Food and wine
Eating and drinking may not be the most important things on your ski
holiday. Good snow, fine weather, comfy boots, not finding out that the
friend you intended to ski with wears a technicolour one-piece – these
are what will make or break the trip.
But food is an obsession with us, as you can see from the photo gallery above. It is the one thing we control totally. Most guests wouldn’t blame us if it snowed every day, they
got sunburn or their spouse eloped with a ski instructor, but if dinner
weren’t the perfect end to a good day, or antidote to a bad one, they
wouldn’t come again.
We start with a proper breakfast.
Fruit juice, porridge, cereals, bacon, eggs, baguettes straight
from the famous local bakery, a croissant or pain au chocolat if you
like, yogurt, Twinings tea and fresh coffee from Italian espresso pots
(with Nescafé and bizarre infusions for those who prefer them). If
that’s not what you consider a proper breakfast, please see our Serious Breakfast Optional Extra.
You return from the slopes to find bread and jam, a freshly-baked cake, hot chocolate etc. left out for you.
Dinner is where we pull out all the stops. Our policy on food is straightforward. We start with the best cuts of meat and the best fresh fruit and vegetables, not really counting the cost. Everything one needs is available in Val d’Isère. Most people are very happy with our normal formula of canapés followed by a three-course, fixed-menu, dinner-party-style meal. The cuisine is largely French, though with a fusion of other influences – what Londoners call Modern British. (Foreign, in other words.)
But our chefs and chalet girls don’t choose to work for us just to cook the same six meals, week in, week out, and if there is a consensus in the chalet that lighter food or simpler meals or smaller portions might go down well, we’re very happy to adapt. Or if you prefer steak and kidney pie to boeuf en croûte, we are delighted to cook it. If you want more or less, or hotter or colder, or earlier or later, just tell us. If you require a different diet or have an allergy, for £25 per person per week, which goes straight to the cook, those guests who do not eat the same food as the rest of the chalet can take our Different Diet optional extra. Please note that we cannot cater for vegans.
This is YSE’s twenty-fourth winter, and
we honestly believe that our cooking has steadily improved from year to
year. We aren’t sure why. More professional chefs work for us, but even
the cooks who’ve just learnt from their mothers or on cookery courses
seem to master dishes now they wouldn’t have attempted in the past.
Our pre-season in situ training course
gives the cooks between two and four weeks of hands-on cooking practice
– more than they’d do in a year at cooking school. This is
indispensable, even for experienced chefs, at 6,000 feet, where nothing
cooks the same as at sea level.
With dinner, we serve free unlimited
quantities of a selection of very drinkable French AOC wines and vins de
pays. This is, unfortunately, only with dinner, not breakfast, and we
stop serving the wine when the coffee appears.
We also have a wine list from which
you can buy everything from slightly smarter wines to Châteaux
Lafite-Rothschild or d’Yquem. We sell these wines at less than they
cost because you are not drinking the house wine. The more you consume
the more you save. Drink enough and you’ll pay for the holiday.
And if you prefer Krug Grande Cuvée to Dom Pérignon, just
give the girls the dosh. They’ll be happy to get some in for you (and to
help you drink it).
We are confident that you’ll eat at
least as well in our chalets as in any of the local restaurants or
hotels. But the toughest comparisons tend to be with previous YSE
holidays. ‘Yes, she’s a wonderful cook, but you can’t beat Josh's orange and butternut squash risotto, or Drew's mushroom and port mille feuille.’
It keeps us on our toes…