17 February 2021
Post originally written in: Deutsch Information An automatic machine translation. Super fast and almost perfect.

For me, only one thing is clear in a foreign city: the first way leads to its market hall. It is perhaps the most incorruptible calling card. The quality of the food on offer is an excellent indicator of the eating habits and culture of the inhabitants. In Innsbruck, there was a lot of room for improvement in this respect for a long time. Since last summer the Gourmet Manufactory Small and fine in the Innsbruck market hall has been setting new standards. BIO, regional and seasonal is equally the business and life principle.

Eating like God in France'. For me, this has always been more than just a 'winged word'. No wonder, I love the week-long walks on the french pilgrimage routes. After all, it is not uncommon for ambitious pilgrims to be surprised by sensual delights at the stage finish. Mostly in the form of extraordinary taste experiences, which are not only available in the expensive temples of pleasure of the Michelin starry sky. Those who know French market halls will confirm it: they are not infrequently the true temples of pleasure.

In Innsbruck, I have always missed this special flair. You could always buy fresh vegetables, wonderful fruit and berries, local meat and sausage products or cheese in the time-honored market hall next to the unobstructed view of the Nordkette. What had always been sorely lacking in my opinion was a place where regional and, above all, seasonal dishes are offered, from small bites to brunch to a delicious BIO menu. And if anything, I would have always liked a fluffy dessert to close my stomach, too.


It is with great delight that I now notice: the hitherto rather sober alpine culinary normality of the market hall has for some time now been permeated by exquisite scents. One day it smells of fresh bread, another day of a wonderful vegetable soup. In the morning, a complex scent of various exquisite dishes usually caresses the noses of the market hall visitors. An olfactory experience that can be 'tasted' right at the main entrance.

Petra Unterweger is the name of the woman who has done a lot for the food culture in the market hall since last summer. Her Genuss-Manufaktur Klein und Fein has managed within a very short time to become a top address for down-to-earth culinary art in Innsbruck. Even in times of hard lockdown, an illustrious crowd of cheerful gourmets who appreciate fine dining meets here. And if the enjoyment can't take place on site, then you simply take the food with you. Take away is the motto.

17 years ago, the trained cook and graduate of Villa Blanka (she also studied economics, religion and special education) began to warm up to catering. And that after having worked as an educator for 18 years. Skill and her non-negotiable quality consciousness soon made a production area of 270 square metres necessary. At peak times, up to 30 employees ensured that between three and five hundred catering orders could be processed annually.


Then Covid fell upon the land like a predator, with lockdowns still leaden upon it as well. "We realized right away that catering was effectively dead. No events, no parties - no catering. The calculation was as simple as that", Petra Unterweger explains. And it came as it had to: "After the first lockdown, we only had the choice between closing the company or a new start with something completely different - so hop or skip." However, the experience with their small café in Maria-Theresien-Straße made them think of bigger things. Moreover, the Markthalle had never disappeared from her entrepreneurial field of vision.

The way her 'Genuss-Manufaktur Klein und Fein' presents itself today is the result of many years of experience with food of the highest quality. Already in her time as a catering entrepreneur Petra Unterweger unconditionally relied on BIO from the MOUNTAIN. In other words, on small-scale farm produce from a cooperative that is unique in Europe. What many people do not know: This farmers' cooperative is still 100 percent owned by Tyrolean organic farmers. Logo, that they also have a share in the operating results.

There are historical reasons why most of the products are still distributed by a Tyrolean supermarket chain. Decades ago, the senior boss of the company, as an ardent Tyrolean, was already prepared to take over the BIO vom BERG products quasi-exclusively on the shelves of his stores at special conditions. But I am particularly pleased that the fine organic food can now also be found in the Innsbruck market hall.


"Our intensive partnership with BIO vom BERG began four years ago," Petra says. Her goal of using only the best raw materials in her catering business led her almost inevitably to BIO vom BERG, she says. In doing so, she also relieved the cooperative of an important activity: product presentation. Her exclusively artisan dishes then also became the flagship for BIO vom BERG. "That was the best advertising for us," BIO vom BERG managing director Björn Rasmus readily admits. Whether exquisite organic berries, juices, syrups, eggs, cheese or sausages had been used, he is "thrilled with the artisanal and honest approach" of Petra Unterweger. "Since then, we have had someone who cooks up the wonderful basic products of our BIO farmers to the highest standard."


Last spring, 'Klein und Fein' moved into the market hall with bag and baggage. Large storage facilities were rented and the restaurant area was expanded. What I admire: Not a single employee was laid off during the many months of lockdowns so far. The start in summer 2020 was very promising: 35 seats inside and 70 seats on the terrace were usually well occupied, the terrace was usually even 'sold out'. It soon became a matter of course to have the 'Fein und Klein' brunch in front of the most beautiful of all conceivable backdrops, the Nordkette. And at the same time to enjoy a unique culinary experience. It was only a matter of time before tourists mingled with the guests, most of whom were regulars.


Then a second and third lockdown also hit the pleasure manufactory in the parade. But only for a short time. Because that was also the new start. The in-house delivery service took off. The operation in the market hall was trimmed to 'take away'. "We had known before, we may deliver lunch and sell food," says the enterprising businesswoman. Take-away and delivery services were then successfully advertised on social media channels.

The fact that BIO vom BERG food is now also available in the market hall is a logical consequence of the qualitative orientation of 'Klein und Fein'. Hard to believe: the now legendary 'Marend-Teller' has provoked further ideas for offers. Because guests always wanted to buy products that were offered on the plate to take away. For Petra Unterweger, this was the starting signal to expand her range to include some special products. For example, an incredibly good truffle cheese from the Alpbachtal.

Her customers, says Unterweger, are among the conscious shoppers. They buy butter and milk, buttermilk cream and clarified butter here. Knowing that the quality of BIO vom BERG is unique. And above all that it comes from small Tyrolean farmers. Or they enjoy the handmade confectionery that is temptingly waiting in a display case for buyers.


What also impresses me about the concept of 'Klein und Fein' is the complete recycling of food. Old brown bread is made into dumplings, the vegetables of a trader friend in the market hall, which are still in perfect condition but no longer sellable, are turned into vegetable soup. In the high season it can happen that a farmer is suddenly standing in front of the door with 40 kg of organic raspberries, because the summer heat has led to large quantities that were difficult to market within the short time. "Then we conjure up the finest jam from them all and freeze some of it," Petra explains proudly. 'Excess organic apples' become sugarless applesauce. The glut of tomatoes from an organic farmer in Oberland encourages the 'Klein und Fein' staff to make sugo, ketchup and pickled, dried tomatoes for stock.


"Homemade jams, juices, syrups, ketchup or chutneys have always been a matter of course for us," Petra says modestly. Just like the sweets for which the boss is famous. A daily changing assortment of cakes and tarts is practically a matter of course. Cantuccini, amarettini, chocolate kisses, apricot nuggets, cookies, various shortbread pastries - I probably don't need to say more. A warning sign points out that 'pieces of cake weighing less than 300 grams' are considered cookies here.

For me, as a market hall aficionado, a dream of sorts has come true. When taste triumphs in times of tastelessness and organic food celebrates truly joyous reigns instead of agrochemical products, the turn for the better seems to have begun. And when ripe, Tyrolean organic products are preferred to chemically sprayed greens that are flown halfway around the world, hope is born.

Any further information www.klein-und-fein.com

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