Over the years I have had some amazing Valentine's suppers and also some very very bad ones. One of my best was the first one Pascal and I ever had together - he proposed and we went to the restaurant where we first met and had an entire menu based on truffles. The second valentine's we spent together couldn't have been more different - he rowed all day with his ex wife, I rowed all day with him and then we ended up in the same restaurant as her!! Not fun!!
This year I was very happy to spend the day in France with Pascal especially as we haven't seen each other for nearly a month. Unfortunately after not being ill for over a year, I came down with a bug on Saturday evening - non stop shivering or sweating, nauseous, headache - I was still determined to go out though.
Pascal had booked Le Cepe which is a relatively new restaurant in Meribel - it is beautifully decorated with lots of greys, hearts and woods, rustic and cosy. Service was quick, friendly and efficient and we were immediately seated and given menus and an amuse bouche. Why oh why did I feel so ill as the menu was right up my street - a combination of typical french and local savoyarde dishes and plenty of seafood. If I was feeling normal I would have had the goats cheese or foie gras poele to start followed by the tartiflette or risotto with scallops. Plus there were plenty of delicious cep inspired dishes!
Instead I had vegetable soup…
I don't think I have ever ordered soup in a restaurant before and despite feeling violently ill, it was very nice and I loved the mini side of cheese to sprinkle on top (Pascal and I both realised how ill I was when I couldn't even eat that)! It made me realise how rubbish some of the soups I eat at home are.
Pascal had a veloute with snails, crusty croutons, garlic and parsley. It looked and apparently tasted delicious - it would definitely be something I would want!
Then for mains he had sole meuniere with vegetables and potatoes. I was thinking Pascal might be coming down with something as he never orders fish! I unfortunately couldn't taste it but according to him it was amazing.
We were straight home after that and I was in bed by 9.15 - so not the romantic valentine's day I had envisaged but Pascal got an A for effort for booking such a fantastic restaurant and we will definitely be back again….I just need to be able to eat properly next time! The restaurant also has a separate kid's menu and does take away.
Route D Plateau
Tel: +33 479 224 608
HOTEL L'HELIOS, MERIBEL
We are creatures of habit when it comes to eating in the mountains and so rarely try anywhere new. However Pascal was keen for lunch one day at the restaurant at the Hotel L'Helios, and considering it's beautiful terrace in the sun and it's proximity to the bottom of the slopes, I was happy to give it a go too.
I don't think many people know about it as it was pretty quiet but we weren't complaining as we had a prime table in the sunshine, extremely attentive service and Arabella loved playing in the snow nearby. As it was New Year's Eve we decided to have two courses….plus there was so much we wanted on the menu.
I started with burrata, tomato and basil sauce. An all time favourite of mine in London and it did not disappoint. It was absolutely delicious and very well presented with plenty of cheese and plenty of tomatoes.
Pascal went for a dish of the local beaufort cheese and not so local pata negra ham. This was also very good - very fresh and flavoursome and a hearty portion.
Arabella went for a burger which I had food envy over - no surprise there - she ate it all and adored the fries!
For mains I actually had a starter again - I love the small ravioli they have over here and can never resist it on the menu. My ravioli had a cheese filling and was served with crispy local ham. This was amazing - really cheesy!
We were too full for puddings like normal and instead just enjoyed some petit fours with a coffee.
A fantastic meal on the slopes - it really is the perfect location, the food is delicious and the terrace / restaurant has a smart elegant atmosphere. I expect when the weather warms up, people will be fighting each other for a table in the sunshine.
Helios Hotel Restaurant
Route de la Renarde,
Meribel Les Allues,
Tel: 00 33 (4)79 24 22 42
LA FROMAGERIE, MERIBEL
Pascal, being born and bred in the french mountains, loves the local dishes such as fondue and raclette. Therefore on one of our first meals out in Meribel, we booked a table at La Fromagerie, the best place for these cheesy dishes. Obviously being a cheese lover myself, I wasn't complaining. Arabella was a little unsure, especially as when you walk into the restaurant and all you can smell is cheese, cheese and more cheese.
I don't think I have ever seen a menu here as we only ever order the same - a Swiss fondue and a raclette. When Pascal and I first got together we came here and we had a fondue, tartiflette and raclette, one bottle of red wine and a bottle of white….I don't think I have ever felt so ill in my life!! Now we start with a small fondue and then have a small raclette for main (to be honest you do not need both but we are just greedy and cannot decide which one we prefer).
