This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Grindelwald, Switzerland

View of the mountains from Männlichen.
 When travelling abroad I'm always a little apprehensive about what kind of food I'm going to be able to get, especially when the area I'm visiting is famous for dipping small chunks of white bread into melted cheese. I've been to Switzerland a few times but have either been in the cities where sourcing vegan food is quite easy due to the amazing array of vegetarian restaurants or I've been in the mountains, skiing or walking, and have opted for a quick visit to the Coop on my way down the mountain each day to have a picnic on the balcony of our hotel room.

This week we've just been skiing in Grindelwald and our hotel, while convenient to the bus stop and ski lifts, wasn't as convenient to the Coop. As a result we took a rather brave decision to try to find vegan food in the local restaurants. Fortunately, we didn't have to go very far.

View of Grindelwald from one of the runs.
A quick look on Happy Cow and Vegetarious showed that the closest vegetarian restaurant was Davos. It may have been close as the crow flies but not as the trains go. Our hotel, the Sunstar, was able to whip something vegan up with a bit of notice but we had to find somewhere else on the first night. So we decided to go back into the town to find the Coop. Fortunately, we didn't make it very far because as I was waddle wobbling along the icy footpath we spotted a menu with the word 'vegan' on it.

We popped up into Barry's restaurant at Hotel Eiger Grindelwald and, after a rather confusing mix of German and English, managed to establish that there was a vegan option and that there was a table available for an hour. There is only a single vegan option and it is on their winter menu so I have no idea if it will be available in the summer but I can highly recommend the K.L.G. Ragout. I opted for the smaller portion (15 CHF) and also had a small bowl from the salad buffet (9 CHF). The salad was fresh and varied and there were beans and quinoa (quinoa seems to be the new favourite in Swiss salad buffets). The only downside was that the ragout was a little salty for my taste but I did let the restaurant know so hopefully next time it will be OK.

The next evening we had arranged to eat at the Sunstar and were so pleasantly surprised by how accommodating they were for vegans, and how beautifully presented and delicious that food was, that we ate there for the rest of the week. It's not at all cheap (48 CHF per person) but it is for a 5 course meal and the food is specially made for you; it's not just the vegetarian option sans cheese. The starters ranged from antipasti platters to beetroot and orange carpaccio to grilled fennel with a vegetable and rice tower. The soups ranged from tomato to creamed corn to minestrone with olive bruschetta and the salad buffet was always fresh, always had beans and had an amazing range of oils and vinegars available. The mains were always beautifully presented and ranged from a yellow Thai curry with seasonal vegetables and grilled fruit skewers to grilled vegetables and beetroot giant cous cous to even a rosti (a local favourite) with vegetables and a special creamy chive sauce they made from soya milk. But I think my favourite part, by far, was the puddings: grilled figs with mango puree, soya yoghurt and marinated blueberries and even chia pudding with fresh fruit. It was just really lovely to go somewhere where the chef took the time to cater for vegans and didn't just throw together some vegetables and pasta.
The Sunstar hotel in the shadow of the Swiss alps.
I would also recommend the skiing in Grindelwald! I'm not a great skier but some of the routes are absolutely beautiful, especially those from the tops of the mountains back into the towns. A couple of favourites were the routes from Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald, Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg and Kleine Scheidegg to Wegen.

Great skiing and great food: Grindelwald is an excellent place for a vegan skier!

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