Bon Tajer (BL)
Gateway to the Dolomites, a UNESCO heritage site, Bon Tajer is a magical place where you can experience the atmosphere of the Belluno hills; a unique territory that combines the authenticity of the Venetian countryside with the charm of the more sophisticated Cortina d’Ampezzo mountains. Thanks to the incredible hospitality of the Paganin Tremea family – Angelo Paganin and his wife Ramona Tremea, his brother-in-law Massimo Tremea, the chef of the restaurant, and his sons Alessandro and Francesco, who help in the dining room and in the kitchen – you will live a unique experience that perfumes of mountain huts, green fields, firewood, and wildflowers. Upon arrival, you will be amazed by the hundreds of colored cutting boards, hanging from the ceiling and covering all the walls; Bon Tajer means, in fact, “nice cutting board” in the local dialect. Back in 1993, after meeting the artist Vico Calabrò and Daniele Zatta, the owners came up with the idea of inviting painters and sculptors to customize wooden cutting boards, in order to present clients with them. Today, more than 950 artsy cutting boards embellish the restaurant, each of them telling a special story.
As per the interiors, the gastronomic offer is also a balance between tradition and creativity. Raw materials are genuine and top quality, mostly coming from the family-run farm. Chef Massimo Tremea’s passion for cooking, after years of working as sous chef in starred restaurants in Venice and Val Badia, brought him back to the family restaurant with an innovative vision of cooking. The dishes are served on terracotta pots, characteristic trays of wood or stone, or in a bed of moss, and decorated with wild herbs and flowers collected in the mountain meadows.
Depending on the season, in addition to traditional recipes such as cured meat and cheese selections or the barley and Lamon beans soup, the menu offers more creatives ones such as egg custard cooked and served in eggshell, fried seasonal flowers, maltagliati pasta with apples, or the famous Crosticcio, a pie made with polenta crusts. In fact, the DoloMais polenta crusts are Bon Tajer’s most famous creation, born from the union of only three ingredients – salt, wholemeal vitreous cornflour (the ancient Belluno variety of Sponcio Maize), and water from the Dolomites.
The wine list is a magical book with a wooden cover, which Alessandro will be pleased to advise you on. Just below the farmhouse, there is a cellar that protects wines, hams, and cheeses in the process of aging as well as vases conserving herbs, flowers, and homemade grappas. Among the delicacies produced by the farm, we find also honey, the famous jams with original flavors such as ‘apples, geranium and pepper’ or ‘pears, dried fruit and calendula’, the exquisite chocolate with polenta crusts, the apple cider as well as the precious hydromel, a drink with very ancient origins.
Next to the farmhouse, there are six rooms and an apartment overlooking the Val Belluna, located in the old greenhouses for floriculture. Made with natural materials, each room is finely decorated with antique furniture, ceiling beams, crochet quilts, wooden ladders and washbasins. Unforgettable the breakfast served with fresh products coming from the farm, such as natural yogurt, homemade marmalades, freshly baked cakes, and biscuits, accompanied by coffee made with mocha, and own-produced juices.
Bon Tajer is one of the few companies to produce Hydromel or Mead, a drink that the ancients called the “nectar of the Gods” made from fermented honey. It was said to have various beneficial and invigorating powers, including that of favoring the birth of a male child, which is why it was often given to the newlyweds. From this custom comes the way of saying “go on honeymoon”.
Edited by Valentina Scarpa Bandelloni