Oysters, cheese & rock’n‘roll
For three months in winter 2009/2010, Heinz Rufibach, head chef at the Hotel Alpenhof and president of the Zermatt Cercle de Chefs du Cuisine, is creating the first-class and business-class culinary concept on SWISS long-haul flights and European routes. With the SWISS Taste of Switzerland, Zermatt is definitely entering a high-flying culinary class of its own. In this Focus, we list more places where you can enjoy exceptional wining and dining.
Dine at Gault Millau standard
The British Times calls the tradition-rich Gault Millau “The New Testament of Gourmet Cuisine”. Every year the guide selects the best restaurants in Europe. We have several in Zermatt.
Restaurant Capri, on the 4th floor of Le Petit Cervin with an impressive 16 points. Here, head chef Oliver Glowig, two-star chef at the Ristorante L`Olivo in the Palace on Capri, creates first-class Mediterranean cuisine.
The Restaurant Le Corbeau d’Or in the Hotel Mirabeau has been awarded 15 points. Alain Kuster from Alsace caters for continuity as well as surprises.
Another 15 points went to the Gourmetstübli in Hotel Schönegg, according to Gault Millau, they were awarded for a high standard of culinary skill, creativity and quality.
No fewer than four restaurants have been awarded 14 points, including Le Gourmet in the Hotel Alpenhof. And by the way: the Alpenhof now boasts a new entrance and reception area. The hotel and gourmet restaurants have been renovated and modernized. The new Smokers Lounge means that smoking can be enjoyed despite the general smoking ban.
Also with 14 points: Le Cervin Grill in the Mont Cervin Palace, the Portofino in the Hotel Post and the Prato Borni in the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, where an excellent meal can now be enjoyed in relaxed fashion without a dress code requiring a jacket.
The Chez Heini and Heimberg have each won 13 points, as has the mountain gastronomy of the restaurants Findlerhof and Zum See.
Cooking for points: Marco Drynda in the Sonnmatten
Keep an eye on this chef: Marco Drynda, head chef at the Restaurant und Suite Sonnmatten, in the charming district of Winkelmatten. This is now Drynda’s third season as chef with host René Foster. After eight years as chef de partie and sous chef with Alain Kuster, the 15 Gault Millau point chef in Zermatt, Drynda has now established himself and is nurturing ambitious plans. Drynda, of traditional Swabian stock, was previously commis de cuisine in the Ticino Ristorante Agnese, 14 Gault Millau points. Between 16.30 and 19.30 h on Saturdays in January, the Sonnmatten serves champagne oysters, salmon marinated à la maison and a selection of other delicacies. A look at the Agenda on the website is also well worthwhile.
Asia on the up
Gault Millau awarded 13 points to two Asian restaurants: in the Restaurant China Garden, Lijun Chen prepares first-class Chinese cuisine and in the Seiler Restaurant Myoko sushi master Ikuma serves fresh, top-quality sushi and sashimi creations.
New in the village: Lanna Thai – the kingdom in northern Thailand
In place of Da Mario, Seiler Hotels are opening a new Thai restaurant, the Lanna Thai. The light and delicious dishes will cater for an exotic experience at the Hotel Schweizerhof. Lanna, in English one million rice fields, was a former kingdom in northern Thailand. Surrounded by high mountains and tropical forests, it is similar to a Zermatt in Thailand. SAWATDIH – Welcome to the Lanna Thai.
The Fuji of Zermatt bar and Japanese restaurant on the ground floor of the Hotel Albana Real now has a sun terrace and winter garden.
New in the mountain region: the Restaurant Trockener Steg has been renovated at a cost of 12 million Swiss francs and is now called the Ice – Buffet/Bar/Pizzeria. The reconstruction, also connected to the new aerial gondola cableway Schwarzsee paradise-Furgg-Trockener Steg, allows guests to positively roll into the restaurant, where an efficient free-flow concept has been created in a welcoming and contemporary ambiance. New viewing angles open up – towards Zermatt village and towards the Matterhorn and the Theodul Glacier from the large terrace. Families will find plenty of space in the top-floor Wolli area (Wolli: storybook figure). The pizzeria is on the first floor in the building’s north wing. The attractions are rounded off by an Ice Shop selling snacks and souvenirs in the walk-through and entrance area on the ground floor. Incidentally: the Matterhorn Group places top priority on sustainable use and management. In ecological terms, considerable improvements have been achieved in the reconstructed building with better insulation, more efficient energy management and a more environmentally-friendly energy supply.
Igloo Village s(w)ings
In addition to the Igloo snowbar, this winter a new eating/drinking area will open for day guests in the Igloo Village Hotel. This extra area will make it possible to serve groups of up to 60 persons in the evening and above all at the Tuesday fondue feast. A singer-songwriter will make guest appearances from mid-February. The outside bar is being extended to include a hotel reception desk, aimed at enabling day guests to obtain more information on the hotel facilities and also to make last-minute bookings on the spot.
