Rolling meadows, fresh air and bright sunshine have made the mountains fantastic farmland for centuries.
From cheese and honey to mushrooms, meats and herbs, the local produce is spectacular and creative local chefs work wonders with it. With the latest Michelin guide for France recently released, the incredible gourmet offerings of the Alps have been reaffirmed.
Reviewing restaurants since 1926, Michelin has become a world-renowned rating system for cuisine. The Michelin Guide lists the very best restaurants in a country, awarding up to 3 stars for the crème de la crème.
For the epicurean skier, Michelin’s most decorated ski resorts make for a holiday of superb skiing and the finest dining. Here are five of our favourites, and where to eat, drink, ski and stay.
Skiing the world’s biggest linked ski area (the Trois Vallees has 600km of groomed runs and a ton of off-piste on top of that) is sure to work up a healthy appetite.
Just as Courchevel does with shopping, hotels and chalets, this famously glamorous resort knows how to offer a superior level of service when it comes to food.
- Eat: Courchevel’s most acclaimed cuisine in Le 1947, where chef Yannick Alléno has been awarded 3 Michelin stars for his innovative French dishes. The resort also has three restaurants with 2 Michelin stars (Le Kintessence, Le Montgomerie and Le Chabichou) and three with 1 star (Baumanière 1850, Azimut and Le Farçon). On a week-long holiday you could try a different restaurant each day…
- Wash it down with: a €13,900 Mathusalem of 1998 Dom Pérignon (if you’ve won the lottery recently). Failing that a simple bottle of red should do the trick – both available in La Saulire.
- Ski off the calories: on the exhilarating, black graded Suisses run.
- Sleep: in the chic Cheval Blanc hotel where Le 1947 is based. Making life easy after an evening of gluttony, the hotel’s Ski Service team will warm your boots and lay out your skis on the slopeside for you each morning.
Inspired by the glamour of Saint Moritz, the Rothschild family transformed Megève from a quiet French farming village to a decadent mountain destination in the twenties.
With its charming chalets, cool jazz club and designer boutiques, Megève is still somewhere to sample the finer things in life.
- Eat: culinary artwork at Flocons de Sel, where Emmanuel Renaut has a well-deserved 3 Michelin stars. A keen skier from a very young age, his cuisine reflects the surrounding mountain vista, with ingredients taken from the local area. It’s worth booking a table at 2-starred 1920, where Chef Julien Gatillon creates authentic French cuisine, free from ornamental distractions. There’s also La Table de l’Alpaga and Le Sérac (in nearby St Gervais), which have 1 star each.
- Wash it down with: a steaming glass of Le M”ojito – the signature hot cocktail from M’s Bar.
- Ski off the calories: on a full moon ski tour with a private guide.
- Stay: in the 5-star Flocons de Sel so you can be moments from its restaurant. When you’re not busy feasting, the spa here is almost as famous as the food…
A pretty chocolate-box village under the iconic Matterhorn massif, Zermatt is a feast for the eyes. With a two-country ski area and some of the best snow in Europe, it’s a feast for the skis too.
When it comes to food-related feasting, this is a foodie resort through and through with artisan bakeries, chocolate shops and a range of highly rated restaurants.
- Eat: in any of Zermatt’s 16 restaurants listed in the Michelin guide, but for the finest fine dining, the Mediterranean menu at Ristorante Capri has been awarded 1 star and After Seven a glittering 2. Swiss celebrity chef Ivo Adam and Flo Neubauer (whose former restaurants include “Dinner by Heston Blumenthal” in London) are the brilliant brains behind After Seven’s cuisine, where Adam’s motto is ‘less is best’.
- Wash it down with: a beer from the local Zermatt Matterhorn Brewery.
- Ski off the calories: on the incredibly scenic Jägerhorn ski tour.
- Sleep: in the Backstage Hotel (one of Heinz Julen’s boutique creations and home to the After Seven restaurant).
Val d’Isere, France
Attractive, high in altitude and forming half of a world-class ski area, Val d’Isere is famously first class on and off the mountain.
Cuisine is no exception, from the mountain huts to the luxury chalets and five-star hotels.
- Eat: delicately presented local ingredients, daringly infused with alpine flavours (like hay and pine) in Le Fornet’s L’Atelier d’Edmond. Pyrenean born Benoît Vidal creates excellent Discovery and Tasting menus here, pushing the boundaries of seasoning and earning the restaurant 2 Michelin stars. The Bistrot Gourmand restaurant on the ground floor has Michelin’s Bob Gourmand award for its excellent value cuisine. Five other Val d’Isere restaurants are in the Michelin guide (La Table des Neiges, La Luge, La Table d’Yvonne, La Table de ‘Ours and La Baraque).
- Wash it down with: a mug of Vin Chaud from the weekly farmers market.
- Ski off the calories: on the OK World Cup Downhill piste.
- Sleep: in your pick of Val d’Isere’s luxury chalets and hotels. L’Atelier d’Edmond isn’t part of a hotel like the other Michelin-starred restaurants on this list, but luxury ski companies like SNO offer a range of high end accommodation in the vicinity including chalets with Michelin-trained chefs to keep you well fed all week.
San Cassiano, Italy
South Tyrol is unique for its striking Dolomite landscape, its Ladin language and its Austrian-influenced, food-focussed culture. Cooking has long been a huge passion in these parts, with simple dishes using home-grown ingredients passed down the generations.
The province has more Michelin stars than anywhere else in Italy, with six alone in the tiny Alta Badia valley – and the even tinier village of San Cassiano home to nearly all of them. The tourist office often host the Alta Badia Gourmet Skisafari, where acclaimed local chefs cook up their signature dishes in huts dotted around a ski route.
- Eat: local produce like you’ve never eaten before from the ‘Cook the Mountain’ menu at St. Hurbertus, which boasts a brilliant 3 Michelin stars. Chef Norbert Niederkofler is the mastermind here, Dolomite born and bred and infectiously passionate about regional ingredients. Also worth devouring are the works of Italy’s youngest Michelin starred chef, Matteo Metullio. His 10-course tasting menu at 2-starred La Siriola features fine South Tyrolean food with international influence.
- Wash it down with: spirits and sweet wines paired with artisan chocolate in the tasting lounge of La Siriola’s Chocolate Room.
- Ski off the calories: on the Sella Ronda circuit.
- Sleep: under the same roof as St. Hubertus in the Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa.