When you’re on the slopes and the conditions are just right, the last thing you want to do is stop and eat. But not to worry when you’re in the Alps, the Swiss have on-slope dining down to a science. Breaking for lunch is an integral part of the experience and not something to be merely endured. Your choices range from top quality grab-and-go to cozy communal table haute cuisine.
Perched in the tiny village of Findeln, a short ski below the top station of the Sunnegga Express funicular lift, 14 Gault Millau point Findlerhof features gourmet Mediterranean and regional delicacies with an impressive wine list. During summer, owners Franz and Heidi grow lettuce for their salads and berries for vinaigrette and desserts in their own Alpine garden. When visiting during winter, getting down to the front entrance of this antique post and beam eatery can be a challenge indeed! Chances are you’ll be sliding down a steep snow covered path in your ski boots. Luckily a rope railing guides your journey down to their sun terrace overlooking the Matterhorn. Once you enter through the thick wooden door, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time with rough hewn exposed wood clapboard walls, water served in pitchers from an on-site spring and given the remote location, an amazingly diverse menu featuring fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables. Signature plates seem to magically appear from the tiny kitchen heaped with specialties like Matterkuchen (quiche), lamb fillet with an herb crust, truffle ravioli, homemade pasta, seafood, veal cutlets from a bio-farmer.
Be sure to make reservations because despite Findlerhof’s remote location, this place has a celebrated international following.
A ski trail literally ends at the restaurant’s doorstep. A large deck outside ensconced in a forest setting overlooks the Matterhorn yet you’re minutes above Zermatt’s action. Inside, the hotel restaurant décor is rustic modern with antlers comprising handrails and festooning portions of the bar’s ceiling. Here I had two appetizers, the first of which was Hobelkase, thinly sliced “planing” cheese rolled up into tubes filled with plum chutney. The other consisted of Roggenbrot (thin slices of crisp rye bread pieces) elegantly arranged like a mini stone henge on my plate and filled with a mixture of cream cheese, apple, pear, and fresh lettuce topped with small pieces of Welsh bacon. Main courses range from roasted breast of quail with Madras curry to black Cod with pine needle and Elderflowers on a bed of black rice. For dessert, move out on the deck in front of the outdoor fireplace with a glass of wine from the Valais paired with pickled apricots and almonds topped with cream of lavender.
Kulmhotel Panorama Self-Serve
Part of 3100 Kulmhotel, the highest hotel in the Swiss Alps in Gornergrat, onsite Panorama self-service restaurant offers a range of international hot and cold dishes, including homemade cake and sandwiches. The viewing platform of Gornergrat and the areas around the hotel are car free and only reachable by a regular train service, which takes 40 minutes’ from Zermatt through scenic countryside. Ultramodern and glass-enclosed, this place place is right at the base of a sledding trail perfect for warming up with an exquisite espresso or glass of wine. And if the weather is cooperative, the outdoor patio has unparalleled mountain views.
Photos courtesy of Steve Mirsky and featured properties. Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored trip.