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A Slice of the Dolomites

Italian Chef Deborah Dal Fovo hosts an insider’s taste of the Dolomites on her annual "Taste Trentino-Alto Adige Culinary Tour" and shares her beloved recipe for Nonna’s Homemade Italian Apple Cake.


When I first visited my tiny ancestral village in the Trentino-Alto Adige 40 years ago, emotions ran as high as the Dolomite mountain peaks that surrounded me. The sheer beauty of the place my grandparents (nonni) left 60 years earlier when they immigrated to the United States left me breathless. And, the thought that my ancestors founded the little village of Andalo nestled in the majestic Dolomite mountains before the 1500’s sent a shiver down my spine. This heart-warming reunion with my great aunts (zie), uncles (zii) and throngs of cousins (cugini) felt like a generational homecoming. That life-changing trip rewove the threads of my ancestral tapestry and paved the way for my own immigration to Italy less than two years later, where I reclaimed my Italian citizenship and lived for the next 20 years. 

During this time, I discovered Trentino-Alto Adige’s fascinating Italian/Austrian history, the spectacular wonders of nature surrounding my family homestead, and the hearty Alpine food and wine culture of the region. From polenta, canederli, and gnocchi to sausage, sauerkraut, and strudel, I dove deep into traditional dishes, many which graced my childhood table so far away from its enchanting land of origin.

Italian apple cake
Italian apple cake.

To spread the word of my family heritage and cuisine, I shared my Nonna’s Italian Apple Cake recipe (Trentino is famous for its apple production and desserts) on national television and watched in excitement as viewers raved about it. Then, in 2017, I proudly began hosting week-long culinary tours in Trentino-Alto Adige to offer an insider’s view into this breathtaking hidden gem in the Dolomites that is my family homeland. For more info on how to join me on my 2024 Taste Trentino Culinary Tour—a food and wine adventure in the Dolomites— visit my website.

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