About Sasha H
Lives in Healey, United Kingdom
Since Jan 2015
I’ve swum with wild dolphins in the Maldives, fed baby kangaroos in Australia, spent hours in the shopping malls of Dubai and crash-landed a hot-air balloon in Poland – having spent the last decade travelling and freelancing, I am a joyful, nosy traveller, always meeting new experiences head on. I enjoy digging into the culture, listening to what’s happening around me and taking thousands of photos on the way. Thanks to two decades of travelling extensively through Europe, the Middle and Far East and the Caribbean, I know the cities and countries I write about inside out. And even though I live in the Yorkshire Dales – surely the most beautiful place on earth – I never lose my enthusiasm for skiing in Zermatt, visiting my favourite cities in Italy and Poland or discovering new places to shop in Dubai.
Surprisingly relaxed for high-end Zermatt, Café du Pont is tucked into a traditional wooden chalet and is the oldest restaurant in town. It is the go-to place to sample raclette (a fondue of melted cheese, potatoes and cured salamis) and delicious plates of rösti potato patties; or to try the local delicacy, fondue flavored with Kirsch, a local fruit brandy. Thanks to the reasonable prices and casual vibe, Café du Pont is the perfect pit stop for ravenous families after a day out on the slopes.
The brightest star in the luxury Riffelalp Resort’s firmament is a rare treat — Alexandre is a restaurant with fantastic, inventive food combined with amazing views over the Alpine foothills to the Matterhorn. With a choice of a la carte dishes and set menus served in muted surroundings, the seasonal dishes at Alexandre may include veal or a selection of river fish; while the wine list is extensive and includes bottles to suit all budgets. Open only in the evening with its roaring fires and backdrop of twinkling stars, Alexandre is surely one of the most romantic spots in the Swiss Alps.
Opened in December 2014 to great acclaim and one of a new breed of sleek, stylish eateries offering traditional Swiss specialty cooking, Ferdinand — at the famed CERVO Mountain Boutique Resort above Zermatt village — is all clean lines, pine and zinc counters. Along with the Valais and Gruyere cheese fondues and raclette, the menu offers a great selection of organic Angus steaks cooked on the BBQ and served with truffle fries, as well as a decent selection of local wines.
Zermatt is not known for its street food, so this minuscule crêperie does a roaring trade with a well-priced range of sweet or savory pancakes and waffles, as well as ice cream and hot chocolate topped with a mountain of cream. Crêpes stuffed with good local cheese and ham are a good option for filling up the kids on a budget before allowing them a chocolate and banana treat and letting them loose on the piste to burn off their sugar high.
Open since 1965, Fuchs is one of Zermatt’s best-loved bakeries, with all its tasty produce cooked daily on the premises. This is the place to pick up the very finest Swiss chocolates in beautiful packages, freshly-baked rye bread, pralines, and delicious Zermatter Birnenbrot (a thin pastry stuffed with fruit that goes perfectly with sweet dessert wines). Fuchs now has three stores in the village; the branch on Getwingstrasse also has a small bistro open daily until 7pm, serving simple dishes such as macaroni cheese and quiche.
One of the liveliest options for après ski in Zermatt is The Snowboat, which opens early evening for dinner. Its mixed menu features tuna steaks, Southern American-style fajitas and quesadillas — that make a nice change from the typically Swiss fare served in many Zermatt resorts — and there’s a children’s menu too. Things start to get lively at around 9pm with live music and acoustic guitar, and the action ramps up further a couple of hours later with hardcore DJs.
Found in a sunny spot below the Sunnegga funicular top station, Findlerhof makes a great lunchtime stop for hearty fish soup and a glass or two of vino. Plus, the traditional wooden chalet has a suntrap terrace that is perfectly placed for views of the sculptural Matterhorn. This 20-year-old family-owned restaurant is known for serving up lashings of truffle pasta from the Italian menu alongside regional Swiss dishes such as lambs’ liver served with fried rösti potatoes, while a special treat is the famous Findlerhof dessert, which includes a tasting of several desserts on offer that day.
Tucked away in a hamlet that was once home to a farming community, Zum See is found in a 17th-century wooden chalet festooned with flowers, and is a little piece of paradise for both winter skiers and summer walkers. With the Matterhorn as a glistening backdrop, Zum See is widely regarded as one of the top mountain restaurants in the world, overseen by chef Max Henning, whose hearty fish soup, venison ravioli, and celebrated vanilla mille-feuille pastries keep happy punters coming back for more and more.