Restaurant Les Marmottes on Furi
The small mountain restaurant Les Marmottes is run by a laid-back young team and scores points with its own products: as much of the meat as possible comes from the restaurant’s own farm (Eringer, lamb, veal and beef). As an example, the air-dried beef is produced from the meat of the farm’s cows. Other specialities are game dishes with meat from Zermatt game that the host, a keen hunter, supplies to the restaurant himself. The icing on the cake is an alp-cheese carpaccio made with own alp cheese, matured in the summer months on nearby Moosalp where the farm’s cows are sent for their summer holiday. New this year is a smoke oven to produce home-smoked salmon for pasta.
North wall delights
The piste and access road to Stafelalp are both open. Here, skiers and winter-walking fans can marvel at the imposing north wall of the Matterhorn and feast on hot-stone meat dishes in the rustic Restaurant StafelALP, which reopened last winter.
Ski-in Metro-out: CERVO
The Boutique Hotel CERVO has been open since 19 December 2009. Located just above the Sunnegga bottom station, the CERVO ranges between an Alpine chalet, cabin, hunting lodge and design haven, with spacious guest rooms and suites, a terrace with Matterhorn views, cosy lounges and a stylish bar. The restaurant is open to non-residents and offers a small but select menu with Alpine tapas as an appetizer, sausage and air-dried meat from local game, grill specialities and selected wines.
The Hotel Matthiol has already quietly celebrated opening for the winter season 2009/10. Now the hotel, which enjoys celebrity support from Hollywood, is ready to step on to the red carpet of Zermatt hotels.
Award for the Firefly
The Firefly apartment hotel is the first hotel in Zermatt to be awarded a Minergie (energy saving) Certificate. It has officially received four stars and been nominated by the Condé Nast Traveller as one of the ten most stylish hotels in the Alps. Congratulations glow-worm!
The Christiania has a new bathing world and wellness facilities. These combine wellness, sport and beauty to offer hotel guests a complete pampering programme. The massage treatments and hairdressing salon are also available to non-residents. The ventilation system in the entire bathing and wellness area has also been renewed. The waste heat from the air-dehumidifying system will now be used to heat the water in the swimming pool, meaning a saving of around 50 % in energy costs despite the additional attractions in the pool.
The Beau-Site has a beautiful new pool and offers guests a whirlpool landscape with huge Jacuzzis measuring six and eight meters in diameter.
Art at the Hotel Post. Hotelier Martin Perren takes pride in being a gallery owner and this winter is showing a collection of works by Yassim Marie Ben Bella. The vernissage is at 19.00 h on 22 December 2009 in Papa Caesar.
Not just for chocoholics
In the village since 2008, the Boite à Chocolat now has a patissière from the Ticino, Crystal Henneh, who every day creates fresh pralines, tartlets, cakes and truffes. The tempting chocolate tastings offered by the Boite à Chocolat are not just for chocoholics. By day you can enjoy varieties of hot chocolate and in the evening sip a cocktail at the bar until midnight.
The Vernissage pampers guests with tasty tapas specialities or a superb 3-course menu during the daily Cine Dinner.
Show me the way to the next whisky bar
On Saturdays, the Gilde Restaurant Ambiance in the Hotel Ambiance offers a Single Malt Tasting menu: a fitting single malt is served with each course together with an explanation and documentation.
New host at the Hotel Monte Rosa
And her name is Friederike Cossardeaux.
A Matterhorn made of cheese
Zermatt’s cheese-making tradition is as old as the mountain farming at the foot of the Matterhorn. Nevertheless, in the second half of the 20th century, this tradition fell victim to the centralization of the dairy industry and Zermatt’s last cheese dairy closed down. In 2003, Mirjam and Reto Gobba-Wyrsch revived the Zermatt cheese-making tradition with their Horu Dairy (Horu is the local name for the Matterhorn). With seven cows and a small yet select assortment of dairy products, they rapidly attracted the attention of local people as well as guests. Today, the Horu Dairy presents the first Matterhorn made of cheese, using a mould fashioned by a wrought-iron smith from the Upper Valais. The cheese mountain weighs one kilo and can be admired, sampled and bought on workdays between 16 and 18 h at the Horu Cheese Dairy in the Oberhäusern district of the village.
The disco-nightclub on the ground floor of Grampis has a new name: Disco Club *THE CAVE*. The club is now focusing on technology and themes. Investment has been made in a new sound and lighting system with a built-in snow machine, and special events, live acts and themed evenings will make the nights sizzle!
Z’ART rocks Absolut
The special editions launched by Absolut Vodka at Christmas have long achieved cult status. After the Masquerade and Disco editions proved runaway bestsellers, the Absolut Vodka Rock Edition is now lining up as the successor. In Switzerland, the limited edition is only available in ten selected bars. The Z’ART is one of these ten locales and the only one in the Valais to offer the limited, studded leather bottle during this winter season.