A week on the Verbier slopes

trav-philippaverbier2TRAVELLING chef Philippa Davis from Shaftesbury has had a busy winter and early spring with visits to the Caribbean, Scotland and Switzerland where she was catering in a chalet at Verbier …


Never having been a seasonaire (usually someone in their early 20s who spends their winter working in a chalet and off on the piste in some ski resort) I was not sure what to expect when asked to cook in Verbier.  With a chalet girls/boys reputation of working and playing seriously hard, I hoped I could keep up with the pace…

The journey there was stunning. I flew into Switzerland, hopped onto the train that whizzed by the elegant Lake Geneva, then onto a bus that snaked up the mountain until I finally arrived in the swish ski resort of Verbier. I am very glad I packed my The days flew by as the chalet routine is rather busy – up with the snow plough at 6am I was heading off to the bakery to get the first batch of croissants fresh from the oven. A big breakfast of meats, cheeses, fruit, eggs, bircher muesli and yogurts fuelled the skiers for their day ahead on the slopes.

When breakfast has been cleared up and a tea time treat has been baked this would be when, if you were in the swing of things, you too would head off out to the piste. If you were sensible however you would have a quick afternoon nap, providing you didn’t have to shop.

Shopping up the side of a mountain has its challenges. On the positive side there was an amazing butchers, cheese shop, bakery and even the vegetables were impressive considering our location. Getting them back to the chalet is not quite such a positive experience. Over the week I unintentionally perfected my free style skating and am now worthy of a gold medal, although I don’t think path sliding is an Olympic sport, yet.

trav-philippaverbierWhen the guests arrive back to the chalet around tea time they all need there little sugar fix after an energetic day on the slopes. Cakes, tea and hot chocolate are all served, then the fire is lit and it’s time to start the five course supper.

When the last plate is washed, the glasses all polished and the breakfast table is laid, then you’re off the hook. Then you too could go off out on the “piste’ to one of the many late night bars and clubs tucked into the mountain OR off to bed, but that’s only if you were sensible…


Hot chocolate with cream


As comforting and warming as hugging a big hairy St Bernard, a mug of good hot chocolate is the perfect sugar fix for a day out on the chilly slopes. I used Swiss chocolate and then cream from the laitiere in Verbier for my guests but the important point is to get good quality ingredients. For me, making hot chocolate by this method is so much superior to any powdered cocoa/ hot chocolate you can get.


Per person for an 8 oz mug you would need:

4 squares of 70 % chocolate

Milk (almost one mug full)

a generous spoon of thick cream

Heat the chocolate and the milk in a sauce pan, whisking a little to get a slight foam. Once the chocolate is melted pour into the mug and slide in the spoonful of cream