Archive for September, 2012

Catered ski chalet holidays

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Catered Ski Chalet Holidays

It seems only right that good food should be at the heart of a well-earned holiday in France – with its peerless tradition in gastronomy and amazing regional produce.  So it’s perhaps not surprising that catering has become such a mainstay of the chalet holiday experience.  You only have to spend a few short minutes visiting chalet holiday websites to see how integral the catering is to the holiday overall, with enticing images of mouth-watering cuisine featuring no less prominently than the skiing itself.

The advantages of staying in a catered chalet are fairly obvious.  After a long day on the slopes, it’s an industrious soul indeed who volunteers to cook for the group as a whole, and many would be tempted by the more expensive and less easily-budgeted option of dining out each night.  Although perhaps not quite as accurately as a leave-your-wallet-at-home all-inclusive break, a catered chalet holiday allows you to gauge the total cost of your trip by paying for your meals outright.  Especially with a family or large group, this can make budgeting much easier.  No less importantly, staying in a catered chalet can allow you to relax without having to worry about booking a table for a large group, getting the kids home at a sensible time, or leaving the warming welcoming glow of the chalet’s log fire. 

But while the advantages of staying in a catered chalet may seem self-evident, the pithy description ‘catered chalet’ perhaps raises more questions than it answers.  Catered by whom; for how many meals; and, most importantly, what will you be eating?  This article sets out to answer some of these questions.  Crucially, you should use to your advantage the fact that chalet holidays provide a very personal service.   By building good relations with your chalet host before you depart, you can a much better idea of what to expect when you arrive.</p>

Who provides the catering?

<p>Catering is normally provided by your chalet host – the member of staff who looks after you and your fellow-guests throughout your stay.  Of course, the level of catering experience and proficiency can vary enormously, from relative beginners to highly skilled chefs.  So, before you book, you might want to ask about your chalet host and their catering credentials.</p>

Which meals are provided and when?

Chalet catering usually covers breakfast and evening meals, six days out of seven.  One day per week, the chalet host generally has a day off and guests are encouraged to dine out, so bear this in mind when you’re budgeting.  Lunches are generally not provided as guests would normally be out skiing, but some chalet hosts will provide packed lunches – ask your chalet company if you’re unsure.  As you return from the slopes each afternoon, coffee and cakes will welcome you back to the chalet.  This is a really nice touch which is standard in almost all catered chalets.

Are drinks included?

Provision of alcoholic beverages varies from chalet to chalet, with many offering wine and beer during the evening meal, while some even keep a stocked fridge from which guests can simply help themselves.  Details will often be given online, on the chalet company’s website or holiday advertisement, but again you might like to check in advance.

What about special dietary requirements?

Most chalet companies will accommodate special dietary requirements, including vegetarian and vegan options, dairy-/lactose-free alternatives, gluten-free, wheat-free, low salt, diabetic, halal and kosher.  It’s worth noting, of course, that you know more about your dietary needs than any chef does – so don’t be afraid to share that knowledge.

Can I hire caterers for my self-catered chalet?

This is an increasingly popular option for skiers who have booked a self-catering chalet but do not wish to cook for themselves.  It might be that you couldn’t get a catered chalet, or might be that you have just skied too long and hard to face the trip to the supermarket.  Whatever the reason, chalet chefs are available for hire and will come to your chalet each morning and evening to prepare meals for you.

This article was submitted by The Chalet Experience,  a ski holiday website specialising in catered chalets in France.

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