Eating and hiking is certainly a great combination, as after a long hike you feel that you can indulge that little bit more. A perfect place to combine those two summer activities in style is in Switzerland.
I have recently been travelling a few days in the regions of Grisons and Ticino and would like to share some of my culinary highlights with you.
We started off in Lavin, located in Lower Engadin, just the other side of the Flüela Pass. Lavin is a tiny, quiet village that hides a culinary gem: the hotel-restaurant Piz Linard.
Apart from the rooms, which are very nice, your tummy will be delighted to have landed here. The hotel is “Halbpension” which means you will have both dinner and breakfast at the hotel. The dinner is served in a gorgeous dining room (Arvensaal), where you’ll dine with silver cutlery and exceptional service. But don’t expect a bling-bling place, the luxury lies in the understated simplicity.
Each night the female chef will prepare a set dinner consisting of four courses using the finest produce from the region (the lamb from Engadin was succulent!), prepared and presented with a lot of rigour and love. A pure delight after a long hiking day! (the Swiss national Park is just around the corner) Also don’t forget to try the wine from the region.
Breakfast is equally great and consists of bread, cheese, meat, jam, Birchermüesli, fruits etc. all homemade or locally sourced. The coffee is very good too, which is unfortunately not too common in hotels in my opinion.
Also, when in Engadin don’t forget to try the famous Engadiner Nusstorte, one of my personal favourites!
Next stop: Vals, also home of the world renowned Peter Zumthor thermal bath.
Here we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast called Brücke 49. The place is managed by a Danish women and her husband, which explains the original Danish design pieces and the general very Nordic and cosy feel to the place. The house is intended to make you feel like home with that tad bit more luxury that you long for when in holidays. Mission accomplished! You truly can feel how much passion and devotion went into the place.
Breakfast is super nice, again made from regional and mostly organic products. Bread, cheese, freshly prepared muesli, eggs, good coffee, what more can you ask for to start your day off right!
photo credit: Brücke 49
Oh, and I also had some of probably the best dark chocolate I’ve ever eaten here: organic and fairtrade, 72% dark chocolate, from the Swiss chocolatier Beschle.
When in Grisons, don’t forget to try the local speciality, Pizokel and Capuns. Capuns is a spaetzle dough cooked with dried meat cubes in chard leaves, presented in a creamy sauce. Pizokel is a kind of large spaetzle that tastes actually very similar to an old traditional Luxembourgish dish: Kniddelen, for which I might do a recipe post on here. Prepared with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and grated cheese, it was the perfect pick-me-up after a long hike.
Some culinary souvenir ideas:
Dried meat (Bündnerfleisch), Engadiner Nusstorte (when bought as a whole pie, you can keep it a couple of weeks), pear bread (Birnenbrot, made of dried pears and spices, often eaten with cheese), regional cheese (especially the goat cheese was very nice).