fertilizer or ecological fuel".

Does a truly sustainable cuisine necessarily imply a high bill?

Filippo Sinisgalli: “Absolutely not, you just need to know how to choose and have clear ideas from the start so as not to waste, build coherent and efficient menus precisely to make the most of the ingredients. However, it is necessary to make a sort of pact with the guest who must be aware that he will not find certain ingredients in certain periods of the year".

Why, in your opinion, is it still a difficult culture to affirm in Italy?

Filippo Sinisgalli: “Or maybe, it's not. Sustainability and green are certainly trendy topics but there is still a long way between theory and application in some sectors. I believe that in the kitchen of many restaurants there is a high sensitivity to these issues but it is still lacking if one thinks of large numbers, of large-scale distribution, in this case choices and costs need to be reviewed".

Can you tell us about a 100% sustainable and 'zero waste' dish?

Filippo Sinisgalli: "The dish 'Lamb in variation' represents precisely the theme of km0 and sustainable cuisine. It is the Brillenschaf lamb from the Val di Funes, literally sheep with glasses, due to the characteristic black spots around the eyes.

The oldest sheep breed in South Tyrol grazes freely in the meadows and winters at an altitude of 1950m and is protected by the Brillenschaf Cooperative, a precious safeguard for the area. Thanks to the important work done, it was possible to avoid the extinction of the breed and its reintroduction into the supply chain, enhancing its quality and peculiarities.

My dish is called Brillenschaf in Variation because the Brillenshaf lamb meat is offered in three cooking variations, roasted, stewed and tartare. In this way I use different cuts to compose a dish and discard as little as possible. The cooking liquid is then used to flavor accompanying nettles and beets, these are also zero km because they come from the garden we have in San Paolo along the wine road.

I think about how my order can be sustainable both for the restaurant and for the producer, in this logic you will find dishes in the menu in which most of the ingredient is used by exploiting different preparations and cooking methods to reduce waste. The "zero km" criterion was also respected, given that the farm is less than 40 km away from the city.

The opening of the Zur Kaiserkron in Bolzano (Chef Filippo Sinisgalli has been running the historic restaurant for just over a year, ed) gave me the opportunity to include typical Trentino Alto Adige ingredients on the menu and experiment with them in my Mediterranean-style cuisine. Brillenshaf is one of these, it is never missing from my menu because it is an ingredient of the highest quality, the result of an important work of repopulation and redevelopment of the territory that I want to support and disseminate".