An Interview with Michael Haym
Hi, Michael! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and about your relationship to the Taurnkarleiten Alm.
The Tauernkarleiten Alm is basically the home where I grew up as a child. When I went away, I studied hospitality in Salzburg/Klessheim, finally returning to the Tauernkarleiten Alm 24 years later. I am now married and, together with my wife and 15-year-old son, spend the summer season up here. Incidentally, our boy also plays the accordion. When I took over the hut, there were lots of things I had to take care of. But after a number of renovations, it is more beautiful than ever. As I said, in summer I am up here, while I spend the winter at the Rauchkopfhütte. In other words, I work about eight months out of the year in the mountains.
What, in your opinion, makes the Tauernkarleiten Alm so special?
Nowadays, there are just a few mountain huts that are authentic inside and out. Here with us at the Tauernkarleiten Alm, everything is just as it was 100 years ago. The so-called “smoke kitchen” and the dining rooms are unchanged. And our hut has absolutely nothing to do with mass tourism! We are still very much an insider tip. And that also means, I have time to truly be a “host”. I have time to chat with my guests, just like it used to be, and actually the way it still should be. And that gives the whole experience a totally different quality.
Your guests can also enjoy Radstädter Kas here. What is it exactly?
Radstädter Kas is a very simple cheese. It is made from sour milk and it’s low in fat, maturing in our cellar for four to six weeks. Sadly, it’s rarely made in our region anymore. We only produce it in small batches for our own use and for guests who want to eat this authentic, traditional dairy product. It’s a culinary tradition, one that fits with our whole philosophy. Its taste is similar to other popular cheeses in the region, such as grey cheese or Vorarlberg sour cheese, depending on how long it is allowed to age. In its late stage of maturity, it is reminiscent of so-called quargel.
What other delicious treats do you offer?
We keep everything very simple, just as you might find at a wine tavern in the valley. Aside from Radstädter Käs, we also produce our own milk, butter and buttermilk. Since we have 28 cows living up here with us, milk is definitely not in short supply. My wife makes farmhouse-style doughnuts filled with butter or lingonberries. They are very popular with our guests!
What ties do you have with the other huts and the Lürzerhof?
We are neighbors, of course. As neighbors in the mountains, we are always there when anyone needs help. In this Tauern basin, getting help when it’s time for the cattle drive is a top priority, of course, but friendly exchanges in various forms are always going on. For guests of the Lürzerhof, our mountain hut is a great option for a beautiful hike. And if you value an authentic hill-country experience, including direct contact with your host, we are definitely the place for you. And always sincerely welcome.