Val d’Isere has had a bad name in the press recently. There are reports that it’s the winter Magaluf, that Brit’s are swarming there in their droves to get drunk and ruin the beautiful mountains.
My family have spent Christmas here for the past twelve or so years and the truth is, it really hasn’t changed that much. Every year, my parents have treated us to lunch at La Fruitiere. Usually, we ski all day, followed by a decadent lunch at La Fruitiere ending up at Folie afterwards. On this particular day, we skipped the skiing. Ben and I were early for once and took the cable car up the mountain to soak up the brilliant sunshine.
The place is beautiful and La Fruitiere is one of my favourite restaurants in the town (or on top of it). The interior is reminiscent of the old dairy it used to house, complete with muslin cloths hanging from the beams and butter churns to keep your coats and gloves in.
While the restaurant is one of the best in Val d’Isere, it also has the prices to accompany. The food is worth it though and just as good as it was ten years ago.
Steak – bleu. You really can’t eat it any other way. The French cut meat in such a way that each steak is superbly tender, my knife literally cut through it like butter. Topped with the peppercorn sauce and with a side of blue cheese mashed potato – it could quite well be one of the best meals I’ve eaten.
The rest of the table had a variety of meals. Steak took up a lot of spaces, while my mother had a Caesar salad, my father went for a far more hearty, gluttonous quail pie with cabbage and a rich red wine sauce. The Gentleman had a duck pie topped with foie gras which we shared, as usual. The duck pie was obscenely good, he loved the fried foie gras, but it wasn’t quite to my taste.
Puddings all had their slightly quirky twists to the classics. The meringue was served in a bee hive, while the creme brûlée was served in a porcelain egg box, french toast with a pot of apple puree, a long praline eclair served simply on a long glass rectangular plate and the chocolate fondant on a piece of slate with a glass of gingerbread custard and croutons.
The only one that (in my mind) let the plate down was the chocolate fondant. The accompaniments to it – custard and croutons were delicious, but the fondant was a little rich and ever-so-slightly too liquid.
After a delicious long lazy lunch; Ben, Lilidh, Sophie and I decided to head outside to La Folie Douce to continue our lunch with a bottle of wine. We chatted and people watched until the music got slightly louder and the party was finally in full swing. Skiers were on the tables, Dancers on the roof, Bar Men in the DJ box and Children dancing on the bar.
People definitely indulge on holiday in Val d’Isere, but no nation is any more indulgent than another. It’s always been a destination that all nationalities flock to for the incredible skiing, stunning views and unbeatable apres. Which is why we’ve always gone back. Yes, some take it a bit too far and shouldn’t be skiing after an afternoon at Folie, but then the security will recognise this and ensure these people are escorted to cable cars instead of being allowed to ski down the mountain.
The Folie Douce and the ski slope teams/authorities also coordinate to ensure they are the last to ski down the mountain every day, rounding up any stragglers on the way and making sure no one is left on the mountain after finding they’ve had one too many and can’t ski the red run they are half way down!
We were taking the cable car down, so made the most of climbing on the tables and raising a glass to the disappearing sunlight dancing the evening away with Kelly leading the party.