I recently visited St Moritz and had the good fortune to meet a fantastic “restauratrice,” Daniela Räbsamen, who runs three restaurants in the small village of Celerina.
I found it truly inspiring how she prepares her restaurants for the long winter season. A few weeks before the first big snow falls, her cellar is full of nature’s gifts that grow throughout the summer and fall. Carrots, corn, eggplant, etc., are all conserved and stocked in jars in the most colourful and tasty display.
After having carefully selected the right variety of vegetables, they conserve them with vinegar or water, adding salt or sugar and even alcohol. Carrots, for example (what I have in my hands on the picture below), are being conserved with distilled, boiled water; fruits are conserved instead with sugar and lemon from Lake Garda, with salt.
Daniela is passionate about her job, and her dedication and love for the products is a great inspiration for all of us. The average duration for these conserves is from 18 to 24 months, although the fruits and vegetables never really last that long in the cellar and are usually consumed within nine to 10 months, due to high demand during the winter season.
Almost 400 to 500 homemade conserves are being stored like this, which means a good 1,000 litres in total! At the end of the winter season there is not much left on the shelves.
The menus are being created in a coordinated manner based on this homemade supply: approximately 5,000 meals can be made during the winter season with these products, and, of course, when the product is used up, the menu is changed accordingly.
As the Engadin Valley is known as a great region for meat lovers, Daniela of course also has her own aging chamber, too.
Bravo, and respect!