In her latest installment of ‘Table Travel,’ Travel Curator lifestyle contributor Kelli Delaney Kot, founder of KDHamptons, transports you to her favorite winter wonderland destination stunning St. Moritz, for an unforgettable festive 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.

Photo Credit: Ben Potter

Igloo Dining: 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. A delicious traditional Apéro platter of Grisons air-dried beef, cornichons, and pears also elevated the igloo culinary experience.

Photo Credit: Ben Potter

Chef’s Signature: “I love creating and eating cuisine from the Alps (fondue, potatoes, truffles) because the ingredients are simple, uncomplicated and the food instantly transports me to one of my favorite ski destinations,” says Chef Arie. Growing up on the small Mediterranean island of Cyprus, chef acquired a lifelong passion for hunting, foraging and fishing, and this 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.

Bistro Ete, Water Mill

Photo Credit: Ben Potter

Chef Arie moved to Southold, Long Island in the late ‘90’s first opening Coeur des Vignes L’Hotel & Restaurant Francais, before establishing Bistro Ete with his wife, Liz in 2016. “The bounty of farms, vineyards and proximity to the sea make it possible to present French cuisine utilizing seasonal and local ingredients, ” says Chef Arie who is the author of a foie gras and soup cookbook. 

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.

Photo Credit: Ben Potter

Apres Ski Menu

Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup (see recipe)
Escargot – fired with a splash of Grappa
Swish Hash Browns (see recipe)
Alsatian Flatbread/Potato & Burgundy Truffles (from the Truffle Lady)
Mini Pumpkin/Potato Puree/Caviar
Smoked Local Duck Breast with Blueberry Sauce (sourced from Crescent Duck Farm, Aquebogue)
Dinner was served with Avalanche Swiss Wine (exclusive to Bistro Ete).

Set the Scene: Create an Alpine Winter Wonderland at Home

Photo Credit: Ben Potter

The Tablescape: Designing the tabletop decor is my favorite part of planning an event or dinner party. 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, the annual highlight of their winter season. The best place to shop for exclusive decor pieces is East Hampton Gardens. The store is run by my friend Michael Gianelli who is the most fun, charming dinner party guest and always an inspiration when it comes to designing a theme. “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 also designed a lustrous centerpiece of eucalyptus, magnolia and cedar 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.

Photo Credit: Ben Potter

My favorite Bamboo flatware set is also by Juliska, at East Hampton Gardens.  I recently discovered a great new design resource called Party Mosaic which offers one of the largest linen inventories available for event rental. I chose the printed cotton “Casablanca” napkins for this table design. The gorgeous Tibetan fur throws and pillows also came from Party Mosaic and add to the cozy, winter, alpine vibe. 

Photo Credit: Ben Potter

See You There: 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. 

Planning a trip to St Moritz? 

Check out my travel diaries featuring two of my favorite hotels, Kulm Hotel voted Switzerland’s best luxury resort in 2020 and the historic Grand Hotel Kronenhof in the heart of the charming Engadine village of Pontresina.  Both are open with safety precautions in place.