With Slow Food to Culinary Heights: La Table du Carina Zermatt

In today’s fast paced world, we’re spending less and less time in the kitchen, often using precooked ingredients of mediocre quality. As part of the global „Slow Food“ countermovement, Carina Zermatt has set itself the goal to serve food that’s locally sourced, fresh and always high-quality.

First of all: what really is „Slow Food“?

Initiated in Italy, Slow Food is a global initiative started by cooks, farmers, food traders and culinary experts. The organisation has developed into a network with more than 47‘000 members worldwide by now – and they all stand up for three core values:

  • Good Food: Using ingredients that are tasty and flavourful.
  • Clean Food: Sustainable food production that does not harm the environment.
  • Fair Food: Accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions for producers

Members of the Slow Food organization get access to high-quality foods that are produced in alignment with these values. Additionally, the „Cook’s Alliance“ is a community of professinal chefs that are part of the organisation that uses these products on a regular basis. If you ever want to try slow food, you can’t go wrong visiting a restaurant that is part of the „Cook’s Alliance“.

These values are right in line with what La Table du Carina strives to offer its hotel guests and visitors: Delicious menus that are regional and fresh.

Let’s take the leek as an example: Stated on the menu as „Cervere leek“, the vegetable is delivered to the restaurant weekly during the season right from the town of Cervere in Italy which is famous for the excellent quality of its leeks, grown in the fertile valley adjacent to the Stura River. It has a sweeter taste than usually and is more tender and digestible than usual. Since it’s grown with fair and sustainable practices in place, it qualifies as a „Slow Food“ product.

Slow Food with a Sicilian touch: La Table du Carina

In case you’re wondering why you haven’t found any menu for La Table du Carina yet, here’s your answer: Since many of the ingredients used are seasonal and delivered freshly, supplies for the restaurant change on a daily basis. Gaïa Bongiorno and her kitchen team create a new menu every day with five dishes and two desserts. Surely, this makes their job much harder and improvisation is part of their daily business, but it pays off since you will never get bored by the menu – and the food served on your plate just tastes better thanks to the high-quality ingredients used.

Ready for an glimpse of what these five dishes could potentially look like? Here’s a recent excerpt:

🍽️ Fried Italian mullets, Femminello lemon 🐌 and salsa verde
🍽️ Risotto Principato di Lucedio, black pork `nduja, citron from Sicily
🍽️ Radicchio from Treviso salad, zibibbo grapes from Pantelleria, 🐌 agresto sauce
🍽️ Tortelloni filled with slow cooked brisket doble cream
🍽️ Sourdough bread, beef tartare marrowbone and mustard

Menu La Table du Carina © Leonardo Filippini
Menu La Table du Carina © Leonardo Filippini

Did you notice the snail symbol in the menu card? This marks certified products that were obtained through the „Slow Food“ alliance. Additionally, there’s one thing all dinner menus at La Table du Carina have in common: There’s a very distinct Italian / Sicilian influence which is no coincidence once you find out who’s behind these recipes.

The heart and soul of the kitchen: Gaïa Bongiorno

Be warned: her smile is contagious. When you find Gaïa standing in the kitchen (which is not very difficult since you can follow her cooking your menu right from your table), you’ll immediately see that this young Sicilian chef has found her destiny here in Zermatt. Gaïa cooks in an instinctive, free-spirited manner, but with professionalism only a passionate cook with years of experience has. After growing up in Sicily, she had worked in Milan and at renowned restaurants across Europe before she ended up in Zermatt – the place where her father took her skiing as a child.

For Gaïa Bongiorno, working at La Table du Carina feels more like cooking for her friends than being the chef in a restaurant: The intimate atmosphere with only 35 spaces per evening allows her to cook different and get in touch with her guests directly – and of course adapt the menus to special wishes. „We’re definitely less of a traditional restaurant and more of an intimate pop-up eatery serving dinner“, Gaïa describes the dining experience at La Table du Carina.

The Queen of Risotto © Christian Bürgi
The Queen of Risotto © Christian Bürgi

Fun fact: Gaïa also goes by the name „Queen of Risotto“ at Carina Zermatt. So whenever you spot a Risotto on the menu, you know what to pick for dinner. Buon appetito!

Ready to treat yourself to some „Slow Food“ in Zermatt? La Table du Carina is ready to welcome you. Make sure to reserve your table since spaces are limited.

Have we aroused your interest in “Slow Food”? Discover more chefs and restaurants in Zermatt like for example Hotel Cervo, the rex or Brasserie Uno.

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