Found in the French Alps and usually accessed via a one-hour picturesque, smooth drive from Geneva airport, Chamonix is a mountain mecca. In the quaint Chamonix valley resides the magnificent Mont Blanc at 4,810m, the highest peak in the Alps. Thousands from around the world visit this region, yet it is untarnished by overwhelming crowds.
The Chamonix valley is the perfect getaway for solo travellers, couples, friends and families. There is something wonderful for everyone to engage in throughout the year. Even though I initially started visiting Chamonix with my family for annual Winter Ski holidays, I enjoy Chamonix as much in Summers. In Summers, Chamonix transforms itself into a peaceful and colourful mountain valley, after spending months being the Winter wonderland of the French Alps. If you are an adrenaline junkie and love the outdoors, then visit Chamonix in winters. Skiing is only the beginning of the adventure sports you can enjoy in Chamonix.
Every Sunday morning, the Town Centre wakes up to the music of local farmers and craftsmen setting up the weekly Sunday Farmer’s Flea Market. You will find fresh produce of fruits, local cheeses, tapestry, clothes and local cooking appliances. Though there is much more to be discovered in these markets. Last time I bought myself a beautiful vintage chest and writing quail.
The pedestrianised Chamonix Town Centre is always buzzing with friendly locals and travellers in cafes, restaurants and bars. You can find eateries of all budgets, placed alongside friendly local artisan shops. While walking around the Town Centre, your eyes can not miss the exquisite Patisseries. These age-old bakeries which never fail their customers. Try the coffee, buttery croissant and the opera cake if you are ever in the region.
The gourmet food in Chamonix, keeps one going back for more. Chamonix is the home to a few Michelin Star restaurants, of which Hameau Albert 1er is my favourite. They are happily willing to make the most beautiful vegetarian dishes on request as well.
Every time we visit the region, my father drives us to Courmayeur in Italy, which is less than 22 kilometres away, to eat fresh handmade pasta & scrumptious pizzas made in a traditional brick fire pizza oven. While visiting Chamonix you can eat three different meals in three different countries, in one day, if you like! It’s easily accessible to Italy and Switzerland. Chamonix is the perfect place to unwind, switch off and relax amidst the sprawling greens on the lap of mother nature.
One of the main things I do on these trips is of course eat and stock up on novel ingredients for my food business. The cheeses are absolutely to die for. In fact, I had my first truffle fondue there more than a decade ago, and all I can tell you is that I’ve never been the same again!
I often say cheese is my chocolate, and you may too after you try this extremely drooly recipe- It’s my version of a Croque monsieur which I like to call the world’s best cheese toast. It is my go-to food any time of the day or year!
Recipe for the World’s Best Cheese Toast
- A thick slice of bread (sourdough or use a nice multigrain loaf, cut a slice twice the size of regular bread & toast it in the oven if the toaster is not wide enough)
- 120 gms of grated cheese (try to do a mix of preferably Gruyere & Emmental)
- 1 egg (whisked) *substitute with 1 heap teaspoon of cornstarch)
- 8 pcs of fresh Mushrooms- (sliced) – an assortment is always tastier
- 1 onion (sliced)
- Add ons; Gherkins & Pickle cocktail onions
- (you may also add any breakfast meat in there)
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
- Mix the grated cheese & egg (or cornflour)
- Take an ovenproof bowl.
- Put the slice of toasted bread first & then pour the prepared cheese mixture over it.
- Put the mushrooms & sliced onions with a dash of freshly grounded pepper.
- Put this down into the oven. Don’t worry if the cheese falls off the sides of the toast. That’s what makes it delicious!
- Cook for 10-15 mins.
- Take out while it’s bubbling hot.
- serve with add ons over the dish or on the side.
- MUST be eaten hot!
- Enjoy your homemade almost fondue on toast. Best enjoyed with a glass of wine and a drizzle of my artisan organic infused oils.
P.S. Many more food stories to come from Chamonix.
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