/ Question - Catering in Alpine huts
Can anyone who's been to these huts in June tell me what "some catering" means?
It fairly safe to assume that at the wardened huts you'll get a set menu three course hearty meal.
Special dietary requests (veggie) are occasionally catered for but not garenteed.
I understand the sales of these meals are the wardens main income so you are more likely to remain in his good graces if you join the program and sign up for the big meal and basic breakfast deal. You are likely to also be able to buy food and drinks from a basic menu at other times but after around 5pm you'll be expected to wait until the big meal with the other visitors.
It may seem expensive but how many times in your life are you going to do it...?
Cheers guys.. I'm very happy to take them up on the food rather than lugging it with me!
A word of warning, the huts around Zermatt fill up very fast in the summer, you may need to book ahead to garentee a bed and a meal! Any ideas what your going to climb?
June is pretty early season and you might find plenty of space - certainly on the weekdays - in all but the most popular huts.
When you book the warden should be able to confirm that there will be a meal on offer. Might even be worth an email to the hut at this stage as part of the planning.
However - can you self cater? You'd be best to contact the national clubs that own the huts in the area as the huts operate to their policies.
Often breakfast is the same price as your evening meal which is usually bread and cereal - I tend to take some crunchy oats with milk powder added, then just add water a short distance from the hut on my way out. Having a big meal at the end of the day is pretty good though, but it does add to the cost dramatically.
For the national clubs (CAF,CAI, CAS) the rules are roughly: France, self-catering is often possible in a separate room; Switzerland, warden will cook your food for a small fee; Italy no self-catering in the huts. Not all huts are owned by the national clubs and these may have different rules.
> Often breakfast is the same price as your evening meal which is usually bread and cereal
It is always a lot less in my experience but still quite pricey for what you get. Dry bread and luke-warm coffee, as is common in Switzerland and France, is indeed of limited appeal. Normally a bit better in Italy. Evening meals are almost always acceptable, sometimes wonderful
Until when you think about it, you realise that odds are the food has had to be flown in by helicopter. It's certainly far more reasonable when you think about it in those terms.
Two words: Rifugio Monzino. The evening meals are excellent (cooked by a Tibetan chef), I happened to be there this summer during a birthday celebration and everyone got a glass of champagne and a slice of cake!
> I understand the sales of these meals are the wardens main income
I didn't realise this, but I'm glad I helped out the warden by having dinner in the Ecrins Hut and bivvying outside a while ago - a good combination - large tasty meal cooked for you, a carafe of vin rouge to enjoy on the terrace while soaking up the views, fill up water bottles and use the bog while at the hut, then retire for a good night's sleep away from the stuffy dormatories full of snoring farting climbers. And all for considerably cheaper than staying at the hut.
Choose your huts with more care :-)
On my first trip we were students on a particularly tight budget. We'd brought out some extremely cheap but extraordinarily vile dried soups and stews which we'd bought in catering packs from a cash-and-carry and split into smaller portions.
We arrived at a hut and handed a bag of unappetising grey dust to the guardian who simply put it on the shelf and gave us each a bowl of delicious stew from the pot he had going. We thought that was a pretty fair trade!
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