This summer marks an important anniversary and you want to celebrate in style. For the occasion, you’ve invited family members from every generation – your wife, your son, his wife and their 6-year-old daughter – to spend a few days with you in the mountains. You love their company, you love local products and you’ve always dreamt of learning how to make raclette cheese. Well, that’s decided then – this trip is all about that. And there’s only one place to go: the Val de Bagnes! Combining all of its different aspects, Verbier guarantees you an amazing infinite playground!
The sun is already high in the sky when you arrive at Le Châble on a Wednesday morning in July. Before you get to Le Mazot de Fionnay, where you’ll spend the next couple of nights, you stop off at the tourist office to book activities for the whole family. Then, you head to the little corner of paradise where you’ll be staying – Fionnay, a charming village nestled high up in the Val de Bagnes. Fanfan and Christophe Bellwald have converted their traditional “mazot” farmhouse into a restaurant with a bed and breakfast. The place is comfortable and tastefully decorated. You’re dying to relax, but you have something else on your mind. Firstly, take time to enjoy the restaurant’s salads and regional specialities before returning to Le Châble where a real journey back in time awaits you.
At 1:30 pm sharp, you board the little Train des Combins. This takes you to Bruson where you’ll learn all about the history of raclette. Your granddaughter, initially excited by this journey, ends up getting lost looking out along the railway at the pastures that stretch as far as the eye can see. In Villette, at the old Forge Oreiller – one of the region’s museums – you’ll find out how the huge bells worn by the Hérens cows – the bell-ringers – were made. Then you walk to the village of Bruson where you visit the Raclette exhibition and taste some of the hand-picked cheeses. The cherry on the … cheese? The trip is free and includes the train as well as the museum tours!
Tonight’s the big night. To celebrate your birthday in style, you’ve picked an unusual venue: Raclett House. Eddy Baillifard, its cheery owner, is a true ambassador for the Val de Bagnes. Deeply attached to his native Valais and passionate about cheese, he is Mr Raclette himself! Raclette, of course, and other Valaisan dishes and local specialities are on the menu and you’re in for a treat.