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Ski Resort Life

17 Reasons To Ski France

Better ski hard to earn the cuisine of the French Alps. Bon appetite.

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We visited Club Med’s Val Thorens Sensations, a ski-in/ski-out all-inclusive resort located steps from lifts at Europe’s highest ski resort in the French Alps. At the top of Les Tres Vallées, one of the world’s largest ski areas, the Val Thorens ski area affords breathtaking views and hundreds of runs. (Reason number one to ski the French Alps.) But skiing in that thin mountain air stokes appetites. Luckily, two Two Michelin-starred chef Edouard Loubet (a Val Thorens local) dished up gourmet cuisine in the resort’s signature restaurant, and countless chefs delivered an infinite array of recipes at Club Med’s dining rooms.

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Starters included oysters, prawns, and this elegantly plated lox, but did not stop at seafood. From a charcuterie section (complete with cured meats, cornichons, and Dijon mustard) to tiny deconstructed salads, the appetizer buffet proffered a new range of foods at each meal.

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Restraint be damned, this plate is a prime example of a hungry, easily-distracted soul in her first night in an expansive self-serve restaurant. Lesson learned: Do a walk-around to spot the highlights of a particular meal’s offerings before grabbing a dish. From perfectly cooked red meat with mushroom sauce to fragrant leeks and orange-scented endive-type vegetable, however, this meal satisfied.

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For a true French experience, take a two-hour-ish lunch. Kick it off with a starter made with local and regional ingredients, such as fresh field greens, and a glass of wine.

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There’s nothing heavy about this lunch; it might pack a mean (and perfectly cooked medium rare) punch of protein, but it will keep you skiing until sunset. That, of course, isn’t necessarily the point of French skiing.

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Dessert? For lunch? Oui! Sorbet, se il vous plait.

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Who could resist diving into fondue simmering slopeside?

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In December, la Bûche de Noel appears across France. Essentially a Yule log cake made with rolled sponge cake and buttercream-y filling, the pastry pictured is a modern, haute-cuisine take on a traditional dessert. Common across France, Bûche de Noel competitions pit amateur and professional bakers alike against one and other to push the boundaries of an originally bucolic design.

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Forget that it’s ski season; these berries taste fresh. As does the custard and crust they sit atop.

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France offers something to satisfy any sweet tooth—from Croquembouche (that is, a conical tower of cream puffs) to layered merengue cakes covered in a chocolate pouch, to little cups of airy whipped cream and berries.

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Reason 12: bread. Warm, crusty, whole grain or white, this bread is best served with cheese.

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This goat cheese is good enough for dessert—and breakfast and lunch.

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Breakfast breads range from airy baguettes to sweet eggy loafs. With a café au lait or double espresso, and a soft-boiled egg, skiers are fueled up for the slopes. Late risers looking to soak up last night’s champagne grab mini croissants and pan au raisin from a buffet in the ski locker room.

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These desserts? Definitely worth skiing bell-to-bell (or skinning the slopes, renting snowshoes to hike, or mountain biking ski runs) for.

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Mini Le Creuset dutch ovens hold melt-in-your-mouth meals, from rich beef to scallops.

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What pairs well with crème brulee? A dry red. And bragging about your day’s turns and tomorrow’s plans to carve the French Alps’ snow.