I would like to follow on from my post about Ballintaggart Farm, a Perthshire cookery school, with a story about an equally brilliant, destination cook school, this time in the French Alps: Chalet Savoie Faire.
It appeared in the January issue of Period Living magazine and to be honest, visiting it was one of the most magical experiences of my life. I felt a bit sorry for Doug, as he had to spend the whole time taking photographs and could not really relax as fully as he might have otherwise. Our French correspondent, Mairi MacDonald, now firmly settled over there, did the words and the styling: I did not really have to do anything, I helped a bit, but my main job seemed to be simply, drinking in the beautiful surroundings, sampling the exquisite hospitality, and just enjoying everyone’s company.
Hosts, Nikki Shields and her husband, Hugh Quinn have really done their homework: both have years of experience, skiing, cycling, cooking and managing chalet properties in the area. They have set up a truly unique holiday experience: to say there is ‘something for everything’ is a ridiculous understatement – Spa day? Tick. Skiing? Tick. Cycling? Walking? Tick, tick. A day’s Brocante shopping in little known vintage salvage yards tucked away in nearby mountain villages, stuffed with relics from nearby chateaux that have been gutted or pulled down even…. Err yes please! A days shopping in gorgeous French boutiques in nearby Annecy – Errrr yeah!
Niiki’s knowing eye is fully available for guests who want to be guided around her secret suppliers. A quick glance at some of the spaces that her and Hugh have created is enough to realise how invaluable her assistance would be!
Plus, what about a day’s cookery instruction? We all need to learn – I have been cooking all my life and really enjoy it, but I can definitely feel my confidence waning occasionally and new ideas and easy to learn, clever techniques are always very welcome in my house.
Harder to picture, but very much included is the warmth and fun that Nikki and Hugh have to offer, I can’t wait to return to catch up and hear more about their never ending adventures and share further the delicious food, that is so beautifully presented, the select wines that they showcase and the brilliant activties that they offer.
I skied on my last visit and it was magical, but my next visit might have more emphasis on shopping and wine tasting, if anyone wants to join me!