Smarter catering – Making life easier on your ski holidays so you can optimise relaxation and enjoyment…Interested? I thought so 😉
As we all know, for parents, self-catering on ski holidays is the most convenient/affordable option but cooking every single night can be challenging/take the joy out of the holidays. Similarly going out for meals can quickly become expensive and not adapted to individual family needs. We have just discovered a brand new service that provides a perfect solution to these problems and helps you have a stress free, more enjoyable ski holiday! We took it upon ourselves to test it out for you on a recent mini-break!
During the school holidays, we went to stay in a mountain refuge for a wee mini break.A magical, luxury winter, mountain refuge, tucked away in the French Alps. We have been to mountain refuges a few times over the last few years in both winter and summer and it has to be said it is UNIQUE and has always enchanted both ourselves and our children – making unforgettable family memories year on year. A recent article in smartparenting highlights why we should go on more family vacations and I couldn’t agree more!
It’s so special, we try to share this with different friends each year…They have also recently renovated this refuge so it’s even more luxurious with two separate bathrooms . This year our “team” was composed of four families with their “older” kids (aged 4-8) – a few “little” ones had been packed off to their grandparents 😉 The criteria being kids that could ski down a blue slope and not fall down the ungated stairs/off the terrace 😉
I was in charge of the organisation of the trip and the catering. Having been in refuges several times I know just how crucial the catering is. Part of the charm is the fact it is a mountain refuge that stands alone in the heart of the French Alps. To me this is the ultimate luxury …. this refuge was privatised and you are alone on top of the mountains surrounded by nature and the stars. Once the chairlift stops you have no access to shops, restaurants etc. and even when the lifts are open…there is no other accommodation and there are only two little restaurants in the tiny, family friendly ski resort and a little snack on the slopes. Anticipation is the name of the game.
We have tried different options each year and this year I was ready to test something new. When I heard of Huski, a new service that was launched in December 2016 in the Tarentaise by fellow, passionate skiers who too after having children were looking for ways to make the whole experience much more enjoyable/stress-free I was intrigued. The service operates in Les Arcs, Tignes, Val D’Isere, Sainte Foy, La Rosière and La Plagne this year with plans to expand rapidly. it sounded like an ideal opportunity to test the service and their products along with Le sac à cuisinier (my trusted weekly partner in food 😉
SO WHAT IS HUSKI ?
Huski markets itself as a mountain delivery company “aiming to take the pain out of catering ski holidays.” Sounds perfect. I am always on the hunt for anything that makes life simpler & easier.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
It really is very simple you pop online (whenever you like 24/7…everything is digital or if you prefer you can call them), create an account, select your food/drinks from their easily navigable website and they deliver to your door, or you can pick up from their HQ in Bourg Saint Maurice. You can even have same day delivery. WONDERFUL. Even though I was out of their defined “delivery zone” for this year, they happily agreed to deliver to me at my home, at a time that suited me, in Annecy-le-Vieux the night before we left to the refuge. PERFECT. (even better the charming young gentleman – George I believe – helped me put everything away in my fridge/freezer and answered the barrage of questions from my over excited children 😉)
I had the job of choosing a menu for our group of 8 adults and six children…The menu is varied, with something for everyone, adults and kids alike and offers a wide selection of locally sourced specialities and COOK food (the Uk’s leaders in luxury frozen meals – the French equivalent would be Piccard I think). They have a multitude of options and packages on offer from basic welcome packages , to family menu plans. Choosing the food was a very tricky task…as everything sounded FABULOUS. I wanted to try everything! I have clearly been in France too long and am obsessed with food. I eventually settled on a fondue for the children – my eldest loves fondues and begged me to choose this (sourced locally from Le Monal I believe), a curry evening for the adults (with the COOK products) and a selection of different desserts locally sourced from artisan producers Maison Rullier. This way we got to test pretty much every supplier and everything soudned Yummy.
We opted for our Hu:Ski food on our third night in the refuge. This was perfect timing as no one could be bothered to cook and all we had to do was pop the oven on, giving everyone time to relax and make the most of the refuges facilities. The kids took great delight in the hot tub/storvatt, a selection of the adults indulged in a pre-dinner sauna with a view over the Tournette and a few others simply opted for cheeky glass of wine in front of the fire. BLISS.
We served the kids the fondue first and they were soooo excited – two kids of the group although local, Savoyard Frenchies tasted their first ever fondue and loved it. The kids devoured the fondue and took great delight in the ritual of stabbing the bread and twirling their hunks of bread in the delicious melted cheese – under adult supervision of course! We also teased them that if they dropped their bread in the fondue they would have to lie in the snow outside in their swimming costumes or kiss their neighbour…This resulted in giggles galore. They were in heaven.
Once the kids had eaten and were settled in front of a film we then set about the curry evening for the adults. We had in our midst one person who follows a strict no gluten diet and she was particularly appreciative of the clear packaging and the fact that she could eat pretty much everything we’d chosen for the curry evening – unlike most Savoyard specialities. It must be noted that the website is extremely clear from this point of view and you can filter through various different criteria from diary free, gluten free, good for kids, under 500 calories etc.
I had chosen a selection of lots of different curries so there would be something for everyone…Moroccan lamb tagine, chicken tikka masala, sweet chilli and garlic prawns, Gobi curry, red Thai curry, minted couscous, roasted vegetables, basmati rice…Everything was delicious, demolished in record time and accompanied with some local red wine. The portions were perfect for hearty appetites after a day on the slopes and our group were extremely impressed with the quality of the curries. The Haute Savoie region is not renowned for its curries and it’s got to be said it’s hard to find a decent curry in the region. My friend Claire does the best ones I’ve tasted in Annecy…but alas you have to be her friend to taste those😉
After a little break, we attacked the desserts. I too had wanted to vary the choice, to try everything. It has to be said the Maison Roullier desserts were divine and the portions HUGE. We shared chocolate mousse’s, blueberry mountain tiramisu’s, lemon meringues and the good old sticky toffee puddings…My personal fave being the Mountain tiramisu – simply delicious. We could hardly move but not one single mouthful was left!!! A real treat.
What was even better was there was hardly any washing up! Horray!!!
It has to be said our group loved the Huski experience and were already questioning me on the details so they could use it for their next ski trips. We’ll definitely be using them again…
For more details & to make your family ski trips more enjoyable: