Maria Gasser, 5th-generation host at the Turmwirt restaurant in Gudon about gathering, cultivated hospitality, beloved family traditions and about why she believes pubs are the future.
Historic: Gudon is a veritable gem. It seems extremely remote, and yet it takes surprisingly little time to get here.
Hostess of the 5th generation at the Turmwirt
That’s true, we are easy to reach because we are only three kilometres from the Chiusa motorway exit. But you have to know that; you won’t find us by accident.
And who are the people that find the Turmwirt?
We have many guests who came here as children with their parents and who are now on their way to Lake Garda or Tuscany. Instead of eating next to the motorway or taking a detour to a bigger city, they drop by here. The Turmwirt is where their holidays start.
Also, the hotels in the area recommend us to their international guests looking for high-quality, authentic South Tyrolean cuisine.
Handmade and well-made, pure and simple—for generations.
What are your special recommendations?
The braised veal cheeks are our speciality. And our guests love our homemade grain bread with hazelnuts.
The Turmwirt has mostly been run by women. Your great grandmother, Valeria Gasser, lived to be 100 years old and still cooked at 90.
She was a stern woman with a steady hand on the tiller for most of the time. She used to reprimand the youth when they came home late at night—and not only her own family, but everybody from the village! (Laughs.) Some people tell me I remind them of her. Maybe they mean I rant as much as she did. (Laughs.)
»Shared time is something our guests value especially when they sit and eat. This is why I’m convinced that pubs are the future.«
In the idyllic village of Gudon above the Isarco Valley, between the church spire on one side and the medieval witch tower of Sommo Castle on the other, lies the Turmwirt Restaurant.
What is your favourite historic element or spot in the house?
My favourite spot is our parlour in the private sector. It’s the heart of the house and the place where we retreat with the children. It has been the place for family gatherings since my great grandparents’ days. My father was even born in that parlour.
There are several artworks by painter Josef Telfner (1874–1948) at the Turmwirt. How come?
Josef Telfner used to live on a Gudon farm. He would come to the Turmwirt to drink wine. When he had no money, he left pictures instead. This is how we acquired our first Telfner pieces. My father then bought some more, including paintings that show our house. But now I think our collection is big enough. (Laughs.)
Do you have any traditions you have cultivated for generations at the Turmwirt?
My mother and I used to talk for hours before going to sleep. I do the same with my son Pius; we sit on the bed and talk. Even when you spend every day together, there is hardly any time to talk with all the work.
And yet, it is so important to gather and talk. Shared time is something our guests value especially when they sit and eat. This is why I’m convinced that pubs are the future.
What can the older generation do to bring young people back to the house?
They just have to let them do their thing. That’s why I eventually came back after many years abroad. I could apply a lot of what I had learned. First, I didn’t want to come back. I found it boring, there were no challenges. My mother always said it was alright if I didn’t want to continue here. She said they’d close the business some time when they’re too old. But now, everything’s fine and I am glad it turned out this way. I have my two children and plenty to do all day. The danger of boredom has passed. (Laughs.)
Is there some advice you would like to give to future generations?
Gather experience, go abroad. Experiment, but don’t let anybody force ideas upon you. In the end, do what you love, and you’ll be successful.