My preferred way of launching into Sundays is with a long, leisurely brunch. To heighten the “brunch” experience even more for us, Zermatt Tourism came up with an interesting experiment: the night before they packed us into a real igloo at minus 20 degrees! We make it to brunch the next morning anyway!
I can’t imagine why, but everyone seems to know by now that I’m a pushover for a good Sunday brunch. I love getting a start on the day comfortably and in a relaxed manner, surrounded by tasty deli fare, fresh jus, and coffee galore, And in good company, of course.
The igloo experiment
It seems, however, that Corinne Ulrich of Zermatt Tourism took this as a challenge: She didn’t just invite us to the standard brunch review, but instead proposes to let us “prep” the night before in an igloo! Make that “shiver,” of course, because at 20 below zero even we are no longer just cool… However, we can never resist a dare either, so we took her up on this challenge — and survived it. With flying colors!
So, the next morning, freshly thawed out, we make our way from our igloo to the Gornergrat railway, which we take down to Zermatt where we plan to stop in at Cervo Boutique Hotel for its much-praised Sunday brunch. With towering expectations! There is also the Cervo’s legendary reputation: while it may not have invented the “Alpine chic” concept, it did much to help shape it. We are excited like newborns — or Arctic explorers!
Cervo Mountain Boutique Resort
When the e-taxi deposits us in front of the Cervo, it quickly becomes clear where the good rep comes from: Nestled against a slope in Zermatt at the edge of the forest in sight of the Matterhorn are eight elegant stone, wood, and glass chalets, each bearing a discreet stag emblem, the “cervo,” which means “stag” in Italian. Or possibly even alpha stag, as we shall see?
The first impression is of a modest space. You enter the main chalet not through a big driveway and revolving door, but up a set of small stairs to then stand in front of a rather plain little reception desk. Another narrow wooden stair then leads up one floor into the Puro Gourmet Restaurant decorated with 14 Gault Millau points. With its low wooden ceiling, it too feels rather small and easily taken in with one glance, although we are told later that it seats 70.
But, we have barely been seated when a pleasant feeling like being at home settles over us. Not that we live in a chalet or hunting cabin, but this is what it might feel like if we did. The cheerful and attentive staff does its part to make us feel welcome and wastes no time making our table practically disappear. Under all the delicacies that grow up here.
À la carte Sunday brunch
We feast on Bircher müesli, croissants, and cheese and more brunch fare before we move on to our tried and proven “Eggs Benedict test.” How high will their version of the famous dish be stacked, what garnishes will they serve with it? Does it come with a side of avocado? Possibly also with some ham and its chives?
The Eggs Benedict tastes outstanding. No contest. Optically and as regards garnishes, however, it is not quite ready to top our Eggs Benedict rankings ;-)
No matter, the overall experience is tops! Along with ample views of the Matterhorn, we “digest” the adventurous night we just passed and now this fine à la carte brunch. Well played!
Getting that Cervo feeling…
The brunch price of CHF 49.- per person is a fair price given the whole experience, in my opinion. The brunch, incidentally, is open to all, not just hotel guests. So, if you book one of the many Zermatt designer chalets, you can still get a good taste of Cervo. To put it another way: The Sunday brunch is the budget-conscious traveler’s way to the Cervo feeling, given that the rooms rent in the upper price range.
Hotelier Daniel F. Lauber
Watching benignly to make sure that all is done just right is Cervo’s senior partner Daniel Lauber. Engineer, member of the Council of States, and longtime mayor of Zermatt, he sees to it that his son and young hotelier Daniel F. Lauber stays solidly grounded despite all the successes that Cervo can regularly proclaim.
When the hotel opened in December 2009, the scion had not yet turned 30 and his — at the time daring — “Alpine Chic” hotel concept on the outskirts of Zermatt at the forest’s edge was given little chance of succeeding. Today, the then-newcomer and hotel designer is after all one of Switzerland’s most successful hoteliers…
Ah! And, by the way: if you think you’ve consumed the last crumb of your brunch, that’s when things really get started! Now, the kitchen goes freestyle and serves up magnificently spiced beef cubes. Followed by desserts that seem to never end…
The indulgent reader at this point may object: isn’t that bit too much food on the table for just two? Correct! At table were eight people, because we turned up with other travel bloggers and Instagrammers. The hilarious photos of bloggers eating will follow later in a “making of” account of this blogger trek…
Many thanks to Zermatt Tourism and the Cervo team for the generous invitation and the outstanding hospitality!
CERVO Mountain Boutique Resort
Phone: +41 27 968 12 12