Chamonix Apres Ski Report: 7th March 2012
Alison Shayler | Ski Editor | published: 8th March 2012
With so many good restaurants to choose from it's a good job that Chamonix is such a sporty town, otherwise we would be at the top of the obesity charts alongside Birmingham and Glasgow.
It started on Friday night with burgers at the MBC; not just any old burgers, these are the type that you have to unhook your jaw to bite into. I had the veggie burger, which isn't actually a burger but a pile of roasted veggies, layered with mayonnaise and hummus and served in a bun the size of a dustbin lid. We also put away a Rock Fort (served with Roquefort sauce), a Naked Burger (plain beef or chicken burger) and a Caliente (served with jalapeños and chilli sauce); all came with coleslaw, onion rings and a mountain of criss-cross chips. They all went down a storm although be warned that you need to really like your food spicy to be able to handle the Caliente, the chef was not shy with the jalapeños... Burgers range from 8.50-11.50€ by themselves or 11.50-14.50€ with the chips and side dressings. There was so much food on the table that not everyone was able to finish. However, despite admitting defeat on the main courses, we still managed to fit in a couple of slices of chocolate cake between us – rich, delicious and indulgent enough to convince us that we need to learn to say no once in a while. MBC will be celebrating its 10th birthday this Friday 9th March with live music from Gary Bigham & The Crevasseholes, lots of homebrewed beer and special deals that include pitchers and burgers for just 10€. Book a table if you want to eat, as I predict that it will be packed to the rafters!
On Saturday night we started with drinks in The Pub, where the outdoor heaters under the canopy mean that it is just about warm enough to sit outside. After a quick vino we headed over to Chamonix's newest restaurant, the wonderfully named “Le Moustache”. Tucked away down a little side street (see map) it is in the old Cantina/Hotel El Paso building, but has been transformed from the scruffy old bar/club that it used to be; patterned china crockery, vases of fresh flowers on the the tables and an eclectic collection of artwork on the walls make it cosy and welcoming. The menu is simple and offers a range of classic French and Savoyard dishes with starters including frogs legs, snails and onion soup. I ordered the snails but immediately got a bad case of food envy when my friend's onion soup arrived on the table, beautifully presented and served with a bowl of grated cheese and a basket of fresh crusty bread. The snails looked amazing but they were the kind that have not already been removed from their shells, so I spent ages wrestling with the pincer thingies and burning my fingers on the shells. They were served in a nice garlicky dressing but I always forget that I'm not actually that keen on snails, I just get carried away by the look and smell of them. I think I'm always expecting them to be a bit more like mussels, but they're not. If you like garlic bread then this is the restaurant for you; enormous slabs of toast smothered in a strong herby garlic butter.
The main courses also arrived at the table looking very special and smelling great. I ordered the croute with morel mushrooms (20€), admittedly this is a heavy dish anyway being made of bread soaked in wine and garlic then baked in cream and cheese, but this one excelled itself. It was enormous. And delicious. The morel mushrooms were a nice addition but you could opt for croute without them for 13.50€, which is quite a big difference if you're not that bothered about the mushrooms.
We were all so stuffed by the end that none of us could face dessert, so that'll have to wait until next time. The bill for 10 of us came to 45€ each and included starters, mains, 5 bottles of wine and coffee. The only disappointment was that there were no fish dishes on the menu and croute was the only vegetarian option. However, if you are a meat eater there is plenty to choose from. They don't have a website or Facebook page yet, so the best thing to do is walk down the high street past Super U and have a browse at the menu board on the pavement to see if it is your cup of tea.
Attempting to ski off the calories is not so easy when the weather is this good, it is far too tempting to head to the nearest mountain bar and sunbathe with a cold beer. This was the case on Saturday when we headed up Flegere and found ourselves once again in the deckchairs at La Chavanne, drawn in by the live music. Playing on what must be one of the most stunning stages around was ¾ of The Juggernaut of Rock and the leather-trousered, growly-voiced epitome of rock that is Kevin “Forse” Ford. I'm not sure if this is a regular event but La Chavanne often has bands and DJs playing live sets on the mountain, so it's always worth taking the chairlift overhead and seeing what's going on. You can find out more on their Facebook page.
The big event this week is the Black Weekend – 4 days of fun and frolics, on and off the hill. Over 20 gigs by bands and DJs including an opening party at the ice rink, parties at Le Choucas, L'Amnesie and Grands Montets and a pool party at Hotel Les Aiglons. Get yourself to Les Grands Montets on Friday for the Hot Dog Day – a moguls contest for mixed teams of 5 (3 skiers and 2 snowboarders, telemarkers or monoskiers). Winners get their body weight in hot dog sausages and fancy dress is positively essential... could this be the new Boss des Bosses that we've been mourning since its sad demise in 2010? Teams can register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets for the festival can be bought at the Tourist Office and cost 40€ for all 4 days, or 20€ for the weekend. Check out the full schedule on their website, and get in the mood with this Youtube teaser.
Don't forget to keep an eye on our What's On Calendar for more events, gigs and parties in Chamonix.