Working in the world of Alpine property hardly counts as a bad day in the office. There’s the glorious scenery and pretty architecture, and then there’s the food – hearty dishes that are the perfect accompaniment to an exhilarating stay in the mountains.
If you’re thinking of buying in Switzerland, there are lots of things to consider, of course, but one of them could just be where to find the best fondue. That’s like asking where the best curry house in England is – there are just too many great places to choose from. But having been asked this question recently, it occurred to me that it is not only the quality of the fondue itself that is so important, but the location as well. So with that in mind, here are my top three restaurants for sampling the iconic Swiss cheese dish.
Whymper Stube is to be found in the centre of beautiful – and car-free – Zermatt. Its location sets the scene perfectly for what is always a relaxing dining experience. Its history only adds to the ambiance, as it was from this hotel that Edward Whymper set off for the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn 150 years ago. The fondue isn’t half bad either and there’s a wide selection of cheeses and meats, as well as local specialities, all within a cosy and inviting setting.
In St Moritz, I would recommend the incredible menu at Le Lapin Bleu, where fondue is only one small element of the extensive menu. You are also benefitting from being in the centre of a world-famous resort and, if you are there at the right time, you may be lucky enough to see the White Turf horse racing and polo on the frozen lake.
Similar to fondue is raclette, a Swiss delicacy which involves heating up a wheel of cheese on a hotplate then scraping off tempting, melting morsels. My favourite place for raclette is Le Caboulis in Veysonnaz, in the heart of the Valais. In this rustic and quirky piste-side cabin they serve up to five different types of cow's and goat's cheese from the Valais, with as many hot potatoes as you can eat. A top tip I learned here is to wash it all down with some local white wine, which is apparently better for digesting warm cheese than red. But perhaps the best part of the whole experience is that you can toboggan back down to the village by torch light.
Living/dining area, Chalet Loup Blanc, Nendaz, Valais – Guide price CHF8,300,000
Dining area, Haus Nabucco, Zermatt – Guide price CHF10,900,000