Oskar Messner an eclectic chef
Oskar Messner knew he would have become a chef since he was only a child. After his studies and several experiences in Alto Adige’s restaurants, in 2004 he turned the family’s cafe into his own restaurant. Oskar has always had a passion for local and traditional products and likes to enhance them in his recipes. He buys exclusively from local producers and works closely with the local farmers that’s how he got to know a native sheep breed of the Funes Valley: Villnösser Brillenshaf (literally, “sheep with glasses” because of the black markings around their eyes). Its meat is incredibly tasty and delicate thanks to the feeding in high altitude pastures. Brillenshaf was risking extinction because its market was so small and there were very few people who bred this sheep in Val di Funes. Oskar, bravely, decided to save the Brillenshaf helping the farmers by valorizing all its products, both the wool and the meat. In 2007, Oskar improved the supply chain by creating the company Furchetta together with two of his friends, Stephen Unterkicher and Kurt Vontavon. Their goal was to keep alive the tradition of sheep breeding in Funes Valley, guaranteeing the breeders (whose number quintupled in seven years from 10 to 50) a continual purchase of their meat at the right price. Thanks to their project and persistence, in 2011 the Brillenschaf became a Slow Food Presidia.
From that time on, Furchetta continued to purchase the meat and the wool from the farmers, who work following ancient traditions.
Oskar, Stephen, and Kurt emphasize a concept in which they firmly believe in: respect. Respect for the animals, for the farmers, and for tradition. Whoever tastes the cured lamb loin or Oskar’s delicious recipes or wears the wool berets can testify to that and feel their passion. Even though the numbers are still quite small, these boys have scored a strike and I hope in the future their project will continue to grow and will be an example for those who want to preserve the environment, respect tradition and offer something new also to tourists.