Savoie Mont Blanc: No longer just a skiing destination

Savoie Mont Blanc, home to our boutique hotels France

Though the Savoie Mont Blanc region of France has always been popular among tourists for its snow-topped mountains and abundance of ski resorts, such as Meribel and Val d’Isere, the region is also being claimed back by foodies, with a holiday in the Alps now being a far cry from dining simply on fondue and tartiflette.

With 33 restaurants in the region now carrying at least one Michelin star, the highest accolade in the gastronomic world, Savoie Mont Blanc has really experienced a gastronomic boom of late, with cheeses, charcuteries and a host of other local products seeing a surge in popularity. While Savoie has always been famous for its cheeses such as Beaufort, Reblochon and Tomme de Savoie, a number of other local delicacies, such as fresh lake fish, including fera and omble chevalier, are rising in prominence.

Alongside its foods, the region also produces its own wine, which is becoming increasingly respected in wine circles, with many of the local vineyards open to the public and running tours. The vineyards carpet over 2000 hectares of land, which can be explored by car, bicycle or even hot air balloon, and are perfect for the summer months, when the snow is yet to fall and you can enjoy an outdoor wine-tasting session in the blazing French sun. Vin Quand Tu Veux in La Clusaz is a great place to head to if you’re looking to sample a wide variety of wines – over 320 different wines as well as liqueurs are on offer here.

Chambéry is the capital of the Savoie region and is also without a doubt the gastronomical centre, filled with great shops, restaurants and bars hidden away in a maze of intriguing narrow alleys and backstreets. Every Saturday, the city market makes for a great place to stock up on local and fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. For a huge selection of cheeses, including made-in-Chambery Farou and Colombier des Aillons, you’ll find the best at family-run fromager Laiterie des Marches.

During your time in Savoie you’ll definitely want to retreat to one of our gorgeous hand-picked boutique hotels – France, fortunately, has these in abundance. For a great base for both alpine skiing and exploring the region, we recommend the Aiguille Grive Chalets Hotel, a quiet hideaway with some great views of Mont Blanc.

Image: Patrick Nouhailler, available under Creative Commons

Andrew is a firm believer that travelling like a local inevitably leads to the best off-the-beaten-path finds which truly make a destination remarkably more memorable. From traditional Indian festivals in humid Hyderabad to fresh seafood pasta by the Sorrentine Peninsula, he appreciates variety when travelling. He hasn't been everywhere, but it’s on the list.