Alpine Eating

A few weeks ago myself and a few companions set off on our annual pilgrimage to The Alps, shaking things up a bit this year and choosing France over Switzerland. Thank goodness we did make this change as our usual destination of Zermatt was pretty much snowed-in. Val D’isere was experiencing heavy snowfall too – but thankfully we managed to get out there most days.

Skiing was limited though thanks to lift closures and high avalanche risks. This naturally meant more time for eating and drinking. Being in the French Alps I was quick to tuck into a tartiflette, my favourite treat of mostly potatoes, bacon, cream and cheese.

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I also managed to tuck into crepes, chocolat vinnois and vin chaud. But the main agenda was cheese, cheese and more cheese…I actually had so much I’m sort of off it right now (can you OD on cheese?!). An individual (but still very large) raclette all to myself was quite a feat of cheese consumption, even for me! I also indulged in cheese fondue and cheesy croissants for breakfast, so definitely on a break from dairy right now.

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Our hotel Aigle des Neiges was a lovely cosy place with a roaring fire and delicious cocktails on the menu. It’s a good thing too, some nights while we were away a curfew was imposed so the streets could be cleared of snow safely at night, meaning we were glad of such cosy, boozy surroundings!

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Our favourite spots for food while out there were La Casserole, Restaurant les Tufs and Chez Paolo for pizza.

I hadn’t been to Val D’isere for 10 years, so it was like new with a few hazy memories of places here and there. And while my heart is most definitely in Switzerland, there’s something to be said for France and French cuisine. Plus it’s great being able to understand everything a little better (I have a good basic grip of French, but struggle with the Swiss-German spoken in Swiss ski resorts). The amazing convenience of the Eurostar ski train to Bourg Saint Maurice is a huge bonus too (just don’t expect to get any sleep on the overnight train!).

On the left above is Val D’isere in 2018 and right is Val D’isere in 2008. The big difference is helmets – why didn’t we have them 10 years ago?!

Anyway, farewell for now France, can I suggest you get more heated ski lift seats please?

 

 

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Alpine Adventures in Saas Fee

In my last post I excitedly explained I was heading off to the Swiss Alps for a spot of skiing, gluhwein and excessive cheese consumption…and what a wonderful week it was. I’m now back in the UK now and very much missing the Swiss scenery and mountain air, so naturally this post is all about the alpine adventures and foodie delights I enjoyed whilst in Saas Fee.

I’m actually not that much of a skier – not a proper one anyway. You probably won’t find me elegantly gliding down a black run, but I do enjoy a lovely run through the trees where you can stop to take in the views and get a few photos…

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Saas Fee was lovely resort with excellent skiing for those like me who prefer a more gentle pace! And as you can see the mountain scenery was simply stunning and the conditions were virtually perfect! We were so lucky, we even timed it right too – a lot of the time the slopes were empty…

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The town it’s self was lovely too, with some great restaurants (more on them later) and incredibly friendly, helpful people. When you’re not going to be skiing all-day-every-day, having a nice town to explore (and souvenir shop!) is really important.

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Of course there’s the all important Apres Ski to consider too…I’m not so into some of the euro music type bars you tend to find in ski resorts, this is more my scene…

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Luckily our hotel had cosy sofas and a fireplace to sit around and relax with a hot chocolate…and possibly a few alcoholic beverages too.

I can’t believe I’ve actually got this far into the entry without talking about the food! Obviously you’ve got to enjoy a fondue or two whilst you’re in the Alps…rather than the classic cheese, here’s a meat fondue we enjoyed…

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You cook your meat in hot oil, or hot red wine stock and then dip it into one of the many accompanying sauces, yummy, although I’ll always prefer a cheese fondue. Luckily I got my fill of cheese at our hotel’s raclette night, where portion after portion of heavenly, gooey, molten cheese was consumed! There was also a cheese course every night in the hotel and of course, when in Europe, there’s cheese for breakfast too!

Not content with that I also enjoyed a traditional Swiss rösti, a national dish made mainly with potatoes…this one in particular also had cheese, onions and cured meats…

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A major foodie highlight of the trip has to be out visit to Fletschhorn, a Michelin star restaurant and hotel up in the Alpine forest, it was an amazing experience from start to finish. The place is totally isolated up in the trees and is a little way outside of the main part of Saas Fee, so a driver comes to pick you up (in an electro buggy as Saas Fee is totally car free) and you head deeper and deeper into the forest, anticipation building as you gaze out of the window wondering what awaits you. It all feels very mysterious as you arrive and step inside, it’s a fairly small but really cosy and you just get a feeling that you’re somewhere special.

The food was fabulous, the menu was in French and German so I only understood the basics but the staff were able to explain everything perfectly, there were some really interesting dishes on the menu and a lot that I wished I could have tried. After much deliberation I opted for a winter vegetable quiche with goats cheese to start and some red mullet for my main and I have to say both were absolutely delicious, as were the lovely extras that came compliments of the chef…

To the best of my memory this little extra was a tempura prawn with a kind of curried, pumpkin seed velouté - it was heavenly!

To the best of my memory this little extra was a tempura prawn with a kind of curried, pumpkin seed velouté – it was heavenly!

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The winter vegetable quiche with goats cheese

My main course of red mullet

My main course of red mullet

There was also an amazing tea menu - I opted for 'Casablanca Tea'

There was also an amazing tea menu – I opted for ‘Casablanca Tea’

 

Delightful little petit fours, compliments of the chef

Delightful little petit fours, compliments of the chef

At the end of the experience I was even given a little surprise gift to take home too!

Inside was a yummy little cake!

Inside the mysterious box was a yummy little cake!

All in all it was a just a fabulous trip, with fantastic food and wine, lovely people and lots of fun, I feel very lucky – if you’ve been at all tempted to consider a last minute ski trip at all then I’d definitely recommend Saas Fee.

Thanks to my travelling companions Tom and Joe for a great time!

Cheese Fest!

Cheese Fest!

I’m headed for the Alps soon for some cheesetastic adventures…oh and maybe some skiing.

Show me the cheese!

I’m so very excited xXx

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