If you book a stay in one of the excellent catered ski chalets, you might have the opportunity to experience some genuine Alpine cuisine.

When you book a holiday to the Alps including a stay in one of the excellent catered ski chalets, the best ones will give you the chance to try some genuine high-quality Alpine cuisine.

There’s a big difference between just getting fed and dining, and it’s important to know which kind of catered ski chalets you are renting. If you do book one offering genuine Alpine cuisine, here's a taste of what you might enjoy.

Feeding and dining

Almost all catered ski chalets that provide food will concentrate on offering good quality and usually substantial quantities of food. You won’t need to worry about going hungry!
However, different establishments may have a substantially different orientation towards their menus.

Some - those that major in the concept of ‘feeding’ as opposed to ‘dining’ - are likely to offer carbohydrate-rich foods that are very tasty and healthily prepared, but which may be a touch international. So you can expect plenty of pasta, cheese, bread, potatoes and pizzas – plus perhaps the odd curry. There’s nothing at all wrong with any of that, but if that’s their entire repertoire you might be missing out on some real local gems.

The wonders of Alpine cuisine

Some people mistakenly believe that the only delicacy in this area is the well-known fondue. Well, that’s just not the case! Just a sample of some of the traditional dishes here includes:

• Tartiflette Savoyarde – this is a sort of cheese, bacon, potato and onion bake. It’s easy to make and is delicious.
• Pot e – a superb sort of stew that includes pork, sausages, herbs and vegetables. It has to be prepared just ‘right’ to avoid it being just an ordinary mash of ingredients but, when it is, it’s something different and it's really good.
• Wild boar ragout served with a little rice.

As you can see, there is a very big difference between the two types of catered ski chalets. In the second, you’ll get a chance to taste the local dishes prepared in the traditional way. It can be an important part of a genuine holiday experience, especially if you’re looking to spend at least some time getting to know the region rather than just its slopes and apr s-ski spots.

Of course, it’s important to be practical when making your selection of a chalet. Not every provider will have the culinary skills and knowledge required to deliver excellent local food. Cost might also be a factor, because if you look at only the lowest-priced catered accommodation than inevitably they may need to make some comprises on the costs of their catering. It’s also true that they may need to mix international and local delicacies over a few days, as not all their guests will necessarily have the same tastes.

Top tips

So, if you’d like to combine some culinary adventurism with your skiing, here are a few tips to keep in mind when thinking about booking.

1. Look (or ask) for sample menus.
2. Don’t hesitate to ask for details of who will be preparing the food and how long they’ve been doing so. If it’s a student or temporary worker from outside the area with little or no culinary experience, then expect fairly basic food rather than excellence.
3. Check unbiased reviews of the catering online through sites other than the accommodation provider’s own.
4. Clarify the quality of the wine you’ll be served. True, this doesn’t really tell you a lot directly about the food quality but as a general rule, if they’re offering reasonable quality wines then there’s a fair chance that their food will match it.

Above all , don’t hesitate to ask a basic question: "Do you offer local recipes?" If they don’t know what you’re talking about then it might be a bad sign!

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