The restaurant is very rustic, cosy and quaint and service is super efficient.
Our fondue arrived promptly. The pictures speak for themselves - the bread and the cheese.
Then there are some delicious accompaniments - charcuterie, cornichons and a crisp green salad.
We ate the whole lot, including another plate of charcuterie. Arabella really enjoyed it as did Pascal and I.
Even though we could have probably left it there, for mains we had a raclette. This is obviously pretty similar although there are new potatoes rather than bread. Pascal took charge of scrapping the cheese once it was melted and did a very good job!
So good I had two portions, I knew I would have chronic stomach pains after all this cheese, but it is so incredible, I couldn't stop and neither could Pascal. Arabella wasn't so much of a fan of the raclette and for once I didn't force her…..my sister was sick in my ski boot after a raclette when I was 13 years old (funnily enough in Meribel) and I did not want a repeat performance!!
If you are in Meribel, this restaurant is a must - nowhere else can you eat such tasty typical dishes….just make sure you are hungry (and like cheese) and don't wear your favourite clothes as you leave the restaurant smelling of cheese. One piece of advice is to book beforehand, it is one of the most popular eateries in the area and is always packed.
Gallerie des Cimes,
Cote du Petaru,
Tel: 00 33 4 79 085548
LE REFUGE, MERIBEL
I have been a bit slack at writing this recently as I am obsessed with my new book and can't stop reading it. I downloaded it for book club months ago but never read it (or went back to book club) but as I ran out of books in France, I thought I would give it a go. It is Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer - not my normal reading material, I'm more of a Jilly Cooper / Penny Vincenzi / E L James kind of girl, but this shows that it is good to try something new!
When we were in France over half term Arabella and I tried a new restaurant in Meribel centre - the restaurant wasn't new, we just hadn't been there before. According to certain people, it is Meribel's most popular eatery - it is good for both food and drinks and has a very buzzy atmosphere. There is a pizzeria and brasserie downstairs and then a smarter restaurant upstairs open in the evening.
Arabella and I went for lunch one snowy day, unfortunately there wasn't a children's menu which came as a surprise as it is very well liked by families. Despite that the menu was vast and full of good suggestions. Unfortunately I can only find a sample menu online - here - but there was actually a lot more choice than that - pizzas, pastas, salads, savoyarde cuisine, steaks etc.
As always I was torn on what to have but as I was in France I went for Le Grand Croque-Monsieur which was excellent.
Lots of melted cheese and ham served on crusty bread with a delicious side salad. I demolished the lot and would definitely have it again. I wish more places in Meribel / France did smart versions of comfort food - the only places I seem to find a croque monsieur is in shitty take away sandwich shop. This one was incredible.
Arabella wanted pasta (they had several different types) but that was my plan for the evening meal so she had pizza instead - a margarita with ham - it practically took up the whole table when it arrived - it was HUGE!
It was also very good - thin, crispy and plenty of topping. I will admit it wasn't as superior as La Flambee but it was still an excellent pizza and I was very happy "to help" Arabella with it.
Another successful meal, I would recommend it, - not only was the food delicious but the service was friendly and attentive. The service was much more french than the other restaurants and some of my french obviously didn't translate….I asked for a pen for Arabella….the waiter came back with chilli sauce?!!! I obviously need some lessons….
Meribel Town Centre
Tel: 04 79 08 61 97
LA FLAMBEE, MERIBEL
I have never skied as much as I did this morning - 2 and a half hours non stop on my own (Pascal was working & Arabella was at ski school so I was Billy no mates). By the time I finished I was sweating & my thighs were burning, & I was extremely relieved I was still in one piece - I was hoping I had burnt many a calorie so I could indulge in a substantial meal! All this skiing had made me starving - thankfully Arabella finished just before lunch.
The weather was closing in so we decided to have lunch at La Flambee, a cosy restaurant in the centre of Meribel. I have been here before but it was many years ago & so couldn't remember it however Pascal had promised me it was good. A couple of days ago Arabella & I went to Le Grange so we could sit outside in the sun....I thought it looked smart, Pascal said it was rubbish....he was right....my tartiflette was freezing and then after I sent it back it was returned burnt to a crisp!!
Anyway we arrived at Pascal's recommendation & sat down at a table for 2 and I ordered in my best French an apple juice for Arabella, a Ricard for me & some olives. Thankfully all appeared while we were looking at the menu.
