and tarts and all manner of other delicious desserts that we provide here at the refuge.
It’s often the evening shift that prepares the desserts, the pastry bases having been cooked off in the hot oven after lunchtime service. It’s often a quieter and calmer time of day to be doing such baking and usefully fills the time whilst evening guests are dining.
Dinner is served at seven thirty, soup usually, served in large tureens placed directly on the table for guests to help them selves, followed by a main meal, again served in its entirety on a large serving platter and left for guests to help themselves. It is a mountain refuge (of sorts) rather than a hotel, so participation is the name of the game. Desserts are often individual, sometimes specifically produced for the evening clientelle, though often the same as we prepare for lunchtime.
Chocolate tartlets are filled with home made chocolate filling, as are the lemon ones. Blueberry pies are lined with confectioners custard and topped with tinned blueberries. Apple tarts are baked on site as are most of the other creations, though the pastry and pastry cases arrive frozen and many of the other ingredients ready prepared. Fruit salad arrives fresh in large tubs ready to be improved with other fruits and a good slosh of rum, before being portioned out. Rice pudding is made in bulk and stored in vacuum bags in the cold room until needed. Other desserts, the more fragile ones tend to be made on the day.
During dinner, we set to and get as much preparation for the following day out of the way, so that the following morning can be slightly more leisurely. That said, after a lunchtime service of two hundred or so, leisurely isn’t often an appropriate word to use. It’s full on right the way through. Individual plates of local cheeses, local ham and charcuterie are set out and cling filmed to help keep them fresh, stored in refrigerators before going on sale the following day. Unused items are ‘refreshed’ as necessary and presented for the allowed number of days before (rarely, if we get it right) being discarded - to the local fox.