The best Italian meal you’ll ever have is in Switzerland

Through Erica Firpo for Breaststroke | According to my husband, Darius arya, there is only one reason to go to St. Moritz. Food. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an avid ski enthusiast (off-piste, should I add), but lately his obsession with the small town in the Engadine Valley has been its restaurants, pastry shops and pubs.

St. Moritz is home to some 90 restaurants, including at least four Michelin stars, as well as an annual four-day restaurant Gastronomy festival where the best chefs take a break in their own restaurants to show off their sparkle. Mark your calendar from January 26 to 31: Party 2015 will feature some of Britain’s best chefs to celebrate their discovery of the Swiss winter getaway.

In short, from fondue to mousse, Saint-Moritz is a gourmet enclave.

When Darius suggested a ski vacation, I laughed. I don’t relax in below 70 degrees room temperature, and the kind of sport I enjoy results in an overall tan. But when he mentioned that St. Moritz is a skiing and cooking snowball supernova, I thought it was about time I dusted off my earmuffs, hop on that fabulous red train that runs through the valley. of the Bernina, and directs me to Da Vittorio.

If Saint-Moritz is a galaxy in full explosion of incredible places to eat, Da Vittorio is its star of the Red Giant. The historic outpost Da Vittorio in Bergamo, one of the eight Michelin three-star restaurants in Italy, opened its doors in Carlton Hotel in December 2012 and won a Michelin star in November 2013. Not too bad for a seasonal restaurant.

But Da Vittorio isn’t just a restaurant, it’s a family empire. The Cerea siblings – brothers Enrico, Francesco and Roberto and sisters Barbara and Rosella – took over their father’s Bergamo restaurant and developed into a global philosophy, institution and school, or, better yet, a worship where food is God and God is good.

I met Enrico and the St. Moritz team to talk about Cerea’s food philosophy and what to expect in St. Moritz.

What is Da Vittorio?

Da Vittorio is a family restaurant founded by my father, Vittorio Cerea, in 1966 in Bergamo. He was more than one buona forchetta (literally a “good fork”). He was a self-taught chef who just wanted to share his passion. In 1970, he received his first Michelin star, in 1996 his second and in 2010 his third. My siblings and I continue his legacy and love for cooking by overseeing a large family style team of around 140 people who work together in our restaurant, pastry shop, and catering company to Dimora Boutique Hotel in Bergamo, and now in the new Da Vittorio site in St. Moritz.

So what is Da Vittorio St. Moritz?

Da Vittorio St. Moritz is slightly different from Bergamo. The clientele is more relaxed. They are on vacation, and that is reflected in the menu, style and atmosphere. My brother Roberto and I alternate between Italy and St. Moritz, where we have a team of eleven people, including chef Luca Mancini. He has worked with the Cerea family for six years, and in 2012 he was voted number one emerging chef in northern Italy. Since 2012 he has spent the winter season in St. Moritz and the summer in Bergamo. We bring our more experienced chefs to St. Moritz and introduce and train new chefs in Bergamo.

What can you expect at Da Vittorio St. Moritz?

We focus on Italian dishes, such as our paccheri (Da Vittorio’s signature dish, a simple dough raised to a dazzling level), and we pride ourselves on regional and local traditions and products (like the Bergamo dish sciur, a very spicy aged blue cheese covered with red fruits). All our products, meats and fish come from Italian suppliers with whom we have worked for decades and whom we know personally. We choose what we want and ship it the next day.

Enrico seems to spend most of his time traveling back and forth between St. Moritz and Bergamo to chat with his family and a team of over 100 local chefs and producers. Everything on the table comes from decades-old relationships with Italian farmers and fishermen. The St. Moritz team represents virtually all regions of Italy and is made up of the best sous chefs and students in Bergamo. Its sommelier is a traveling encyclopedia of drinks and chocolate.

And the gastronomy? It’s almost ironic that I traveled outside of Italy to find out what could be considered a basic pasta dish. But it blew me away, like everything on the table.

FIND IT

Da Vittorio

Carlton Hotel

Via Johannes Badrutt, 11

CH-7500 St. Moritz

+ 41-81-836-7000

[email protected]

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