The menu was great - pizzas, pastas, salads, steaks, fish and Savoyard specialities like fondue plus a kid's menu. There are both lunchtime choices like spag bol and smarter evening ones such as scallops with lentils and foie gras. Arabella had the choice of pizza, pasta or steak hache....she went for pizza. I was torn as I wanted pizza, truffle ravioli and burrata but ended up choosing a goat's cheese salad.
The waiter noticed that Arabella was drawing on her napkin and immediately came over with a children's sheet of paper covered with activities and some colouring pens which put a huge smile on her face.
The food arrived pretty promptly.
Arabella's pizza was one of the best I have had - I was gutted that it was children's size so she could eat most of it…..less for moi!! Although obviously I managed a couple of slices!
My goat's cheese salad was beautifully served with bresaola, lettuce, endive, pine nuts, tomatoes and of course goat's cheese on toast. It was delicious - I wish they did more salads like this is England. Arabella was also a fan and kept nibbling at my cheese - only fair though as I was doing the same with her pizza!!
I decided to order a half bottle of wine and chose their house red….when in Rome and all that!
Arabella's meal included an ice cream, I tried to order a strawberry one but they only had one choice and it was better than Arabella could have ever imagined - coca cola flavoured ice cream with haribo in it - what kids' dreams are made of!!! She was super impressed (as was I)!!
A fantastic meal - fab food and brilliant friendly quick service. I didn't have a pudding but judging by the other tables' choices they were obviously spectacular - very well presented and they looked delicious.
The centre of Meribel isn't inundated with good restaurants, most of them are crap and the good ones are all on the slopes. I was too nervous to take Arabella up the mountain for lunch and then ski down together so wasn't happy with the lack of choice in the town centre as you all know how important a meal is to me. However now we have been to La Flambee once, I have a feeling we will be back time and time again!!
Tel: 04 79 00 31 70
LA MAISON, MERIBEL
My new year's resolutions are not going as well as I had hoped….I have been home for a couple of days and been to bikram twice so I am proud of that but I am still eating like a piglet. I found a huge bag of jelly belly beans left over from Christmas last night and scoffed the entire lot! I need to decrease my appetite but that won't be easy as Pascal is home tomorrow and I already thinking about restaurants and cooking for the weekend.
When we were in Meribel over the holidays, we spent many evening at La Maison which is a tea room / wine room in the centre of town. As we generally had big lunches we didn't want to eat out again in the evening but still wanted to socialise and this was the perfect place to go…..although it wouldn't surprise me if I ended up consuming more calories than I would had I actually had a proper supper!
La Maison opened up last year and it totally unique. Pascal had told me about it and I was picturing something cool and modern, all taupe and fur, however this is more British than French. I wish I had taken a photo - it is like being in an old English drawing room - lots of arm chairs and quirky "objets d'art" from old fashioned paintings to selection of antique tea cups - there is nowhere like this in Meribel hence it's popularity. One of Pascal's favourite things about it is that there is no loud music so you can actually have a conversation…I like this too as I love to chat as much as I love to eat!
Lots of locals and tourists come to La Maison after a hard day's skiing for tea and cake - they have a freshly baked selection ranging from praline cake to pecan pie to macaroons. There is a big choice of teas and even chocolate bars. However I am more into the savoury stuff!!
The wine list is great and well priced too - you can get a glass of something very nice for €5 which is like a miracle! And with the drinks you can order some treats:
This is the perfect place for apres ski if you don't want to spend time with d*ckheads downing shots of chartreuse while dancing in their ski boots…that used to be but I think I have grown up and now I am all about the food…..and wine!!
If anyone knows somewhere like this in London, let me know…..I think I need to change my new year's resolution…..forget cutting out food and wine and instead find more places like La Maison around here. I think drinks and snacks are something I need more of in 2014 and then 2015 can be about the gastric band….!
La Maison is located in the previous Home Deco shop, in the centre of Méribel, next to Agence des Neiges. It is open every afternoon and evening, and earlier in the day during bad weather.
Residence la Tougnette,
Tel: +33 (0)4 79 07 17 26
LES CRETES (JOJO'S), MERIBEL
I am now back in England in the wet miserable weather wishing I was back in France…. typical! Apparently the sun is shining there today and it is beautiful blue skies, unfortunately the same cannot be said for here.
