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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Traveling – Chamonix, France

On my birthday in 2003, we were in Chamonix France, home of the first winter Olympics in 1924. We started our day with a walnut cake that we had brought with us from Sarlat in the Dordogne region of France. My wife stuck a match in the cake like a candle. She sang happy birthday to me and I quickly blew out the match before it burned down to the cake and then we enjoyed a walnut birthday cake for breakfast.

This is par for the course in Chamonix where we stayed in the Hotel de L’arve, which in spite of the name, was a very nice place to stay. From our room we could step out onto a rooftop patio and look up at Mont Blanc, which is the highest mountain in the Alps.

We rode the two cable cars to the top of the Aiguille Du Midi, a 12602-foot high mountain top weather and tourist station. From here climbers leave to ascend the additional 3000 feet to get to the top of Mont Blanc. We were fortunate to have a clear day and we could look out over the valleys and even over into Italy (which only a couple of miles away).

Lunches when we travel are usually a picnic. We will visit a local store and pick up some meat, cheese, bread, fruit, and a treat and pack it in our daypacks. We always carry plastic utensils and a folding cup that also serves as a bowl. With the food and utensils, we can easily stop along side a trail, stream or even in a park and have a nice relaxed lunch without spending a lot of money.

We had two dinners in Chamonix, the first night was at a restaurant that specializes in crepes. We had a large salad with all kinds of ingredients: bacon, tomato, olives, croutons, and smoked salmon (smoked, but also cooked). We also had galette, stuffed with potato, onion, cheese, and mushrooms.

The next night we ate at one of the local restaurants and had fondue. I love to eat fondue, this was a wonderful cheese fondue that we enjoyed with a nice white wine. (In the future I will write about making fondue at home.)

One thing we saw in a shop window that we didn’t sample were small local sausages that were covered in fat that leached out of the casing (but it looks like mold). I have eaten some interesting things during our travels: pickled herring, foie gras, cold smoked salmon, other smoked meats, and cheeses. Somehow, I have a tendency to avoid small moldy looking lumps of meat. Maybe in the future, I will be more adventurous; after all, that’s what I’m writing about.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

1 comment:

  1. You are lucky to spend your birthday in Chamonix! A truly remarkable place especially for the holidaymakers during the winter season.