You’ll find all the usual Valais cuisine here – plenty of fondue, raclette and other cheesy dishes. But the speciality is the wine. The Vin de Glacier is only found in the Val d’Anniviers – in fact, only in Grimentz. The 1888 wine was decanted into an earlier 1886 cask, and this year’s wine into an earlier cask too. The same operation is repeated every year and the casks are never totally emptied – with the residue of wine sometimes forming a 4cm crust. The casks are kept from generation to generation and many are now over 250 years old. Grimentz has about 60 wine cellars, and there are around 100 in the whole of the commune, all of them storing a cask of the famous wine.
Good eats in the village
Our favourite place to eat in Grimentz is the preternaturally cute Claire Fontaine (+41 27 475 24 96), a simple dining room set in the heart of the old village, which serves crepes and the most amazing green salad. Actually, it’s the spicy salad dressing that’s amazing.
“What do you put in it?” we asked.
”Everything,” they told us.
”What, so oil and vinegar, of course?”
“And red chillis?”
”Yeah…and mustard, and mayonnaise, and oregano, and other aromatic herbs.”
”What aromatic herbs?”
“It’s a secret.”
If you’re planning a visit to Grimentz any time soon, can you see if you can catch them off-guard, and find out what those other herbs are? We’d love to know.
The skiing hub of the Val d’Anniviers
Other eateries include the warm and welcoming Le Meleze, which has a variety of dishes ranging from crepes and galettes to steak tartare. The house speciality is grilled meat, which you cook yourself. Hotel Alpina’s restaurant serves local and regional gastronomic specialities. Arlequin (+41 27 475 32 02) serves pizzas, pasta, and an excellent selection of ice creams. Becs-de-Bosson is recommended for its Valais specialities such as raclette, Hotel Moiry’s restaurant has murals depicting the valley’s famous fighting cows. A wood-fired raclette is the other highlight. In Hotel Cristal’s restaurant try the goat’s cheese salad with local honey followed by king prawn risotto with cayenne pepper.
Not as much variety up the mountain
Most people gather at the big and charmless Bendolla self-service (+41 27 476 20 15) at the mid-station of the same name. But if mountain atmosphere is what you’re after, we suggest going higher – for example to the Buvette d’Orzival (+41 27 476 20 17) at the bottom of the Orzival drag, which describes itself as having “a small menu in magnificent surroundings”.