Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Stove on Sunday: French Food in Chamonix

Cheese features highly in my food posts, most recently seen in my The Stove on Sunday post on Goat Cheese Tarts.  So, if like me, you are dairy obsessed then read on because this promises to be the ultimate cheese post!

We stopped over in Chamonix for one night, on the way to Tuscany, as seen earlier in the week in Chamonix in Pictures.

Upon arrival we headed straight out for our evening meal and ended up making quite a brisk but impeccable choice to dine at Le Carlina.  The outside tables, although a little chilly, despite the patio heaters, was incredibly atmospheric and it felt very French to watch the passers by and look out to the snow covered mountains whilst drinking red wine.

All of us had quietly decided that cheese would be our order of choice and after much deliberation and debate we decided to get the fondue and the raclette to share, as none of us could decide which we would prefer.

The raclette looked something like this...

I love the simplicity of this meal, after all it is just raclette cheese heated to be eaten with side dishes such as potatoes and bread.  There is no skill required and yet it is potentially one of the most delicious meals going. I have had this before in Switzerland but we all agreed that the cheese was particularly creamy and good at Le Carlina and it was hands down the best we have tried.

Both this and the fondue came with accompaniment dishes of different hams, including bresaola and chorizo, mini gherkins, mini pickled onions, bread and potatoes.  The fondue had a slight twist to it and was expertly chosen by my sister @holly_mcnally.  With the promise of mushrooms accompanying the fondue we were shocked to discover that instead of a side dish they were in fact incorporated into the actual cheese dish.  We were further shocked to see that instead of whole pieces it had been added as a kind of liquid form.  You could distinguish the mushroom flavour but on the same hand it was not too overpowering as, mushroom hater @hannah_mcnally happily appreciated.

Fondue has been sampled by myself on many occasion and although a frequent orderer of it I am usually hugely disappointed upon eating.  Perhaps it's the gruyere, perhaps it's the kirsch but either which way, after several mouthfuls the waves of sickness set in and I am utterly horrified at the site of any more cheese.  This, as you can imagine, due to my declaration of love for cheese, leaves me distressed.  Surprise, surprise though I could have kept on going with this version from Le Carlina.  I have no idea if they used a different cheese, or a different alcohol or a different ingredient in general but this was more than tolerable and I ate way too much of it.  This and my dad's version made with cheddar and beer are the only fondue's I can honestly say I love.  Hopefully I'll get the chance to post my dad's version some time.

We topped the meal off with a coffee that makes me realise that no matter how much I love Starbucks it will never be as awesome as this...

None of us could manage dessert, except this girl...

She had two scoops, one Ferrero Roche and the other Kinder.  The choice was insane and highlighted once again how rubbish ice cream parlours in the UK are.

The following morning we stopped by the local Boulangerie to pick out something for lunch for the second part of our journey to Tuscany.

This extraordinary brioche caught our eyes and although we didn't buy it that time around, when my parents came home via Chamonix they kindly picked it up for our breakfast back in England the following morning.

The pink clusters, we initially assumed, were some kind of dried fruit, perhaps strawberries but on further investigation we discovered they were praline.  I have no idea why or how they were pink but it tasted like sweet popcorn and is apparently made with sugar syrup.  It was a different twist to your standard brioche and was perfect adorned with butter and eaten with a fresh pot of the most stunning hazelnut coffee my parents had bought me in Italy.

The lunch we chose from the boulangerie was actually croque monsieur's for most of us and although I don't have any pictures of the best croque monsieur I've ever eaten we did try and re-create them upon my parents return.

You Will Need:
White Bread
Beschamel Sauce
Cheddar Cheese
Pepper to season

1.  Layer one slice of bread with mustard and then the beschamel sauce
2.  Place ham over the sauce and follow by grating a thick layer of cheese onto the ham
3.  Season with pepper
4. Place the second piece of bread on top to create a sandwich
5.  Layer the top of the sandwich with mustard and beschamel sauce
6.  Grate another layer of cheese on top of the sandwich
7.  Season with pepper
8.  Place in a preheated oven of 180 degrees
9.  Cook for around 20 minutes or until golden brown

Hopefully they should turn out something like this...

We ate these and the brioche out the front of our house looking out to this, which just made them picture perfect moments...

And then, as most of us British know, the rain came.

On a final note, those on the East Coast of the States, friends, readers, family etc I hope you have not been too affected by Hurricane Irene and have/are keeping


  1. Amazing blog! <3 what about following each other?:D kisses from Poland! :)

  2. This is very nice, I like it !

    ...OH MY VOGUE!

  3. very cool photos, looks like a really fun time! :)

    Costin M.


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