The first port of call is to haul open the luxurious curtains to see the results from the perfectly plump snowflakes that fell overnight. A gentle knock on the door signals the day is ready to greet me. There is the smell of freshly baked pastries wafting under my bedroom door, the sound of morning laughter, the joyous sight of a coffee pot outside my bedroom door followed by a steaming mug of coffee warming my hands. All my senses are telling my taste buds that there is more than my usual bowl of porridge awaiting me upstairs. Act sophisticated and reserved. Don’t bound up the stairs like you have never seen breakfast before.
Such thoughts usually prove absolutely futile as I find myself bolting up the stairs with a morning’s enthusiasm only generated by knowing what is around the corner. A table laden with the most eye catching and mouth watering delights that you will only find in a luxury catered chalet. Shot glasses of vivid purple recovery smoothie, baskets of the plumpest flakiest pastries, bowls bursting with berries, slates of charcuterie and perfectly smoked salmon and curls, twists and rounds of local cheeses. It is important to remember that your hero for the week, your chalet’s professional chef, will soon be making an appearance. He is after takers for potato cakes with soft poached eggs and beetroot relish or a full English complete with haricot blanc cassoulet, pancetta tuille and girolles. It would be rude not too. After all, they do say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whoever created that phrase must surely have been a skier, sat around a dining table of eager powder hunters.
Fast-forward a few glorious hours to when you and your skis are gazing at some of the finest vistas on this planet. Nothing beats the warmth of Alpine sunshine on your cheeks, the sight of rays dancing off of the peaks on the horizon and the joyful realization that this uninterrupted paradise is all yours.
However, peace might soon be shattered when you realise that a magical hour will soon be upon you. Afternoon tea o’clock.
You will never descend a piste with quite such vigour as when you realise that you are in danger of loosing the chewy caramelized corner of the cinnamon spiced apple shortcake to your other half. Competitive? Me? Not when it comes to cake…or skiing…or canapés…
With ski boots swapped for slippers, it is time for a date with the sumptuous sofa. Complete with a roaring fire and the finest view of tumbling glaciers and jagged peaks, this is easily the best seat in town. It is only in a luxury catered chalet that before you even know you’re craving a cup of tea, a teacup and saucer magically appear alongside you. Along with a side plate and a tea knife. These are the essential apparatus for that slice of cake, the exotic fruit platter and the slate of delicate savory tarts adorning the coffee table. It is at this point in the day where complete and utter contentment takes hold. You’ve found peace.
However, it is at this point that I find it important to remind myself that there is no favourite meal of the day when you are staying in a SkiBoutique luxury catered chalet.
Whether you chose to start that book that got neglected at chapter one, get lost gazing at the awe-inspiring scenery or while away a few hours in the wellness area, there are always a couple of hours to start building up an appetite for dinner.
With the weather left outside, the curtains drawn, candles flickering and the hum of evening radiating through the chalet, dinner is the perfect excuse to get dressed up and be indulged. There is no better way to kick off the evening than to rendezvous in front of the fire with champagne and canapés. Bliss.
The imagination and ingenuity displayed by chefs in creating these most exquisite of little morsels will never fail to inspire me. From saucisson brioche with onion chutney, to smoked garlic tiramisu and confit duck Battenberg, nothing compliments such delicacies more than a glass of the finest champagne. Evenings were made for such moments like these.
Although I would be very content to spend an evening dedicated to sampling canapés, it is important to remind myself of the feast that is being created behind the closed kitchen doors.
By combining the finest of local produce with ingredients arriving daily from the World’s specialist food markets, dinner was designed as an event to remember. Whether you are seated around a banquet table supported by four attentive blanchots or you are cocooned in a glamorous throw on a snowfa under a canopy of stars, you will want to relive evenings like this again and again. From starters of white asparagus soup with a poached quail’s egg and black truffle, goat’s cheese soufflé with honey and thyme roasted figs or game consommé cup ‘o’ tea with truffle tea leaves, you know that you are in for a decadent night. If you are being treated to an alfresco BBQ you can expect fillets of sea bass with saffron cream sauce, venison fillets served with parsnip purée and seared tuna steaks accompanied by perfectly balanced corn salsa. All enjoyed with magnificent wines that never seem to see the bottom of your glass. As can only be expected, your chef’s talent is complimented seamlessly by the highest levels of service.
A seven course dinner wouldn’t be the same unless you actually made it to the end. It is very fortunate then that on a chalet holiday I always manage to discover that I not only have a pudding stomach but I also have a cheese stomach. It never amazes me how there is always room to enjoy a white chocolate crème brulée with apricot baklava or a strawberry parfait with an elderflower and pink peppercorn purée and balsamic glaze. However, after further research, I am pleased to say that my pudding stomach now actually has a physiological explanation. Perhaps I should save this for conversation around the next chalet dinner table but I think it’s only fair I share. Apparently it is all down to the sugar in sweet foods stimulating a reflex that then expands your stomach. Whoever knew? Perhaps I will be the first to discover such a phenomenon related to Comté, Beaufort and Tome des Bauges. Excuse me whilst I test this out in the only suitable manner.
Even after such a dinner that includes an amuse bouche, a fish course and a pre dessert, the chef still manages to excel his or herself with a beautifully arranged display of petit fours on the coffee table. I will always remember one evening, when on returning to my room ready to sink into bed after another exceptional evening, a little golden box on my pillow greeted me. Inside were two of the most exquisite homemade truffles I’d ever tasted. I didn’t want to offend them and leave them on the bedside table overnight so I dutifully obliged with inhaling them.
After seven days of feasting like an alpine King or Queen, returning home can be a bit of a harder bump than when you fell over in waist deep fresh powder. You will come home and expect the same standards to be maintained. Luxury has become your norm.
Time to start training your husband, the children or even the dog in the art of Michelin quality food and service. They will need to learn quickly if Monday mornings are going to continue in the fashion you’ve become accustomed to.