© Jen Murphy
Stunning views from Chalet Etoile.
On my recent ski trip to Zermatt, our days were largely planned around where we’d be eating lunch on the slopes. A separate ski pass allowed us to cross the border into Italy, where we could ski around the resort of Cervinia. Everyone in town told us to call ahead and make reservations for Chalet Etoile, located on a blue run above Plan Maison. The bombshell Swedish chef, Ulla di Frassy, and her Italian husband ride up the mountains on snowmobiles at 5 a.m. each morning to start prepping for the lunch crowds. The always-changing, rustic Italian menu featured outstanding specials like grilled lobster and spaghetti, a dish of three grilled meats (mountain goat included), Flintstones-size spareribs and a lovely artichoke pappardelle. If the sun is out, the large deck has spectacular mountain views, and speakers blare Abba songs. The warm Bombardino drink doubles as dessert and is deceptively potent: a mix of advocaat—a creamy yellow liqueur made from egg yolks, sugar, brandy and vanilla—and whiskey. I probably would have gone for the towering tiramisù instead, had I known our waitress was going to give us extra-large shots of Etoile’s homemade grappa as a parting gift to keep us warm on our trip back to Switzerland.