Land full of flavour

Dear journalists,

The exceptional diversity of landscapes in Valais makes for a mouth-watering variety of local produce. You’ll find cheeses with floral notes, fruit and vegetables bursting with goodness, delicious dried meat, rare spices – and of course robust wines full of flavour. From the floor of the Rhône valley through the sun-soaked vineyards and orchards and up to the alpine pastures, Valais is a true garden of delights: here, ancient skills combine with gastronomic innovation to promise a unique gourmet adventure.

The variety of terrain – soils, exposition, microclimate, altitude – also finds expression in the award-winning local wines. Valais is known as Switzerland’s largest wine-growing region, with 5,000 hectares of vineyards and the greatest diversity of grape varieties in the world. About 50 different Vins du Valais AOC showcase this heritage: native local varieties such as Arvine, Cornalin and Humagne Rouge, the ever-popular Fendant, Heïda and Syrah, and blends based on Petite Arvine, Pinot Noir and Gamaret impress wine experts and amateur enthusiasts alike.

The traditional specialities of Valais, often reinterpreted, also include rye bread, apricots, asparagus, saffron, air-dried meat and of course Raclette AOP cheese. High-quality produce, inventive cuisine and a long tradition of gastronomy and hotel hospitality: Valais is heaven for foodie travellers.

Like to find out more? Don’t hesitate to contact us: we would be delighted to provide you with further information or organise interviews.

«King of hoteliers, and hotelier to kings»

César Ritz centenary | The year 2018 marks the centenary of the death of César Ritz, pioneer of the luxury hotel industry and founder of the Ritz hotels in Paris and London, among many others. Born in Niederwald, a village of the Goms (upper Rhône) valley, he won a worldwide reputation as the «king of hoteliers, and hotelier to kings». He had the gift of being able to identify the essence of hospitality and a warm welcome – and put it all into practice. César Ritz died on 23 October 1918, leaving an unrivalled legacy. During summer 2018, to mark the centenary, the village of Niederwald and the Goms valley are celebrating the legendary hotelier with a variety of events and activities. The culmination of the festivities will be a series of open-air theatre performances in July and August that will explore the life of César Ritz, his passions, setbacks and achievements – all in an idyllic and authentic setting.

Vineyard with a European recordg

Visperterminen | A delectable excursion awaits you in Visperterminen, situated at more than 1,150 metres above sea level. The «Heida village» is home to the Heida grape variety, known for its fruity and mineral intensity, and boasts Europe’s highest connected vineyard. The steep terraces cover an altitude difference of more than 500 vertical metres; the dry-stone walls capture the warmth of the sun to produce magnificent vintages. Nature-lovers will also find numerous opportunities for idyllic walks here until late autumn. A fascinating theme trail leads up from Visp.

Visperterminen's vineyards in Valais

Dry-stone walls

Ancient know-how | More than 3,000 kilometres of dry-stone walls adorn the terraced vineyards of Valais. The traditional rural building method allowed winegrowers to make the best use of the slopes for planting vines. Beat Locher has made the ancient skill his speciality. He loves working with his hands – and also sharing his knowledge of the history of these walls and the art of making them. «It’s vital to preserve the forgotten know-how of the old builders and pass it on,» Beat Locher says. History holds a special place in his life, because this is the subject he initially studied at the university of Fribourg. He continues to receive work as a historian, but at the same time he is also involved in construction – especially of dry-stone walls. Since 2004, Beat Locher has been working at the company «Schteimüüri», which he co-founded in Leuk. No cement or mortar, no bricks or breeze blocks: dry-stone walls are built by hand using materials provided by nature. They are one of the unmistakable features of the Valais landscape, making the vineyards as beautiful as they are impressive.

Caviar of the Alps

Black gold of the mountains | In the heart of Valais, at Leuk-Susten, the company Kasperskian offers one of the world’s most precious delicacies: caviar. The eggs are carefully taken from living sturgeons in a process that ensures the wellbeing of the fish. Pure, crystalline water and special nutrition for the sturgeons enable production of caviar with exceptional texture and flavour, called «Caviar with Life»: unlike any other.

Kasperskian Caviar, Valais, Switzerland

New: first «wine park» in the heart of Valais

Les Celliers de Sion | «The Cellars of Sion» is the first «wine park» in the heart of Valais and promises a unique experience. Located at the foot of the terraced vineyards, the centre is the starting point for two excursions, one of which is guided. These explore the vineyards and wines, and include tastings and a three-course meal – all in a magnificent scenic setting. A stylish new building welcomes guests for visits, tastings, or simply to take advantage of the wine bar and shop.

Les Celliers de Sion, wine tasting, Valais, Switzerland

Insider tips

  • Insider tip 1

    Wine-tasting boat trip on the largest navigable subterranean lake in Europe

    The underground lake of Saint-Léonard is the largest navigable subterranean lake in Europe. Visitors can experience this magical world in style on a guided 30-minute boat tour that doubles up as a wine tasting. The evening continues at the restaurant of Castel d’Uvrier, surrounded by vineyards, for a seasonal 3-course dinner created by the chef Bruno Toppazzini.

    Largest navigable subterranean lake in Europe
  • Insider tip 2

    Chemin du Vignoble by bike (3 days)

    The «Chemin du Vignoble» («Vineyard Trail») for cyclists follows a scenic route along the sunny side of the Rhône valley, where some of Switzerland’s finest wines are crafted. The itinerary leads from the churches and castles of Martigny through ancient vineyards and villages to the market square in Leuk: along the way, you’ll enjoy fabulous views of the Valais mountains along with a variety of gourmet delights.

    Chemin du Vignoble by bike
  • Insider tip 3

    PALP Festival

    The PALP Festival is an interdisciplinary event to be explored and enjoyed with all the senses. The programme combines contemporary music, art, food, wine and local heritage. You can hear international bands in unconventional locations from alpine pastures to town gardens; enjoy a tasty Raclette while bargain-hunting at a market or dancing to electro music; see a variety of gigs and shows; take part in workshops, and much more. Two events not to be missed this summer: Rocklette in the Val de Bagnes, which mixes rock concerts with Raclette tastings; and Electroclette in Martigny, which combines electronic music with the «World Exhibition of Raclette Cheese».

    To the festival

The magic of summer in Valais – in figures

  • 45 peaks higher than 4,000 metres
  • 40,000 hectares of natural parks
  • 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • 8,000 km of hiking trails
  • 100 working «bisses» (irrigation channels)
  • 1,600 km of official cycle/mountain bike routes
  • 50 grape varieties
  • 8 AOP/IGP products
  • 75 gourmet restaurants