Quality and environment respect
From agriculture to tourist’s activity
Until Tignale became a tourist location the local economy had always been based on agriculture.
Thanks to the great energy, intuition and entrepreneurial skills of Filippo Bettanini, the family farm business saw its most prosperous years in the second half of the nineteenth century.
At the time the family home was the centre of a large and thriving farm with a very rich and varied production that included maize, wheat, potatoes, beans, fruit, timber, fodder for cattle breeding and finally, silkworms bred by the women of the household, ensuring extra income for the family.
In winter the family managed with the revenue produced by the sale of charcoal and firewood and by selling poles from their chestnut trees, highly prized for their strength and durability both for use in agriculture and in construction.
After the winter they looked forward to the late spring, when thanks to mulberry leaves, they could grow silkworms. Then there were the fruit trees producing pears, apples, apricots, peaches, cherries and sour cherries contributing to their revenue along with corn, wheat and potatoes. Then, before winter set in they collected walnuts and chestnuts.
The farm also produced wine and olive oil for the family needs.. From marc, the refuse of grapes after winemaking, the family Bettanini started distilling the Grappa that later, in Thirties’, Gabriele D’Annunzio - the famous poet- named “Rugiada delle Alpi” (morning dew).
Given the inadequacy of the roads, little more than mountain paths, the heavier and cumbersome products were lowered to the port of Tignale by a cableway and loaded on the boats that led them to their destination.
In the middle of the 20th Century, in the plains farming became mechanic and mountain farming became economically unsustainable. During the Fifties and Sixties, in Tignale began a period of deep crisis: people gave up farming and a lot of them emigrated.
Small high-quality productions
The farm today: Quality and environment
Our farm business today is based on a cultivated area of 78 acres (31.6 hectares), 97% of which is located within the Alto Garda Park, in a Special Protection Area, mainly meadows, pastures and woods.
As for the last 70 years, and even more so today as a result of globalization, mountain agriculture is not able to compete with large-scale mechanized agriculture in industrialized countries, nor with the agriculture characterized by low labour costs of the developing countries.
When in 2006 we decided to resume agricultural activities in Tignale, we decided to focus on the integration of agriculture and tourism by choosing to concentrate on limited-scale high-quality agricultural production, for the family and for the activity of our agritourism business.
The natural consequence of our philosophy from the beginning, geared to the preservation of the beautiful natural environment of the Alto Garda Park in which we operate, was the decision to focus on Organic agriculture, which together with respect for the environment, ensures healthy and genuine products.
All these products can be enjoyed, along with other quality products of our territory, in our restaurant and include:
Potatoes: we grow the white and yellow qualities here in Prabione, well known for its suitability for this type of cultivation. They are picked as we need them from the month of July onwards and they can be found in the restaurant in the form of delicious roasted potatoes and homemade gnocchi.
Corn: which we grind and use to make our local polenta.
Fruits: apples, pears, almonds, chestnut, cherries, sour cherries, elderberries, plums and apricots are used in our jams and chutneys as well as in some dishes and desserts.
Vegetables: the salad vegetables, aubergines, tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, green beans, celery etc.., cultivated in our small family vegetable garden in Prabione, supply the kitchen of our restaurant daily.
Wildflower honey, especially the summer variety with its characteristic taste of chestnut, is a perfect accompaniment to the strong cheeses of our area. The hives, which we leave to develop according to their natural cycle, allowing the swarming of queens, are located in the village of Gardola, as this is exposed to the south and less windy than Prabione and is therefore better suited to the life of this amazing insect.
Olives, cultivated in Oldesio in a small olive grove overlooking the lake and cold pressed in Tignale's oil mill, produce our Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, appreciated for its organoleptic qualities by those who taste our restaurant's cuisine.
Grapes: this unique product is grown outside the Alto Garda Park. In fact, following the crisis of mountain farming in the 1960s all the vineyards of the family were abandoned. Recently we started the wine business again, focusing on a more suitable area; the morainic hills of the Valtenesi. The 10,000 sq m vineyard is in fact on the hills of Polpenazze, in a location extremely suitable for this crop. Thanks to the collaboration of our friend Dario Ferrarini who makes wine for us, every year we produce good organic red and rosé wine (with a very low content of added sulphites), to accompany the dishes in our restaurant.
Marc, a by-product of winemaking that we annually distil with the traditional method used for 4 generations, producing the precious Grappa Rugiada delle Alpi.
Finally, there are the non-food products:
Grass, harvested and turned into hay three times a year, the predominant food of a friend's cows.
Timber used in the form of poles for the fences and firewood for heating in winter.