Looking for a present? The gift that's also a good deed!
I'm also a farm and a crafts enterprise. Not merely an advertising slogan, but a reality for many of the Responsible Hotels of Switzerland. The underlying concept: the hotel wants to be certain that the foods it processes are produced sustainably and that they meet the highest quality standards. There are several examples of hotels that put this philosophy into practice.
400 kilograms of honey for guests
The Grandhotel Giessbach on Lake Brienz cultivates vegetables and herbs in its own garden, while flowers that will be cut and used for decoration bloom beside them. The hotel also works in close collaboration with beekeeper Heinz Gertsch. He is in charge of apiculture in the park that belongs to the hotel: the bees here yield 400 kilograms of honey each year. Lukas Stadler, Head Chef at the Grandhotel, is convinced: "Fresh ingredients from the Grandhotel Giessbach’s garden give our dishes that extra-special flavour. And we’re proud of that"! Everything produced on the farm is processed and put to use in the hotel or sold at reception in the form of end products, so guests can take a little bit of Giessbach back home with them.
«From production to plate: the distances couldn’t be shorter!»
Finest vintages from hotels’ own wineries
The Living Circle is a group that includes not only the Hotel Storchen, the Widder Hotel, the Alex Lake Zurich and the Hotel Castello del Sole in Ascona, but also a large number of agricultural enterprises. The group is a shining example of the farm-to-table concept in practice. Menus and drinks lists in the hotels’ restaurants and bars tempt guests with home-produced polenta, rice and pasta from Ticino, organic beef from Vermes in the Jura and breakfast eggs from Schlattgut ob Herrliberg. The group is especially proud of the Ticino Merlots from Terreni alla Maggia, which have won many awards. In 2016, for example, the first vintage of the Ascona Riserva won the prestigious award for the best Merlot in Switzerland.
Spring water for cooling the seminar rooms and fish farming
KARTAUSE ITTINGEN operates its own agricultural estate with a range of farming activities that include livestock and fish breeding, a dairy farm, a vineyard, an orchard and arable cultivation as well as a nursery, butchery, cheese dairy and a wood oven bakery: the farm manufactures well over 200 products directly on site. The own spring feeds all the wells on the site, is used for trout farming and also cools part of the seminar rooms in summer, on its way to the cattle shed. All of this helps guests to rest assured that they are enjoying home-made products and «0 km menus » supplied directly from the hotel's own farm. Chef de Cuisine Jürgen Stöckel sums it up in these words: «For a chef, almost nothing could be more beautiful than watching products actually grow on the plates, so to speak.»
Blankets made of wool from the hotel's own flock of sheep
Schloss Wartegg near Rorschach on Lake Constance is located in 13 hectares of parkland that surround the castle. Varieties of flowers, berries, vegetables and herbs listed in the ProSpecieRara inventory are planted here – and the castle grounds are also home to a flock of Graubünden Oberland sheep, a breed that is threatened with extinction. Thanks to the sheep, there is no need to mow the meadowland or spread extra manure – and they also inject life into the vast castle gardens. Oberland sheep are a listed ProSpecieRara breed, and they are also renowned for keeping a watchful eye. The annual shearing of the sheep yields handsome quantities of fluffy wool that is used to make blankets, fleeces and knitted souvenirs, on sale in the hotel kiosk.
«Anybody living in the natural environment of the Graubünden mountains understands the importance of sustainability.»
Organic beef from next door
Top quality on the table, to be enjoyed with a clear conscience: this was the idea behind the Valbella Organic Beef project launched by the Valbella Resort at Lenzerheide together with Marco Parpan, the organic farmer whose land is adjacent to the hotel. The Valbella organic cattle are reared on this family farm using methods appropriate to the species, and in summer they graze on the fresh mountain pastures that surround the Valbella Resort. Organic farmer Marco Parpan views responsibility as his overriding principle: «Anyone who lives amid the natural environment of the Graubünden mountains, as we do, understands the importance of sustainability.» Through the Valbella Organic Beef project, the hotel can pass on a little authentic Graubünden nature to its guests. André Mühlhausen, Chef de Cuisine at the Valbella Resort, also believes that this is exceptionally important. «I appreciate our exchange with local producers and farmers. I find that the natural environment of the Graubünden mountains is an inexhaustible source of inspiration.»
The focus here is not only on the meat that is normally used, but also on sustainable utilisation of the entire animal – from nose to tail. «Because in my kitchen, we need to be open-minded and appreciative of every single product», Mühlhausen adds.