Along with skiing, hiking or pristine mountain landscapes, gourmet cuisine is another highlight of vacationing in the French Alps. In addition to savoring traditional après-ski raclettes and fondues, visitors to the Alps can opt for something a little more refined and enjoy a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant. This winter, ski resorts and luxury hotels are highlighting this enticing aspect of the French Alps through special initiatives and events.
On January 22, chefs from the Côte d'Azur in the south of France will bring the vibrant flavors of their regional cuisine to the French Alps for an exceptional meal in the mountains.
In the heart of the 3 Vallées ski area, the Hotel Saint-Martin at the Saint-Martin de Belleville resort has invited two representatives of Southern French cuisine for a special dinner. The two guest chefs are Patrick Raingeard, who heads up the Michelin-starred restaurant of the Hotel Cap Estel in Eze (close to Nice) and Sébastien Broda, head chef at the Park 45, the restaurant at the Grand Hôtel in Cannes. The pair will prepare their dishes with the help of Saint-Martin's Jean-François Nulli and his team.
Nearby, at Val d'Isère, Le Savoie, a five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel, invites its guests to meet a number of master chefs on February 1, at its restaurant Le Grain de Sel, helmed by Alexandre Fabris. Régis Marcon, Michel Rochedy, Stéphane Buron and Xavier Mathieu -- each distinguished by three Michelin stars -- will each prepare a dish and present it to their guests directly. Finally, 2005 pastry world champion Philippe Rigollot will prepare a gourmet dessert.
The ultimate gourmet gathering this winter, however, will be the 4th edition of the Neiges Etoilées International Gastronomy Festival, in Châtel, presided over this year by three-starred chef Gilles Goujon.
From January 21 to 24, the event will involve a series of competitions between professional chefs, but also between some interesting amateur guests, including the mayors of the local French and Swiss resort towns.
The Neiges Etoilées festival will also include free breakfasts on the slopes, culinary demonstrations, cooking lessons and a chance to meet chefs such as Christian Têtedoie and food bloggers. Atendees can even take a pizza-making lesson with the current vice-champion in the pizza sector. An opulent gourmet dinner will conclude the festival. Information on the Neiges Etoilées International Gastronomy Festival can be found at www.facebook.com/NeigesEtoilees.