Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France is known as the resort for real skiers. Resort is probably the wrong word because Chamonix was a thriving village long before it was a haven for winter sports enthusiasts.
Climbing Mont Blanc was the draw as early as the 1700’s. Snowboarding came much later. Chamonix’s reputation is Caveat Inceptor (Let the Beginner Beware!), but, even I, a green piste-r found load of other activities to fill my day. Needless to say, drinking cocoa and eating cheese were two of those seasonal pursuits I performed to the best of my ability.
Don’t worry there is something for everyone, sometimes too much. Your time will fly in the blink of a snowflake.
Bite…Tartiflette (see the recipe below!) like no other at La Télécabine; Restaurant Albert 1er has the only Michelin star in town; the Grand Marnier Soufflé at Cap Horn can’t be missed; Poco Loco‘s Le Tartif redefines what a grilled cheese sandwich looks or tastes like; Après-Ski Sunday lunch at La Maison Carrier or Le Matafan is the perfect treat before the car picks you up for the airport.
Brew…The perfect combination of local wines and Jazz every Saturday night at Cha Cha Cha – watch your mountain guide become Miles Davis for a few hours.
Binge…Charlie Adam’s Retro Designs are sold at Alp Chic at 187 ave Michel Croz; traditional handmade wooden souvenirs at Atelier Catelles et Bois at 26, place Balmat; kitchen chic at Cheverney at 126, Rue du Dr. Paccard; and Sanglad for all your outdoor equipment and gear.
Bathe…The indoor/outdoor pool at the Hameau Albert 1er and Clarins Spa at Hotel Mont Blanc are not to be missed after a long day battling the snow.
Bolt…Swiss Air is the way to go…no extra charge for skis and snowboards and they fly from London City Airport. Très civilized!
If you can’t wait to ski in Savoie Mont Blanc, try making a tartiflette at home! The Tartiflette is a classic and all the ingredient are available almost everywhere! Photo is by Office de Tourisme du Val d'Arly M. Studio!
- 1kg of potatoes, peeled
- 250g of lardons (bacon)
- 2 shallots
- 1 garlic clove
- 100ml white wine
- 200ml of double cream
- 1 whole Reblochon cheese
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 5-10 minutes, or until tender.
- Drain and set aside to cool slightly
- Fry the bacon, shallots and garlic for 4-5 minutes. Add the white wine.
- Slice the potatoes thinly and layer into an ovenproof gratin dish with the bacon mixture.
- Pour over the double cream.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
- Layer the Reblochon slices on top.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling.
For all those who don’t feel satisfied, more Chamonix posts to come.
NB: I was the guest of the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Tourism Board and I can’t thank them enough. My opinions are always my own!