Cooking in the French Alps: Rhone Alps Culinary Vacation
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Cooking in the French Alps
Fontaines Naves (La Lechere, Savoie)

Enjoy a luxurious six-night Savoyard cooking vacation at the lovingly restored Chalet located in the heart of the French Alps, just south of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva and with roads leading into Italy. The Savoie has long attracted visitors not only for its unforgettable scenery of dramatic mountain peaks and lush, green valleys but also for its rich and unique French culinary dishes that are, in part, inspired by Italy.

These dishes feature a host of local foods, from cheese to mushrooms, potatoes, and apples. Seafood as well as freshwater fish and crayfish also abound. The Savoie even has its own pasta: Les Crozets, which is made with buckwheat flour. Whichever season you choose to visit, the colors, clean air, abundance of flora and fauna, and unrivalled seasonal produce of the region will leave you wanting to come back for more.

About the accommodations: Your home for the week is a luxurious chalet lodge, which was recently named one of "les plus belles chambres d'hotes" — one of the best B&Bs — in all of France by the prestigious Le Figaro magazine. It is situated 90 minutes from Geneva and Lyon and offers stunning views across the mesmerising Col de la Madeleine, an historic climb on Le Tour de France. Located in the charming mountain hamlet of Fontaines Naves, the chalet was lovingly restored and decorated in true Savoyarde style by husband and wife Hugh and Nikki. Today, the beautiful alpine retreat hosts up to six people, and the public spaces include a beautifully appointed lounge with an open fireplace, formal dining room, and farmhouse kitchen. The historic mountain lake town of Annecy is 50 minutes away and the world famous ski resorts of Courchevel and Meribel (part of the Three Valleys, the biggest ski domain in the world) are a 30-minute car ride.

Chef NikkiAbout the cooking classes: Your host Nikki was born in Melbourne, Australia and has always had a passion for food, wine, and rustic architecture. After her stint at Hotel & Catering College, she left for Europe in search of a new dream. This took her to many exciting places, allowing her to gather a multitude of culinary experiences along the way. She eventually settled in the Savoie where she has been part of the community ever since. Nikki enjoys nothing more than sharing her knowledge of 25 years of living and cooking her way around France.

In your hands-on classes that take place in the lodge’s cookery school, Nikki promotes a relaxed atmosphere where she will build your confidence and knowledge based on your skill set, whether your want to learn fundamental culinary techniques or recipes that require a higher level of technical skills. Nikki has a talent for taking the traditional food of the region and giving those recipes a modern twist. Most of all, you will laugh and learn in a relaxed atmosphere.

Cooking in the French Alps Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival transfer from Geneva or Lyon airports, or Albertville train stations.
  • Upon checking into he chalet, Nikki and her husband Hugh will show you around and help you settle in. If you’re arriving early in the day, an afternoon tea and cake will be served.
  • Nikki and Hugh will also welcome you to this wonderful region of France by serving an aperitif before dinner.
  • During the three-course dinner Nikki will explain the week ahead.
  • Overnight.

Day 2

  • Breakfast will be served in the vaulted dining room.
  • In the morning, begin your first cooking class, which will focus on the preparation of a traditional Savoyard lunch. During class, Nikki will explain how the local history and traditions are linked to the local produce.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • In the afternoon we put on our walking boots and we take a look at the surrounding villages, the history of the area and how they operated as a community back in the 1700’s, or you can rest, read and enjoy the scenery from one of the many lounges dotted around the property.
  • Return to the chalet to relax before dinner is served.
  • Overnight.

Day 3

  • After breakfast, visit a local market to source and purchase the ingredients for the evening menu. During this visit, Nikki will talk about and select the best breads, pates, and cheeses from the market for your lunch.
  • Weather permitting we will take our freshly purchased picnic lunch and enjoy it by a stunning mountain lake.
  • In the afternoon, take part in your second cooking class, where you’ll make dinner using ingredients from the market.
  • During dinner based on your efforts, learn more about how the local wines enhance the local produce.
  • Overnight.

Day 4

  • Breakfast.
  • Spend the morning in your next cooking class preparing the food for your dinner. Nikki will also share more about the history of the Savoie and local customs.
  • Lunch is at a local restaurant in the valley (drinks not included), followed by a few hours of resting and relaxation in the natural thermal springs – 5 pools at different heats, 2 saunas and 2 steam rooms. Massages can be arranged upon request at an extra cost. Transfer back to the chalet.
  • Pre-dinner drinks, followed by a three course meal and local wine is served downstairs in the vaulted dining hall under chandelier.
  • Overnight.

Day 5

  • After breakfast, depart for a picturesque journey to the unforgettably beautiful and historic mountain lake town of Annecy where we will spend the day. A real jewel of the Alps, Annecy delivers on all fronts: breathtaking scenery, quality shops, gourmet restaurants, as well as streets and buildings dating back to the 12rh century.
  • Lunch will be taken either on the lake during a boat tour or in the old town.
  • After returning to the chalet, enjoy an aperitif together before Nikki serves you dinner.
  • Overnight.

Day 6

  • Breakfast.
  • After breakfast we meet in the kitchen for our final hands on cookery class, fun creating a variety of lovely local dishes using many of the cheeses from the region.
  • Lunch together, discussing everything you have learned.
  • Free time to relax and pack before your farewell dinner.
  • Overnight.

Day 7

  • Breakfast followed by check out by 10 am.
  • Return transfer to Geneva or Lyon airports or Albertville train station.