Thursday, January 6, 2011

Poppy does St Moritz - Sunshine, Snow and Alpine Air

I have just come back from the most amazing two weeks in St Moritz-
Sunny skies, fresh powder on the slopes, water you can drink from a tap, and most importantly….fresh alpine air.

St Moritz is a playground for the rich and has got both summer and winter hedonism covered. I will give you two pieces of advice before booking a trip. The first is to make sure you go with a lot of money and/or if you don’t have a lot of money unashamedly like me, then make sure you go with someone who does.

As this is a food blog - I won’t go into detail about the activities such as skiing, tobogganing, running around the lake and snow skating that are on offer - but I will touch on my two most memorable and affordable foodie highlights.

Favourite haunts:

Alpina Hutte
Best hut on the mountain for après ski in the sunshine. They offer really good Gluhwein (a personal favourite). Expect to pay around £8 a glass and about the same for an ice cold Heineken. There is a local liqueur that the bar men seem to take shots of all day.  I would suggest letting them to only convince you to have one shot, otherwise you may not be able to ski home like one of my companions experienced. After one shot you would have to be crazy to go back for a second round anyhow, it is not the tastiest of beverages. A DJ (David Guetta lookalike) plays club anthems from around midday and by 3:30 as the sun threatens to disappear behind the snowcapped mountains, you can find Italianos and Russians etc dancing on tables with their hands in the air. At minus 25 degrees it is very much a case of dance to survive.

La Baracca
Where: In the carpark at the ‘Signal’ cable-car station in St Moritz Bad

When: 9:30pm New Years Eve Eve
What: Alpine shabby-chic. It looks like an old non-descript farm shed from outside and the fact that it is in a car-park makes it look even less appealing. I didn’t look twice at it until a local told me about it. On arriving you are made to battle with the smokers at the front door step, and then on walking inside you are forced to peer through a pink velvet curtain in which time the ambiance will capture you
Who:  Me and three friends
Food:  A small menu is displayed on blackboards dotted around the restaurant. The menu changes regularly and there are sufficiently three options for entrée, main and dessert. The cuisine is simple but prepared and cooked to absolute perfection
Drinks: Tell the waiter what sort of wine you want and he/she will find you the perfect tipple. There is no wine list
Price: £120 for two people and three courses + a bottle of wine
Service: Our waiter looked like he had just snowboarded straight off the mountain. He was studying finance at a Swiss university, he was very personable and well spoken and knew everything about wine. It worked. Very well
Clientele: Every billionaire/ess and their sons, daughters and dogs (Because the dog can also fly in for Xmas in the private jet)
Ambiance: The entire restaurant is candlelit (as you will see from my poor photos of the food). This you would think would create a lovely romantic ambiance…however because tables are shared by separate dining parties it is not the sort of place to get romantic. Like most places in St Moritz, it is intimate for the reason that the people you are sitting next to probably also belong to the same ski club or private members club as you do, or perhaps they are your neighbour in Chelsea. Hence it is okay to share tables because you probably already know the person next to you. Flowers were hung straight from their stems from the beams supporting the roof. This added another nice touch

Saw: Mostly large tables of men, all very eligible too. For some reason in St Moritz I noted the ratio of men to women was heavily off balance. We weren’t complaining
Bathrooms: As I am not always on form after drinking at altitude I can’t specifically remember the bathrooms. I do however remember that they were quirky and most importantly clean
Would I go again?  Yes…I wanted to go the following night, but alas it was New Years Eve and it was booked out
Also of note: Following on from here everyone goes to private member’s club Dracula’s, I would recommend trying to get an invite in there and not settling for a night out at Diamond.