I am pleased I managed to write about so many restaurants while I was away but I realised this morning I forgot to write about the most important one - Les Cretes, known to us as Jojo's after the patron. This place is the carrot Pascal dangles in front of me to get up that mountain!!
It is a log cabin perched on the mountain at the top of Tougnette between St Martin de Belleville & Meribel and so has stunning panoramic views, a wonderful sun terrace yet is warm, cosy and authentically alpine inside - lots of wood, old artefacts, skiing pictures etc. It is family run by the very friendly welcoming hosts Jojo, his lovely wife Christine and gorgeous daughter Geraldine and their wonderful staff and this is where we come for a drink every time we come skiing!!
We do a couple of runs and then come here for a glass of wine or vin chaud and a belated breakfast / pre pre starter of assiette de Pascal Blanc (lucky Pascal having a plate of sausage named after him)!!
It is absolutely delicious - one sausage is diots (it tastes like a normal pork sausage) and the other is pormonier which is made out of herbs. It is served with fresh white baguette and Dijon mustard - it is definitely worth skiing for and probably the reason I gain weight skiing as we generally leave here to ski to lunch but I can never resist it.
As I am not the keenest skier in the world I haven't been here for lunch as it takes about 10 minutes to ski down and I prefer to eat somewhere where I don't have to ski at all or if I do it is a two minute ski but the rest of the menu is raved about by everyone. Pascal skied with some friends recently who were in France for 6 days and they ate here for lunch on 4 of them and I just looked at the place on trip advisor and it appears it is not just us that love it (Trip Advisor). I need to be braver with my skiing….or maybe just drink less at lunch so I can ski after!!
The menu consists of Savoyard classics such as tartiflette (another favourite of mine), omelettes, the infamous sausages, steak frites, charcuterie, crozets (yummy creamy pasta) and a dish of the day which ranges from lamb shank to osso bucco. Not only is the food delicious, it is also reasonably priced….which is a rarity in Meribel! Here is a picture I found on their Facebook page which I hope gives you an idea about their food….it is making me hungry!!
If you do make it here - and I recommend you do - make sure you round off your meal with one of their genepis…..it will make you fly down the mountain…and I am sure you will be back for more!!!
But be warned it is loved by many & it does get busy so it is best to book!!
Tel: +33 (0) 609 40 51 04
L'ADRAY TELEBAR, MERIBEL
I am not a natural skiing lover….in fact most of my friends find it shocking that I ever fell in love with a ski instructor! My dad was a keen skier and encouraged us to start at an early age, while I can appreciate it now, I didn't at the time. We were forced into a German speaking ski school for 7 hours a day a week at a time and I tell you…."I cried a river"!!!
When I first met Pascal I was all sweetness and light, it was love at first sight & all I wanted to do was impress him with my skiing abilities so I followed him with a huge smile on my face & I listened to everything he said……that obviously hasn't lasted!!!
However after nearly 5 years together we've worked out how to ski well together - I learn to keep my mouth shut and he rewards my excellent skiing with a huge lunch - and that is exactly what we did today!
The sun was shining, there was fresh snow, just the two of us & no rush….bliss….plus as it was my last day, I chose my favourite restaurant L'Adray Telebar. We had actually been here on my first day but I forgot to take photos.
No surprise to hear it is one of the lower mountain restaurants (A* in my book) and it is also a very quaint alpine hotel. They always offer a very reasonable menu du jour & the a la carte is full of amazing choices.
Pascal has been going to this restaurant for nearly 40 years and so is more adventurous than me. I am a creature of habit and although I would like to eat most things on the menu I always have the same (oh I wish I was braver but what I have is sooooooooooooo good).
We started with the wild boar terrine with salad, cornichon & mini onions.
Perfect with some fresh bread and butter. Absolutely delicious - a coarse pate which to be honest I could have quite easily eaten all by myself.
For mains I always have the veal escalope in a mushroom and cream sauce with fries which is what the restaurant is famous for….it is delicious….thin slices of veal, a selection of wild mushrooms, a creamy delectable sauce and incredible fries.
It is so good - I nearly ate that entire portion to myself….I couldn't stop….I cannot rave about it enough!! My brother & I once tried to recreate this dish in England….we failed miserably!!
Pascal the pasta lover went for penne with Gorgonzola & walnuts.
This was also very tasty and very cheesy…..especially with a little extra Parmesan….oh how I love french food!
We couldn't fit in puddings but they have a wide selection.
