Food and relaxation in charming Samoëns

23rd October 2013, by Abi Butcher

Samoëns in the Grand Massif has one of the largest food markets in the Haute-Savoie

Samoëns in the Grand Massif has one of the largest food markets in the Haute-Savoie

Situated on the banks of the Giffre River within a wide glacial valley, the charming French village of Samoëns is a popular base for Brits wanting to ski the Grand Massif but looking for a slice of real rural life.

Just an hour’s drive from Geneva, Samoens was once a thriving centre for stonemasons. It is set in a pretty wooded valley, and linked to five other resorts within the Grand Massif – Flaine, Samoëns, Morillon, Sixt and Les Carroz — which enjoys 265km of piste.

The traffic-free village centre has continued to retain its natural character and links to the environment, and this year, Samoëns is redefining itself as the “ultimate” wellness village — with treatments for the mind as well as the body to complement your ski holiday.

New for this year is an Ayurveda beauty care from Arbor & Sense, an ancient medicine from India combining four different types of massage using organic plant oils, chickpea flour and ghee butter with music from Northern India.

Also on the programme for 2013/14, to make the most of the pretty wooded slopes surrounding Samoëns is Nordic walking — fitness walking with poles — and Afghan walking — described “active meditation”. There are various yoga programmes available throughout the village, as well as beauty salons and the special “Fifine” offering balneotherapy treatment, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and warming steam room.

One of the reasons skiers choose Samoëns is for the abundance of good-quality restaurants serving local fayre, as well as fabulous markets selling local produce.

To build on the region’s reputation for fine food, this year, the Samoëns tourist office and Peak Retreats have teamed up to organise brand new Gourmet Weeks, available on selected dates throughout January and March. Guests stay at the award-winning three-star Neige et Roc hotel, and will enjoy a series of evening workshops that celebrate the best local food and wine with local experts.

On Mondays, there will be wine tasting with Martin Girat of local wine merchant Le Nez en l’Air, on Tuesday an introduction to and tasting of Savoie cheeses, with a demonstration of the region’s signature dish, the fondue savoyarde.

Jean-Claude Belbarbe of the famous Feuille de Vigne Savoyarde will host a liquor and wine tasting on Wednesdays, and on Thursday a special torchlit walk to a sumptuous dinner of local produce at the Luge à Téran mountain restaurant, hosted by Pascal Pinaud.
On Fridays, the coveted chef Thierry Froissard will demonstrate how to make an individual gastronomic dessert.

All demonstrations take place at various places in the village between 17:30 and 19:30, apart from the mountain restaurant dinner. Groups will be a maximum of 20 and prices start from £828 per person, based on two adults sharing, and including half-board and return Eurotunnel crossing.

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