Gerni’s takes you to Austria
Sponsored Content - Feb 09, 2024 - Think Local

Photo: Shawn Talbot

Nestled within the serene embrace of Sparkling Hill Resort, Gerni’s Farmhouse emerges as a beacon of traditional Austrian charm, weaving together the rich tapestries of culinary heritage and architectural splendour in a location that’s nothing short of magical.

This gem of a restaurant, which opened its doors in 2021, stands as a testament to the enduring allure of Austrian-German culture, brought to life under the expert stewardship of its new chef, Mike Wagenhofer. At the age of 34 and hailing from the quaint Austrian hamlet of Dreihütten, Wagenhofer embodies the perfect combination of origin and expertise, his roots deeply entrenched in the very essence of the cuisine and architectural style on which Gerni’s Farmhouse prides itself.

The ambiance of Gerni’s Farmhouse completes the immersive Austrian experience. Staff adorned in traditional lederhosen and dirndl dresses, coupled with the breathtaking views of Okanagan Lake, transport diners to the heart of Austria, amidst the majestic Alps. Wagenhofer’s vision transcends mere dining, aiming to embark guests on a vibrant and authentic Austrian odyssey, where cooking transcends to an art form that unites and inspires.

The story of Gerni’s Farmhouse is as enchanting as its setting. Originally a timber-framed edifice dating back to 1587 in the municipality of Weerberg, in Austria’s picturesque western expanse, this historic farmhouse embarked on an extraordinary journey. Dismantled in 2019, it crossed continents to be lovingly reassembled at Sparkling Hill, reborn as a slice of Austria nestled in the Okanagan Valley’s embrace. The restaurant’s namesake, Sparkling Hill founder Gernot (Gerni) Langes-Swarovski, lends a personal touch to this venture, intertwining his legacy with its rustic charm.

Photo: Darren Hull

And then there is the food. The menu bursts with delights that are flavourful and comforting thanks to time-honoured techniques. Austria’s central location in Europe made it a melting pot of culinary influences from neighbouring countries such as Italy, Germany, Hungary and Czechia, resulting in a blend of influences that led to a rich and varied lineup of dishes.

Austrian cuisine emphasizes the use of fresh, high-quality ingredients. The country’s varied landscape, from its alpine regions to its fertile valleys, provides a bounty of fresh produce, meats and dairy products. Gerni’s Farmhouse makes sure to procure authentic ingredients to ensure your mouth starts watering as your server arrives with your meal.

Oh, and they also make sure you have genuine Austrian beer to wash it down, too.

Gerni’s Farmhouse is more than just a restaurant; it’s a celebration of community, history and the joy of culinary exploration. Open for lunch and dinner, it invites adventurers to partake in an experience where every bite is a story and every moment is a memory in the making. Depending on the day, there might also be a Bavarian band playing its favourites. All you have to do is close your eyes to feel like you are in the heart of Tyrol.

Wagenhofer’s journey from Dreihütten, a tiny town with a close-knit community of around 100 souls, to the helm of Gerni’s Farmhouse is a narrative of passion and perseverance. From his early days of cooking and hosting in his hometown to his bold leap across the globe, Wagenhofer has defied expectations, crafting a menu that delights with authentic Austrian delicacies such as bratwursts, pretzels, hühnerschnitzel, gulasch mit semmelknödel, and gebratenes forellenfilet.

“Cooking itself is an amazing art, and art is something that can bring people together,” Wagenhofer says. “It’s like a music band. Having so many individuals around you is always exciting. Some days I can teach them new things, and the next day they are showing me new stuff, but only together can we succeed.

“The most important part for me is making people happy with what we are doing. Eating has always been an important part of human history. Being in a trade where you can see people get together for socializing and enjoying your art is an amazing feeling.”

Gerni’s Farmhouse is open seven days a week, from noon to 5 p.m. for lunch and from 5-9 p.m. for dinner. The restaurant accepts walk-ins only, and no children under 16 are allowed.

More information about Gerni’s Farmhouse can be found on its website here.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.

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