/ Question - Catering in Alpine huts

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Boydfest - on 13 Oct 2012
I'm heading to the alps next June and was wondering about catering in the huts. Heading round Zermatt region. The websites show the huts to be open in June, and say "some catering" but don't explain what this means.

Can anyone who's been to these huts in June tell me what "some catering" means?
goatee - on 14 Oct 2012
In reply to Boydfest: Nearly all the huts are wardened and offer a meal service, ie breakfast and dinner. A lot of the huts do not allow you to cook for yourself but some do. These are said to allow self catering. If you wish to cook for yourself you can of course do it outside but check first if you can stay in the hut without buying food.
JLS on 14 Oct 2012
In reply to Boydfest:

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...?
Boydfest - on 14 Oct 2012
In reply to Boydfest:
Cheers guys.. I'm very happy to take them up on the food rather than lugging it with me!
Alex Croall - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Boydfest:

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?
FrJ on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Boydfest:

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.
tallsteve - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Boydfest: The replies you get here are the standard replies to questions of this type. Yep - the warden earns his money from selling food, and if its a club hut pays a nice rent for the privilege of doing so. Thus they want you to buy food.

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.
MG - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to tallsteve:

> 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.

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
Frank4short - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to JLS:


> It may seem expensive...

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.
PondLife - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to MG: Wonderful? I'm not sure if I would go that far ;-)
James Gilbert on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to PondLife:
> (In reply to MG) Wonderful? I'm not sure if I would go that far ;-)

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!
Joe G - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Boydfest)
>
> 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.
MG - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to PondLife:
> (In reply to MG) Wonderful? I'm not sure if I would go that far ;-)


Choose your huts with more care :-)

Howard J - on 01 Nov 2012
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to tallsteve)
Switzerland, warden will cook your food for a small fee

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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