The Alps are known for après-ski food, a concept I first discovered in one of my favorite childhood books, Bloomability by Sharon Creech. In the book, the main character is sent to a boarding school in Switzerland, where she partakes in raclette: a combination of melted cheese, potatoes, pickles, and ham. This, along with fondue and Mont d’Or, is a classic of the Alps: robust, hearty peasant food (featuring more than a little bit of cheese.)
The problem with après-ski food, in my opinion, is that since these restaurants tend to be located in ski towns, they take advantage of the fact that people don’t have much choice and serve up sub-par versions of these classics: 35 euro greasy fondue, raclette with unlimited potatoes but a paltry selection of grocery store ham… I’ve seen it all.
None of that was to be had at Les Fermes de Marie in Megève.
Granted, this place is not cheap: the restaurant is located within a luxury spa, and while anyone can come enjoy a meal here, you’ll be paying far more than you would at other après-ski establishments.
That said, the food is excellent. The ris de veau or veal sweetbreads up top were cooked perfectly and served with a savory jus and a few slices of local cheese.
This pâté en croûte was nice and chunky with visible pieces of foie gras as well as chunks of pistachio. The pastry was a little dry, but it was otherwise quite nice.
This marinated salmon appetizer was simple, but often that’s where technique shines through: served with pickled peppers and cubes of jellied Sauternes wine, it was the perfect lighter way to prepare for the pièce de résistance: the fondue.
Made with a blend of four cheeses – Beaufort, Swiss Gruyère, Fribourgeois Vacherin, and Comté, it was exactly what you’d hope for in a fondue. My one complaint is that there’s no way for diners to adjust the flame underneath the pot, and since the waiter was hell-bent on ignoring us, the bottom of our cheese ended up scalded – not my favorite smell.
Dessert is served at a bar, but even if, as we were, you’re too full to sample it, they bring a sweet plate of mignardises to enjoy over coffee – a nice finishing touch to a delicious luxury après-ski meal.
Les Fermes de Marie – 163 Chemin de la Riante Colline, Megève