It wasn’t so long ago that staying in a catered chalet for your ski holiday promised a lot more than it delivered. Endless ‘spag bols’ (thrown together as the chalet chef/host tried to recover from exuberent apres ski the night before) was washed down with cheap wines, thoughtfully decanted from the 10 litre wine box into carafes so you didn’t know what you were drinking. OK, it’s a stereotype now, but stereotypes have to come from somewhere!
It seems though, in some places at least, that standards are now climbing and heading for the stars. UK tour operator Mountain Heaven has just announced a major redesign of all their catered chalet menus. A consultant chef has produced a range of imaginative, nutritionally balanced meals that are specifically aimed at perking up skiers after a great day on the slopes. The traditional Alpine cheesefest such as Tartiflette, raclette and fondue, together with the classic spaghetti bolognese will just have to be kept for your lunchtime stops.
The move comes as part of a general upgrade that sees aperitif/canapes, four course dinners and carefully selected bottled wines now as standard across the company’s chalets in Morzine, Courchevel, La Tania, Les Arcs, La Rosiere and La Plagne 1800. Mountain Heaven are also highlighting that their flagship Chalet Emilie (pictured), in Courchevel, has been shortlisted at the World Ski awards, as one of the six best new ski chalets in the world.
In the Three Valleys, competition is fierce. Les Menuires isn’t the most attractive resort but nearby Reberty Village thankfully is. Another UK tour operator, Powder N Shine, has really upped the stakes by employing highly skilled chefs at each of their three chalets in Reberty Village. Each of the chefs has recently worked in high ranking positions in the kitchens of a Michelin starred restaurant in the UK (21212 in Edinburgh, The Kitchin also in Edinburgh and Petrus in London – which has two Michelin stars). These chefs have been given free rein to design their own menus, pared with suitably good wines and these will be exclusively for the guests. Please form an orderly queue behind me… It’s little wonder that their Chalet Flocon des Neiges (pictured below) has been awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for 2014.
This does all leave the tricky question of what to do on the chef’s night off. My suggestion would be to head to restaurant Le Farcon in La Tania. It also has a Michelin star and is one of the best in the Alps. You’ll need to reserve a table well in advance as it’s not huge.
Mountain Heaven – www.mountainheaven.co.uk
Powder N Shine – www.powdernshine.com
Restaurant Le Farcon – www.lefarcon.fr