He explains why it’s just a little different from what he first expected and why it should be top of the list for anyone considering a Morzine chalet holiday this winter.
I’d been reading up about Chalet Avenir before I arrived in Morzine – husband and wife team and chalet managers, Ian and Amy explain on their website how diet forms an important part of their philosophy – they are both serious cyclists and Amy is a personal trainer. The kind of food they talk about is extremely healthy sounding and I imagined dinner would mostly consist of seeds, broccoli and tofu, served alongside a cucumber and avocado smoothie. Not that I have an issue with healthy eating, but when on holiday….well, the odd beer would be nice.
Chalet Avenir is a new build chalet (it’s less than three years old) located about ten minutes walk from the town centre of Morzine. There’s four guest bedrooms that sleep eight to ten people in the upmost comfort – it’s definitely in the luxury end of the chalet category, but it also feels cosy and warm. There’s an open plan living area downstairs that lots of modern gadgets to play with and fantastic views of the valley looking towards Morzine. Although this was mid-summer, I could imagine being here after skiing looking across towards Les Gets and watching the sun set and I sat there with my…..green tea?
It’s clear that Ian and Amy are very keen cyclists and it’s their passion. The sport is growing fast and Morzine has become a real hotbed of road cycling and the Tour de France was due to come through the town later in the summer. “More and more people are coming here during the summer to cycle”, said Ian, who is a retired police office and clearly addicted to the sport of road cycling. “This place is like heaven, with all the routes you can do in the area, there’s endless possibilities”, he says. I ask what the plans are for the winter and Amy joins us: “We’ve got a fantastic chalet here and we want to give guests a real personal experience with the kind of food they will remember and enjoy after a day on the slopes”.
I walk into the kitchen as they are both preparing dinner, “would you like a drink?” Says Ian. Do I get a choice I wonder? Ian continues, “there’s several different beers including some great Belgian Trappist Monk varieties”. Ah, I think to myself, here’s to a healthy evening.
Ian made it clear that although they are putting a lot of thought and effort into their menu, it’s not a detox camp and their selection of wines and beers have been thought about just as much as the food. It’s quickly clear that enjoying a drink isn’t something to hide and in fact, the chalet has a real make yourself at home feel and we relax before the evening meal cooked by Amy.
Amy’s family are originally from India and so she has a real Asian influence to her cooking, which for me is really refreshing when you’re in the Alps – I love French/Alpine food but when you eat on the mountain then in the evening, something a little different works brilliantly for me.
We start with a salad, but it’s delicious, fresh and zingy. The main course is a seafood curry – I can honestly say that it’s one of the best curries I’ve ever had. Prawns and fish with a spicy but not too hot coconut based sauce, basmati rice and some bread. If this is healthy eating then I’m totally sold.
We try some wine specially selected by Ian – it’s the same wine served to guests at the chalet and not at all the usual chalet wine you experience. There’s room for a dessert and we tuck in – you’d have to be cycling or skiing if you’re doing this for a week. As far as Ian and Amy are concerned, it’s about balance and the ingredients they use.
The very comfortable ensuite bedroom provides a quiet night’s sleep (in this part of Morzine there is no passing traffic and therefore no noise at all), but I wake to heavy rain in the morning. After breakfast, which is extremely healthy and did include a freshly made drink that was green, I headed off into Morzine, leaving Amy with her group of clients in the gym training for what looked like a super triathlon.
I decide not to participate and instead walk into town, leaving Chalet Avenir where I spent a night to remember. Hopefully at some point I’ll be back in Morzine during the ski season and if I’m lucky, get to try that curry again. For anyone heading there this winter, I’d highly recommend a stay.
Morzine is a ski resort located in the heart of the Portes du Soleil ski area – one of the world’s biggest that straddles France and Switzerland and offers skiing and snowboarding for all ability levels. The town retains much of its traditional feel and offers a good selection of restaurants and shops – Geneva Airport is 1.5 hours transfer away providing easy access for weekend or longer trips.
Chalet Avenir is run by Lifecycol and opens for the 2016-17 winter ski season on December 11th and is available through until April 23rd. Prices start at €6,300 for the entire chalet on a half board basis for 7 nights, including wine (and beer) and afternoon tea, ski lift drop off and pick up each day, access to the hot tub, wifi.