All I could squeeze in was a coffee to get me down the last few hundred metres of piste & this came with a few little treats.
A "formidable" meal to round off a surprisingly good holiday. This is my favourite restaurant in the mountain…next time I come out to France Pascal is working and so I need to be brave enough to ski here with Arabella on our own…..a scary thought but it would be worth it for the delicious food. It also has very welcoming hosts, attentive service and a lovely terrace in the sun with fantastic mountain views - what more could you want??!!
Tel: +33 (0)4 79 08 60 26
CHALET HOTEL MARIE BLANCHE, MERIBEL
Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a good one yesterday, I certainly overindulged and am now full of resolutions to be healthier, eat less and drink less…..however this doesn't start until I get back to England…obviously!!
So what better way to start the year than with a burger!!
After a morning of skiing, it was time to refuel and we chose to go to the Chalet Hotel Marie Blanche which is one of the lower restaurants so there is barely a ski down and it also has a lovely sun terrace with fantastic views. It is slightly quieter here than other places and feels very relaxing. Unfortunately there wasn't enough sun to sit outside so we ate inside the authentic alpine dining room.
As we sat down and had a drink we were offered a little plate of charcuterie which was delicious - it had my favourite saucisson which is mixed with the local beaufort cheese.
The restaurant has a good menu - soup, salads, tartars, sandwiches / wraps, meat or fish and of course my favourite, the burger! It is was a popular choice as our whole table had one. Pascal & I went for their "special" burger which was topped with reblochon.
It was delicious - plenty of cheese, great succulent meat and red onions. I actually preferred it to the one I had at Le Coeur de Cristal - I think that is because there was more cheese here and a more crispy bun. The chips were fabulous though- perfect hangover food.
The others had the cheeseburger which was exactly the same but normal cheese & I was assured was brilliant.
A great little spot for lunch - more reasonably priced than lots of places around here and the perfect place if you want a bit of peace and quiet…..it was just what we needed today!!
Hotel Marie Blanche
Route de la Renarde
Tel: +33 (0)4 79 08 65 55
HOTEL LES PEUPLIERS, LE PRAZ COURCHEVEL
One of the things I hate most about being a divorced parent is sharing the holidays. Arabella went to her father's yesterday afternoon & I am missing her so much already. However I try and look on the bright side and as Pascal & I were footloose and fancy-free last night we decided to have a date night at a hotel restaurant where we spent a lot of time when we first met. It is full of good memories & has the most amazing food - it is my favourite place to go when I am over here.
The first thing I love about this place is the canapés you are given when you have a drink - no boring peanuts here - we started off with a glass of champagne & a charcuterie board!
It came with the most incredible coarse terrine, rustic bread with salted butter and hams, chorizo & salami. Pascal & I were literally fighting over the last bit of pate….I nearly stabbed him with my fork to get it!
We ate this at the bar while Pascal chatted to the lovely owner Norbert & his staff (I didn't contribute much due to my lack of French)! and then it was time to go to the table.
The restaurant is very cosy and we were seated by the window watching a massive snow storm going on outside. The menu is incredible - there is so much to choose from and I literally want EVERYTHING!
And there is also specials board.
I knew I was going to want to study the menu for a while (my type of porn) so Pascal ordered some guacamole which is a new addition to their menu (most unfrench) & of course some wine.
The guacamole was incredible - better than lots of places in England - instead of red onion I think they used spring onions and such a small alteration made a huge difference. We scraped the dish clean and had I been at home alone I would have licked it!!
Even though I read the menu for ages and I ended up having my usual - snails in garlic butter and then the best pasta dish in the world - truffle ravioli.
Both were incredible! The snails were covered in garlic and I ate about a loaf of the rustic bread to soak up all the delicious sauce. I think I would have preferred just 6 snails but I wasn't going to waste any.
The truffle ravioli is literally a work of art - creamy, cheesy & full of truffles - I couldn't stop inhaling the smell (Pascal had to tell me to calm down)!! YUM!! It tasted heavenly.
Pascal is way more adventurous than me and he had two dishes off the specials board - beef carpaccio with rocket, Parmesan & truffles and then spelt risotto with chanterelles & sweetbreads.
As expected the carpaccio was delicious - it is not something I ever choose but I should do as it was really good. Now sweetbreads is something I would NEVER choose - the thought of offal makes me want to vomit! However I had a mouthful and wow - they were incredible as was the spelt risotto. I couldn't believe how good it tasted and I was shocked how much I enjoyed it….maybe I need to become more adventurous in my food choices!!
