We don’t know about you, but when we celebrated our tenth birthday, we’re sure there was a big and sinful cake in the room – in contrast, the restaurant at Zannier Hotels Le Chalet, La Ferme de Mon Père, is doing things rather differently for their 10-year anniversary: clearing traditional, Alpine fare off the table, the five-star hideaway in the French ski resort of Megève is set to invite guests on a healthier, more sustainable culinary journey.
Ah, the joys of turning ten! Not that we remember anything other than making a proud declaration of starting a new decade in our lives, much to the amusement of everyone within earshot. In contrast, celebrating the big 1-0 when you’re the original hotel by a novel hospitality brand seems somewhat more of an achievement. It’s with this in mind that Zannier Hotels Le Chalet has created a brand-new dining concept to help guests fall in love with it once more. Set to be served from 16 December onwards, a conscious and contemporary menu will grace tables at the hotel’s La Ferme de Mon Père bistro – needless to say, we sweet-talked brand founder Arnaud Zannier into giving us a first look.
Guests can look forward to predominantly plant-based and seasonal meals ranging from cauliflower with curry and cashews to leek salad with wakame seaweed and smoked carrot tagine. To fine-tune the new menu, Michelin-starred Executive Chef Julien Burlat has brought new (and award-winning, we should add) talent Benjamin Vakanas on board. But devotees to La Ferme need not worry: despite the shift in focus towards vegetables and fruits, the restaurant’s DNA will remain largely the same, complementing the overall look and feel of Zannier Hotels Le Chalet and, more generally, the brand as such: ingredients, much like service and interior design elements, promise to be simple and authentic, but executed masterfully.
It should come as no surprise to devoted ski bunnies like ourselves that launching a veg-heavy menu is the gastronomic equivalent to going, well, seriously off-piste in the French Alps, a destination mad for meat and fond of fondue. It’s exactly what intrigues us about the idea: when a particular type of vacation is near-synonymous with a specific diet, things can start to taste a little dull to experiential travellers. Winter sports have always involved heavier, less conscious meals, both for reasons of tradition as well as appetite (also, you’ll need something to ward off the worst effects of all those apres-ski hot toddies!). But increasingly, contemporary sentiments call for more refined dining experiences that help setting ski getaways like Zannier Hotels Le Chalet apart from others – and the reasons behind those sentiments are no less valid.
As a brand firmly rooted in an ethos of sustainability, Zannier is no stranger to pioneering initiatives. To see this latest concept come into fruition is quite the step forward, nonetheless: culinary traditions could hardly be more valued in France, and any departure from what’s tried-and-tested is arguably a risk. In this case, however, we’re sure it’ll pay off. Not only because the chefs at the Megève hotel are evidently talented, but also because Zannier Hotels Le Chalet is the sort of destination that appeals to a more modern visitor, with an appreciation of innovative ideas and a hunger, quite literally, for new flavours. And in any case, it’s not like the hotel will be celebrating its anniversary completely guilt-free: between dark chocolate soufflés and pink îles flottantes, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to commit a little crime – you just won’t have to feel quite so bad about it.