Vinzel's world champion malakoffs
At the Coeur de la Côte restaurant in Vinzel, Doris Antonini cooks her malakoffs with Le Gruyère AOP. Meet this restaurant manager who can boast of producing the best in the world!
« Sometimes customers, even very elderly people, tell me about the memories they have had here. This is important to me. »
Doris Antonin, restaurant manager
Doris Antonini comes from Uri. After studying at the Lucerne Hotel School and spending a few months in Canada, she moved to Zermatt to work with an international clientele and improve her English. It was here that she met the owner of the Coeur de la Côte at the time. It was a happy coincidence that he offered her the opportunity to work in his restaurant in Vinzel. Interested in a new professional experience along with the possibility of improving her French, she settled in La Côte.
It was then that Doris discovered malakoffs, also known as Vinzel beignets. She still remembers her first taste. "I had never heard of them before. I immediately found them delicious and very original! They were served in the same way as they are today, with salad and a bit of charcuterie." »
After 7 years of working together, the owner told her that he wanted to stop and offered her the opportunity to take over the restaurant. Doris started out as co-manager for twenty years with a friend she had met at hotel school, and for the past three years she has been the sole manager of Coeur de la Côte with her loyal staff.
She had always dreamed of having a restaurant like the one in Vinzel: traditional and simple, yet offering quality products. The bistro, which has been open since 1896, has remained the same, in order to perpetuate the memory and tradition of the place. "Sometimes customers, even very elderly people, tell me about the memories they have had here. This is important to me."
In November 2021, the Coeur de la Côte restaurant won the World Championship for the best malakoff. "I suggested to the former manager to participate in this competition with me. It was his grandmother who had opened the restaurant and I wanted to share this championship with him." On the day of the competition, they had ten minutes to prepare the malakoff. The jury judged them on five criteria: taste, quality of the appliance, that of the frying, the temperature, and the general appearance. Out of seven judges, six voted for the beignet made by Doris.
The history of malakoffs began during the Crimean War in 1855. English and French troops, including many Swiss mercenaries, took part in the capture of Fort Malakoff. At the end of the war, Napoleon III asked his cook to feed the soldiers who were starving after fourteen long months of siege. She fried cheese and the dish was named Malakoff in honour of the battle. Since then, the recipe is often made with Le Gruyère AOP.
At the Coeur de La Côte, three wheels of semi-salted Le Gruyère AOP are used each week to make the Malakoffs. They are sold by the piece, and as far back as we can remember the number of Vinzel beignets ordered is noted on the tablecloth. "The record is 18 malakoffs for one person. It is held by a Ukrainian." No one can say whether this customer knew that he was savouring Le Gruyère AOP!