For an average Indian, Switzerland is synonymous with the snow-covered Alps, dreamy blue lakes and lush meadows shown in the movies.
For the outlier traveller searching for local experiences, a trip to Bluche in the Swiss itinerary can be productive.
The small yet significant village is a study in self-sustainability. Here, hospitality students and local farmers work together to create a viable economic model promoting eco-tourism.
The village, located in the Swiss-French part of the Southwestern Switzerland in the canton of Valais, lies 1,200 metres above sea level, and is surrounded by snowy mountains and the lush vineyards of Rhone Valley.
Visit the Les Roches Global Hospitality Education campus for an immersive experience.
The staff and students here work closely with villagers in running a popular bar and fine-dining restaurant on the grounds. The restaurant, Roots, here serves avant-garde dishes prepared by the students and their instructors by using ingredients from nearby farms.
To get a table, making an online reservation in advance is recommended since seating is limited and a table with an exclusive Alpine view can be difficult to arrange on short notice.
Roots is famous for serving authentic cheese, ceviche salads, smoked salmon, tuna and other fish, chorizo and grated cheddar, Swiss lamb, dried beef and Gazpacho accompanied by rare and expensive Swiss wines produced locally in the vineyards of Rhone valley.
The ‘farm to table’ menu is prepared using local, seasonal and ecological meals, most of which come from organic farms within a radius of 100 km.
By this arrangement, students learn to cut down the carbon footprint while obtaining high-quality Swiss wines, meat, cheese, and fresh green ingredients for the college canteen and restaurant. Their purchases are a source of income for the vilagers. By selling local specialities to tourists, Roots makes a profit as students get first-hand lessons in hospitality, management and running a food business.
The village itself can be explored in the space of a day by foot or by car. Arty chalets and small shops are sprinkled across the upper and lower parts of the valley. Larger buildings in the French chateau style add a vintage touch. Some of these old world buildings are rented by students who live near the campus. Houses closer to the farms are occupied by poultry owners, dairy producers, and farmers. The village is spread across the foothills of Alps range, and the nearest town Sierre is connected via bus, taxi and funicular rides.
How to reach
Fly to Geneva or Bern and then take a taxi or train to reach Bluche.