For Valaisans, the midday meal remains the mainstay. Locals gather at a bistro for a hearty plat chaud (warm meal) that includes meat, vegetable or pasta, and salad for under 20 SF. The evening meal is lighter, perhaps comprising an assiette (platter) of cheese and cold cuts shared by the table, accompanied by another bread basket and fruit. Keep in mind that most eateries do
not offer continuous service; lunch winds down around 2 and dinner does not begin before 6. Unless a host greets you or you have a reservation, it is fine to take a seat at an open table.
Multiple dining options can share the same entrance and kitchen. A brasserie, or Stübli, is the homey casual section just inside the doorway, with paper place mats, straightforward dishes, and lively conversation. The quieter salle à manger (dining room) has tables dressed in linen and a carte (menu) of multicourse meals and more complicated preparations. If cheese specialties are served, a carnotzet, a cozy space in the cellar or a corner away from main dining, is designated to confine the aroma and foster conviviality.
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