By this point we were both fit to burst and so there was no puddings for us - I did notice other people having them and they looked delicious.
We finished with shots of genepi, or more like I did, as pascal had already had several for lunch and then it was time for bed.
I would have been very happy to stay in the hotel in one of the cute, quaint rooms as I was not happy to go out in the snow but unfortunately like always the hotel was fully booked (it is a fantastic place).
Another incredible meal - I will need some starvation after this as I must have consumed about 2000 calories but it was definitely worth it. My favourite place….I hope to be back very soon as they also do an amazing burger, truffle fondue and I already want that pasta again!!!
LES PEUPLIERS RESTAURANT
Hotel Les Peupliers
Tel: +33 (0)4 79 08 41 47
LE COEUR DE CRISTAL, MERIBEL
Thankfully life in France has become more peaceful and yesterday we managed to have a good day. Arabella is so happy - she adores skiing and is the only child I have ever met who is happy to go to ski school (I used to cry my eyes out and one time even wet myself which my brother still likes to kindly remind me about). Pascal & I had a great ski and then it was a couple of drinks at our favourite mountain top bar and finally lunch (the highlight of my day).
As the sun was out we decided to go to Le Coeur de Cristal as it has a terrace however unfortunately we ended up sitting inside as it wasn't quite warm enough and no one likes their food to become freezing cold within a matter of minutes.
I like this place as it is nicely decorated in cool greys, it is only a short ski down to the bottom, the food is great plus it is a very fun place for apres ski drinks….it can turn into quite a party!!! Sadly not for us though as we were with Pascal's kids and his dad. Another time though.
There is plenty on the menu to choose from - salads, burgers, pasta, local dishes and french favourites like steak tartar. I was at a loss of what to order as I wanted most dishes. As there are no menus online - here are a few photos of the menu:
We ordered a "Planche du Chalet" to start which was delicious.
Sauccison, ham, cornichons and cheese lollipops - such a fantastic idea - I would choose this over a chupa chip any day!!
Then - no surprise - I had a burger!! It wasn't any old burger, it was smothered in onions, reblochon cream, salad and even potatoes!! I removed these as I couldn't comprehend the idea but the rest of it was totally delicious and the fries incredible. It kind of reminded me of a cleaner Big Mac. To make it perfect I would exchange the potatoes for pickles.
Pascal had the same as me and then his two daughters had a cheeseburger which they also said was excellent.
I didn't taste as they have their burgers blue (ick) so we just have to take their word for it! It was just a normal burger with a slice of cheese.
Pascal's father had the daily special which was a vegetable risotto.
He ate the entire plate so I can say he definitely liked it - conversation between him & I is stilted as he doesn't speak English and my french is only slightly better than Joey's in Friends. I just smile a lot!!
There was no room for puddings which was unfortunate as they make the most incredible pies, cakes and macaroons - they even have a macaroon tree (I need one of those) - if you have a sweet tooth, you will love it here.
Another fantastic place to eat and drink in France - Pascal tells me it is impossible to gain weight while skiing - I think I am going to be the exception to the rule if I carry on going at this rate. I am now about to try and sweat it out with some bikram in the sauna….should be interesting!!!
Le Coeur de Cristal
Se situe au croisement des pistes des Rhodos et Marmottes .
Tel: +33 (0)4 79 22 46 09
HOTEL ALLODIS, MERIBEL
It's only taken 3 days to realise that me + pascal + skiing holiday = row row row!!!
After an afternoon of non stop arguments over the fact that being here is not a holiday, we had to put a smile on our face and go for a supper organised by his mother. Oh I miss London!! As a friend told me - at least I have the journey home to look forward to!!
Anyway as I mentioned yesterday - at least I have food to keep me happy and I starved myself all day so I could go to town at Hotel Allodis and I really did. The hotel has recently been redone and is absolutely stunning, I did think of continuing mine & Pascal's row in hope I could move in to one of the amazingly beautiful bedrooms….however not surprisingly they are fully booked……and expensive!
While having an aperitif in the bar we had some amazing canapés like fish croquettes, saucisson and Parmesan chips….I love the way they do this in France - plus they just keep on coming (I do not understand why all french aren't obese). Then it was time to order - the menu is pretty sophisticated but I knew immediately what I wanted - crispy bourgogne escargot cannelloni with parsley pulp followed by marbled fillet of beef with foie gras - no point not going the full hog!
