Chalet night off in Champoluc
Tom from the marketing team travelled to Champoluc over the winter (staying in the Chalet Hotel Breithorn), he tells us about his local dining experience on the staff night off:
Whilst the thought of a warming Chalet Hotel dinner (not to mention the complimentary wine) is sometimes just what keeps you going on the final run of the day, I also really enjoy the opportunity to visit a local restaurant on the staff night off. In Champoluc, with a vast choice of incredible local restaurants serving varied cuisines, the only trouble is trying to decide upon one.
Having previously had a recommendation from friends, thankfully, the decision was already made for me, and we headed to Rascard Frantze’s, a restaurant mid-way down the final piste into Champoluc. To reach the restaurant, you must take the Gondola up from Champoluc, which runs roughly once an hour for a small charge in the evening. Travelling up the mountain in darkness and an eerie quiet is quite an adventure in itself and the views down into the partially street lit valley are beautiful.
Once you reach the top, there are 2 options to descend down to the restaurant. If you haven’t had enough piste miles during the day, you can take up your skis and ski down with head torches, but this will involve wearing ski boots throughout dinner, as well as skiing down after a very filling meal (not to mention any wine). The second and far more relaxing way is by snowmobile for a small charge. ‘Papa’ will pick you up as soon as you arrive at the top, as well as taking you back up after you have finished the meal, in time for the return gondola down the mountain. Another tick on the alpine sports list, and you don’t even need to untuck your shirt!
Walking into Frantze’s, I realised what a special place the restaurant really is. There could not have been any more than 30 diners (despite the restaurant being full), and the whole experience was really akin to private dining. Built in 1721, the building itself is charming, old beams and stone walls, adorned with rusty keys and farming equipment – certainly rustic but without feeling kitsch.
Our hostess for the evening, Francesca was serving along with her mother, and both could not have been more accommodating, giving the personal service that only a small family run restaurant really can. The meal itself was a set 4 course affair which changes nightly to use the freshest of local produce.
Our menu was:
- Beef Carpaccio (with parmesan, rocket and olive oil)
- Spinach and Ricotta pancakes
- Pork Loin Medallions (with prunes)
- Brown Bread Semifreddo
In case your mouth isn’t watering by this point, I can absolutely assure you that everything was delicious, particularly, the unusual semifreddo for which I will be hunting recipes.
The local table wine served in carafes is very good, but as it was a special night, we opted for a bottle of a local red – Donnas. It was superb!
Unfortunately, both the wine and delicious food (although perhaps for the best as portions were plentiful) came to an end and it was time to head back up to the lift. After a quick Caffe Corretto, many thank you’s were exchanged, and being in Italy, many kisses too. We headed back on the snowmobile up the mountain, to take in the views on the return gondola trip.
At €25 each for the set meal, it was far from the most expensive meal I have had in the Alps, but was definitely the best.
Having returned home and researched the restaurant a little more, it has recently appeared in the Telegraph’s world’s ten best mountain restaurants …probably best to book!