The Haylofts – Luxurious escape to simplicity

Chiavenna – We spent a weekend in the mountains in Italy near the Swiss border. We learned from these stunning hay lofts from a friend. He had bought the land from the local farmers who historically used them as shelter for their goats when they brought the herds up from the valley to a higher altitude in summer. The new owner of the hay lofts rebuilt the tables into to these spectacular lofts.

You should not be afraid of heights and narrow winding streets as the journey to reach the haylofts is quite an adventure. From Switzerland you take the route over Splugen pass….in itself a wonderful and breathtaking area.

Splugen Pass Switzerland

You can choose from three different hay lofts, some with a romantic view into the forest or and others overseeing the valley. All of the lofts feature panoramic windows which is unique for this type of rustico buildings which usually come with very small windows.

There is even a spa house, which again comes with panorama window and phenomenal view. Jacuzzi and sauna are heated with wood which means that you need to let the staff know a few hours in advance if you’re planning to take a hot bath….but the unique architecture of the calidarium built all from local natural material makes this a absolutely unforgettable experience.

Each hay loft features its own kitchen so that you can cook your own meals or you can ask for catering service. There is obviously no central heating but the fire places do an awesome job in making you feel cosy and warm. If you are looking for some peace, pure nature and relaxation this place could not be more perfect.

www.valde-escape.com

Interior

Exterior

The Standard High Line Hotel – Hotel, Roof Top Bar and Lounge – way above the standard…

New York – One of my favourite location during my last visit in New York was definitively the Standard High Line Hotel besides the High Line Park.

The complex is located in the Gansevoort/Meat packing area where there are other countless great places to shop or eat/drink.

On the ground floor of the Standard is a  lounge “The Standard Plaza” where you can relax outside in summer and drink or eat all day/evening long. The Biergarten also belongs to the hotel…I do not have to explain what the Biergarten is?

But my favourite spot is on the very top of the building: The BAR. “The Top of the Standard”. You have stunning views over the city and the water. But you should also look inside: The architecture, decoration…and most stunning staff with the most amazing shiny silk mini dresses I have seen as a “staff uniform”….So it does not really matter if you go during afternoon, enjoy the sunset or the night scenery, your eyes will be delighted anyway.

The also do brunch on Sunday, book in advance, cocktail attire is required.

www.standardhotels.com/high-line

La Baracca – Party shack in the mountains

St. Moritz – Baracca is an  Italian word and means construction shack. This is really true, Baracca is a hut, that holds a very special gastronomic experience.

You should not visit Baracca if you do not like:
-draught
-noise (and very loud music)
-smoke
-people dancing on the tables after 10 pm

If you don’t mind all this and like good food then go on and enjoy this very un-typical restaurant in the chic and sophisticated St.Moritz.

La Baracca (no own website)

 

Refuge L’espace

Les Diablerets – on the 1st of January we managed to get on our skis and found this restaurant with its spectacular view and a massive rock that looked from far as a needle in the snow.

Beer was out – but we enjoyed the Swiss white wine, the soups and sausages just as well….

www.english.refugelespace.ch

 

Da Giuseppe

Zermatt – In the last three winter seasons we never managed to get a table at Giuseppes. We were luckier with out trekking group two weeks ago. From the outside the building looks unimpressive and also the furniture inside must have seen many guests already but what you get inside food wise is great. Giuseppe is an institution in Zermatt. My recommendation is you take the menu “Mier isch glich” or in English “I don’t care” for 65 CHF. If you are not picky you will not be disappointed in quality and quantity of food. The wine list is good as well – ask for Giuseppes recommendation.

http://www.chalet-da-giuseppe.ch

 

Kitchen around in Zermatt

Zermatt – I read an article about kitchen around in the Zermatt Newsletter and was really disappointed that this great action of kitchen around in different restaurants was only happening in autumn.

So I was happily surprised when I saw the flyer in the ski shop and set up our reservation for the other day.

Our first course was cooked and served for us in the Z’Art (www.zermattart.ch). They have a rather small kitchen but made it even cosier. The cook was alone with his assistant for about 25 seats and us. We could even walk around in the kitchen and found out that “Migros Budget” pans are as good as any expensive ones…

After a short walk we arrived at Cervo (www.cervo.ch) where we were served the main course. We had visited this hotel and restaurant already 1 year ago. I was surprised how many young people work in this reasonable sized kitchen. Our white covered high table at the “Pass” for starters and desserts was a perfect stance to observe the whole kitchen. The friendly lady preparing the delicious meals next to us explained us everything although we knew everyone is always on stress in the kitchen.

After we finished our meal (including a small dessert….) we were brought by taxi to the last restaurant – the  Walliserhof (www.walliserhofzermatt.ch). The chef of the kitchen showed us his empire. This huge kitchen serves food for three different restaurants including the hotel. He explained to us that Japanese always want to try a portion of raclette and share it for 4 people, actually they do not like it.

We were served finally the dessert with a lovely dessert wine followed by grappa.

This was a great night and I learnt a lot about the processes in the kitchen and how important the right cook for the kitchen is. An experience I will not forget.

http://kitchenaround.wordpress.com

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