We made our way to the dining room and we were given an amuse bouche of scallop ravioli with seafood veloute.
It was delicious, light but tasty and a perfect way to start the meal. I love a free course!! Then the starters arrived. As I said I had the snails which were amazing. I always think I like snails mainly because of dipping bread in the garlic oil, these were served completely differently and I absolutely loved them.
The snails were encased in filo pastry with garlic and accompanied by a parsley puree, incredible!! Pascal had the same as me and we both ate every morsel! One friend we were with had pumpkin and chestnut veloute with foie gras ravioli which he raved about.
Like the rest of our starters, it was absolutely incredible with huge prawns.
For a main I went for the beef with foie gras, I was worried it might be a bit rich but it was perfect.
It was foie gras poele inside and then extremely tender steak served with truffle mash and parsnips. I loved it and once again didn't leave a crumb.
Pascal had veal sweetbreads, zita pasta with green asparagus.
Even though I don't eat sweetbreads, it looked yum and apparently was excellent.
Pascal's mum had yuzu-seared savoury bass and I had serious food envy - it looked amazing and tasted heavenly.
Our friend had Viennese Sole with boletus mushroom cream. Even Pascal was amazed by how incredible the fish was!!
Despite being fit for burst we carried on. The moment I saw the cheeseboard I could not resist!
Route du Belvedere
Tel: +33 (0)4 79 00 56 00
LE BLANCHOT, MERIBEL
As Pascal is French, it means that we have to spend quite a bit of time at his place over there. I have to admit I am not the most enthusiastic house guest as I am such a homebody and miss London and all the comforts....very different to Meribel when for a third of the year all the restaurants and shops are closed within a 30 minute radius!! Plus I am not the keenest skier....Pascal believes the only way to improve is to push yourself and go as fast as possible but I am a big fat scaredy cat!!
Anyway the best thing for me about France is the food...I basically plan my days around what and where I am going to eat. It was a no brainer for our first lunch - we went to Le Blanchot which does fabulous food, has a beautiful terrace in the sun but is still warm and cosy inside. It has been taken over this year by one of the original owners and the menu has changed for the better - there is a variety of starters and then a choice of fish, meats, risotto or pasta - something for everyone.
We arrived after a very good morning skiing (well a couple of runs and a couple of glasses of wine) and met Arabella who had skied separately from us. We were all starving so tucked into the fresh bread and salty butter while we perused the menu. There were so many yummy things to choose from as well as a children's menu. Arabella being a typical Brit went for chicken nuggets and fries.
You won't be surprised to hear she polished the whole lot off and I stole as many chips as I was possibly allowed - they were delicious.
I ordered one of my favourite dishes ever...foie gras poele which is foie gras cooked over a high heat for a minute on each side and seasoned with salt. It was absolutely delicious and literally melted in my mouth...I wish my starter could have lasted forever.
It was served with some parsnip puree and roasted veg...a faultless starter.
Pascal also had his favourite - pata negra with tomato bread - I obviously stole a bite of ham which was incredible, it is cut fresh from the leg in front of you and is a very generous portion.
I was torn over the main courses - I was tempted by a steak since we were in France but I can never resist a truffle risotto so went for that instead. I had half a portion as I don't want to gain a stone over Christmas and while I could have eaten a full portion, half was a perfect amount.
It came with roasted vegetables on top which to be honest weren't really necessary but they made it look very pretty. The risotto tasted delicious, creamy and full of truffles. I added a bit of Parmesan - it didn't really need it but I am a cheese fanatic. I loved what I ordered so much I am going to be hard pushed to try anything else!
Pascal ordered one of the daily specials which was veal in a mushroom sauce with spaghetti. This was once again extremely tasty - big chunks of slow cooked veal with a light mushroom sauce and al dente pasta.
The pasta and the veal came separately so you could serve yourself, it was a very generous portion and even Pascal couldn't finish it all (no surprise I had a couple of "tastes")!
What a fantastic meal - we were too full for puddings but if you can fit one in I would recommend it as they are also phenomenal.
This was a perfect first meal and I know I will definitely be back over the holidays. It is open winter and summer so perfect for skiing or golf plus there is no nicer place to be when the sun is shining - delicious food, attentive service and a fabulous setting and atmosphere.
Route de l'Altiport
Tel: 00 33 (0)4 7900 5578