After a day’s skiing in the Swiss alps, Justine Tyerman is treated to a gourmet dinner in the village of Gryon.
There is no better way to celebrate a stunning day on the ski slopes than with dinner by an open fire, fine wine and great company.
After a day at Villars, tourism manager Dominique Geissberger took us to an exquisite restaurant, La Petite Table, in Gryon.
Owned and managed by Jean-Paul and Beatrice Tossens, the establishment is warm and mellow with wonderful ambiance, and the food was lovingly prepared and proudly presented.
We began with a sablé, a local cheese biscuit and a delightful bottle of Les Menades white wine from the Meylan Cave in the Ollon district, followed by a rich, deep red fruity Gamay du Chablais from the Bernard Cave also in Ollon.
We were then treated to a special scrambled egg mousse with bacon. Delicious.
I chose blanquette de veau as my main course, a tasty, hearty veal casserole with mushrooms, potatoes and carrots while my husband opted for a tender beef steak and Caesar salad. We enjoyed the dishes immensely.
The desserts were all too tempting but we finished with biscuits, sweets and tea. A stunning gastronomic experience in a beautiful, cosy environment.
As we dined, Dominique told us about Villars and the history of the region.
One of the first areas to be developed for winter tourism back in the early 1900s, Villars is a picture-perfect village on a natural terrace 1300m above sea level, overlooking the Rhone Valley. Switzerland’s first ski lift was built at Chaux Ronde in 1936 and by 1938, Villars was classed as one of the top resorts in Europe.
Viewed by the über-rich as a safe haven for the education of their children, Villars has long been famous for its prestigious international schools. In the years before WW2 there were 37 such colleges. The five French and English language school that remain today educate more than 800 students a year aged from three to 18 years and are among the most expensive in the world.
When their parents and families visit, they stay just up the road at the five-star Chalet RoyAlp Hotel and Spa.
Dominique said the resort of Villars-Gryon (population 4000) had been highly innovative and courageous in tourism promotion, launching their Free Access Card in 2006 which gives free and unlimited access to over 30 mountain transport facilities and sports and leisure activities to all guests who spend a night in the resort from June to October.
The card has been a great success, raising the summer occupancy in the resort’s hotels to 45 percent, close to the winter occupancy of 55 percent. The nearby 18-hole golf course, a rarity in the alpine setting, is a great attraction in the summer season, along with hiking and cycling.
In the winter season, all children under the age of nine years ski free and stay free in their parents’ rooms in many hotels.
Dominique said the resort was among the first to introduce a free activities pass, a move now copied by many others.
The resort is also a leader in sustainability and minimising the impact of tourism development on the environment.
Villars-Gryon is a stunning resort for all seasons.
- To dine at La Petite Table: www.lapetitetable-restaurant.com/gryon
- To stay at the Chalet RoyAlp Hôtel & Spa: www.RoyAlp.ch
- To learn more about Villars-Gryon: www.villars.ch
- To book the Swiss Travel Pass: www.myswitzerland.com/rail
Justine Tyerman was a guest of La Petite Table and Chalet RoyAlp Hôtel & Spa. She flew Cathay Pacific from Auckland, New Zealand to Paris, France via Hong Kong, then travelled by train to Geneva and rental car to Villars-sur-Ollon.