My Latest "Table Travel" Column on Travel Curator: An Authentic Alpine Dinner Party...St. Moritz Style!

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I’m excited to share that I have recently signed on as a contributing editor to the stunning digital luxury lifestyle publication, Travel Curator, for whom I am penning a new series called TABLE TRAVEL. Travel Curator offers a curated compilation of under the radar experiences, city guides and all things worth traveling for – whether it be the perfect cup of coffee, a not-to-miss spa treatment, sweeping mountaintop view or haute hotel du jour.

Just because we can’t travel right now due to the pandemic, doesn’t mean we can’t take a journey to far-flung destinations through cuisine, decor and a curated experience. In my latest installment of TABLE TRAVEL, I transport my guests to my favorite winter wonderland destination, stunning St. Moritz, for an unforgettable dinner prepared by Chef Arie Pavlou at Bistro Ete in Water Mill. Pull up a seat at the table to enjoy a virtual journey to the Swiss Alps complete with alpine-inspired recipes and tips on how to recreate the scene and festive fare at home this holiday season. Check out my design resources, authentic menu, and recipes below so you can plan your own amazing alpine dinner this holiday season….

Upon arrival at Bistro Ete, guests were welcomed to a clear heated igloo where they were served Pink Grapefruit vodka martinis, and traditional Swiss fondue.  Chef Arie shares, “I love creating & eating cuisine from the Alps (fondue, potatoes, truffles) because its ingredients are simple & uncomplicated and of course, it transports me to one of my favorite ski destinations.”

Keeping toasty while we toast!  By the bonfire with my friend Michael Giannelli.

Born and raised on the small Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Chef Arie Pavlou (below) acquired a lifelong passion for hunting, foraging and fishing. Growing up in the peaceful mountain village of Vavla with his younger brother, Sicilian mother and Cypriot father,  Aries’ love for dock to dish and farm to table food was born. Chef’s culinary journey has taken him from Le Cordon Bleu, to the South of France, to New York City where he perfected his craft at top restaurants including the world renowned Le Cirque.

In 1998, Chef Arie moved to Southold, Long Island where he and his family opened Coeur des Vignes L’Hotel & Restaurant Francais, followed by opening Bistro Ete in 2016 in Water Mill which he owns and operates with his wife, Liz.  “The bounty of farms, vineyards and proximity to the sea make it possible to present French cuisine utilizing seasonal and local ingredients.”  Pavlou is also an author of a foie gras and soup cookbook, as well as a trilogy of romance novels.

A delicious traditional Apéro platter of Grisons air-dried beef, cornichons, and pears were shared in the igloo.
“Lola is our adorable 5 year old Yorkie whom we adopted from a car mechanic Daddy, to a Chef Daddy who now feeds her truffles, caviar & foie gras. Everyone knows she has Chef Arie wrapped around her little paw,” says Arie’s wife Liz.

Designing the tabletop decor is my favorite part of planning an event, and the best place to shop for exclusive pieces is at my friend Michael Gianelli’s store,  East Hampton Gardens.  Not only is Michael (above) the most fun, charming guest at my dinner parties, he’s also such an inspiration to design a great theme with. I wanted to recreate the look of the luxurious events I attended during my last visit to Saint Moritz for the White Turf Horse Races, which is the annual highlight of their winter season.  Due to the pandemic, of course the races were canceled this year, so why not treat my guests to the delicious cuisine and decadent decor that make the festivities so memorable.

Setting the scene!  I discovered a great new design resource called Party Mosaic which allows you to rent these gorgeous Tibetan fur throws and pillows.

“For me, the tablescape comes alive when there is a mix of elements to add interest and charm. I knew the perfect set of dinnerware would be the Oiseaux Foret from Gien France,” shares Michael.  “The rustic charm of the woodland birds pairs so well with the dark woven chargers and bamboo flatware.  The dinner plates have a simple khaki trim on them and can be ordered in 12 different colors at East Hampton Gardens.”

Michael designed a lustrous centerpiece of Eucalyptus, magnolia and cedar is in a rustic terra-cotta pot from Campo Di Fiore.

The Juliska Woven Chargers gave a nest like backdrop for the pretty patterned Gien France Woodland Bird dinner plates, salad plates, bread plates, and mugs, all available at East Hampton Gardens, 16 Gingerbread Lane.

My favorite Bamboo flatware set is also by Juliska, at East Hampton Gardens. I found these perfect “Casablanca” printed cotton napkins online at Party Mosaic, which offers one of the largest linen inventories available for event rental.

DINNER IS SERVED!

I love printing stylish menus for my dinner parties. They become part of the design and also get your guests excited about what’s about to be served.  Chef Arie’s menu was created with artisanal ingredients from local purveyors and farm stands.

Chef Arie selected Avalanche Swiss Wine. “We are the only restaurant in the Hamptons that serves it exclusively.”

All of our truffles come from the Truffle Lady @Done4NY

Flambe! Before the escargot was served, Chef Arie fired it up with a splash of Grappa.
The duck was sourced at Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue.

•SWEET POTATO & GINGER SOUP RECIPE•

•SWISS HASH BROWNS RECIPE•

Bistro Ete is now serving an Apres Ski themed al fresco dinner on the patio with heaters and igloos. Plus, don’t miss Fondue Fridays, enjoy Swiss wine pairings with fondue every Friday night. 760 Montauk Highway, Water Mill. All photos in this feature by Ben Potter. Follow Ben HERE on Instagram.

So are you ready to plan a trip to St. Moritz? Travel safety and guest precautions due to the pandemic have been implemented at my two favorite hotels which are open for the winter season now. Be sure to read my features on the Kulm Hotel HERE and the Grand Hotel Kronenhof HERE.