Showing posts with label luxury travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label luxury travel. Show all posts

Sunday, 20 August 2017

French Alps: Savoie Mont Blanc, Talloires, Annecy and Chambéry



Talloires by Lake Annecy
Talloires by Lake Annecy

If you are in the mood for a break and enjoy some rest from a hectic schedule, I suggest a visit to Savoie Mont Blanc in the French Alps. With its spectacular natural landscapes, legendary mountains, and fantastic attractions, I was constantly amazed on this trip.  There is plenty to discover amongst the lakes and mountains; it's the best of both worlds. Spring has the ideal weather and beautiful time of the year to visit Savoie Mont Blanc. 

The region of Savoie Mont Blanc

French Alps,  Lake Annecy
Lake Annecy

The natural environment of this place is stunning!  There is the  Vanoise National Park, and the two Regional Nature Parks of the Bauges, Massif and Chartreuse are among Savoie Mont Blanc's 14 Nature Reserves spread throughout the territory.  The sheer grandeur of the land leads to the people of Savoire to look after their natural heritage.

Most of its resorts and hotels are equipped with wellness areas, making it a truly ideal destination for rejuvenation.  A list of activities in the region includes cycling, paragliding, climbing, diving, sailing, endless water sports (thanks to astonishing lakes in the area), golf,  and of course skiing!

This region also has an exceptionally high number of Michelin starred chefs. A paradise for cheese lovers with 5 AOC’s for its cheeses (Reblochon, Beaufort,  Abondance, Tome des Baugesand and Chevrotin), 2 PGI’s for Tomme de Savoie and  Emmental.

Talloires and Annecy

French Alps, Annecy
Annecy

French Alps, Savoire Mont Blanc, Annecy
Annecy

French Alps, Savoire Mont Blanc, Annecy

French Alps, Savoire Mont Blanc, Annecy
Annecy

ice cream in Savoire Mont Blanc, Annecy
best ice cream in France at the Glacier des Alpes in Annecy

Annecy took my breath away - think of smaller scale Venice!
It is touted to be one of the oldest inhabited sites in the Northern region. Recent digs have dated the village, which has been identified off the bank at Annecy-le-Vieux at 3,100 years before Christ! Thomas-Dominique Ruphy drew up the town plan in 1793, which was revolutionary in its day. A wide rectilinear road on the main traffic routes was designed to divert circulation from the historic city centre. There are plenty of activities to be entertained with in Annecy like cycling, paddling on the Lake Annecy, strolling across canals, shopping in the local markets, sampling delicious raclette, or spending the day just walking around this beautiful town.

We stopped at Talloires, a lovely village situated on the shores of Lake Annecy.   A visit to Pere Bise Hotel and Restaurant is a must! There you can marvel at the opulence and luxury, and then go for a bite to eat at the restaurant overseen by Chef Jean Sulpice, who came to greet us just after a fantastic lunch her prepared for us - look at the views!

Savoire Mont Blanc, Talloires, Auberge du Pere Bise
Talloires by Lake Annecy, Auberge du Pere Bise
Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
Auberge du Pere Bise

Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
Auberge du Pere Bise
Savoire Mont Blanc, Talloires, Auberge du Pere Bise
Chef Jean Sulpice, two Michelin stars holder, the the youngest chef in history to receive Michelin star at the age of 26


Lunch at Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice

Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
Lunch at Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice - beautiful sourdough

Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
Little nibbles before the amazing lunch: Crayfish with Agastach herb  (off picture)
Frog with garlic and parsley (off picture)
Crisp potatoes with trout eggs
Cheek beef and beet root
Herbs tartar

Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
Egg with crayfish and Saffron- what way to start light mix of eggs, whipped egg whites and crayfish with a hint of Saffron in the background giving an amazing colour  to the dish
Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
Pike, sorrel and vanilla, a light, fresh and  flavoursome dish
Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
Quail's eggs, cucumber aspic, smoked lake fish and oxalis (local wood sorrel), such a beautiful arty plate-up  and the taste  and lightness were stunning.

Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
And the waitress brought the beef smoked with juniper berry in the pot

Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
beef smoked with juniper berry on the plate, beautifully presented and very juice meat with herbs and edible flowers

Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
Beaufort (cheese) mousse and  alpine spirit, the cheese dish was spectacular, again light and the cheese reminded me of gruyère. Something that I would love to reproduce at home!

Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
rich, textural and delicious chocolate and blackcurrant served with parsley sorbet which was pretty fantastic!

Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice
chocolate and blackcurrant parsley sorbet
Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice 

The lake scenery is magnificent with its views of the mountains, the Chateau de Duingt and the villages dotted around the lake.  Next, we crossed the lake, on a boat, to walk around the beautiful town of Annecy.
Auberge du Pere Bise by Chef Jean Sulpice

The hills above the village and lake are topped by at the height of craggy rocks called the Dents de Lanfon. Activities in the lake include stand up paddling, water skiing, diving, canyoning, paragliding and swimming.

Chambéry

savoie mont blanc Chambery
Chambéry
The historic capital of Savoie, Chambéry has plenty of art and history to offer with its mysterious lanes and many covered passages, mansions, Trompe-l'oeil facades, charming internal courtyards, Saint-François-de-Sales cathedral, a castle – the former residence of the Dukes of the Savoie – pedestrian streets and the famous Elephants Fountain.
Savoie Mont Blanc Chambery
  Chambéry

Visit the Savoie museum to check out exhibiting archaeological and ethnographical collections and the Saint-Léger square to stroll or sip coffee at a café. For lovers of water sports, Chambéry benefits from the proximity of two natural lakes: the Bourget Lake, the largest natural lake in France, and the Aiguebelette Lake, which has dazzling emerald coloured water. There are a few sailing and fishing ports around as well.
Savoie Mont Blanc Chambery
Amazing architecture in Chambéry

Savoie Mont Blanc Chambery
Trompe-l'oeil facades in Chambéry

Savoie Mont Blanc Chambery
Trompe-l'oeil facades in Chambéry


Savoie Mont Blanc Chambery
Walking around  Chambéry

Savoie Mont Blanc Chambery
Walking around  Chambéry


Savoie Mont Blanc Chambery
Walking around  Chambéry
Savoie Mont Blanc Chambery
Walking around  Chambéry

Food market in Savoie Mont Blanc Chambery
Indoor food market in  Chambéry



Savoie Mont Blanc  Le Bourget du Lac
Sun and water sports in Le Bourget du Lac

 


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French Alps: Savoire Mont Blanc



Disclosure: I was a guest of Savoie-Mont-Blanc Tourism Board  for review purposes. All views are my own.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine: michelin-starred meal at Refectorio


Abadia Retuerta, Michelin star Refectorio
Abadia Retuerta -  Michelin star Refectorio
Food and service go hand-in-hand at Michelin star restaurant  Refectorio. I had an excellent and elegant dining experience here. The whole of Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine is set up to make you feel super relaxed in exquisite surroundings.

Refectorio is set in a long room with a high and gothic featured ceiling. The stone walls are the background to some beautiful antique original paintings.  Even though it is large, there’s so much to see, and yet it doesn’t feel cluttered. The antique furniture sets off the room nicely. There are about ten dining tables; it feels intimate and yet spacious. As you enter the room, the back wall features a stunning fresco, and by the entrance, there is a bookcase displaying an original collection of books dating back the 12th Century.
Abadia Retuerta, Michelin star Refectorio

The service is impeccable, friendly and elegant. The staff is knowledgeable about the food, wine and spa everywhere you go in this property. Customer service is second to none, they learn about your wishes and likes, and when you least expect it, they offer what you like throughout your stay.  That’s what I call service!
Abadia Retuerta, Michelin star Refectorio

My meal at Refectorio was beyond my expectations, perhaps one of the best meals I've had in Spain this year. The menu was matched with some of the Abadia Retuerta's fine wines.

The first time I entered the room my jaw dropped, everything was so amazing. at the dinner I was directed to my table. I travel solo most of the time nowadays, but the staff made me feel at home. Every single dish was explained in detail, and the wines complimented the dishes so well. I had the Abadia Retuerta wines as I was reviewing everything 'Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine'  and the matches were just superb.

The Meal at Refectorio

Abadia Retuerta, Michelin star Refectorio

Crunch Toast with an intense  gazpacho water (out of the picture)
Bread with olive oil ice cream spring onion and mint - amazing flavours matched with champagne


Mushroom  cheese  stunning umami flavours
Pickled quail encased in sugary eggshell - soft centre and sweet hard shell tasted so good

Abadia Retuerta, Michelin star Refectorio

Cauliflower Soup with smoked trout, the clear soup is made with bones of the trout.  smoky and textured fish was a delight served with Abadia Blanco de Garda wine

Abadia Retuerta, Michelin star Refectorio

Leek hazelnut vinaigrette, roasted garlic croquettes, local mushrooms.  This dish was  full of textures, a mix of fresh and earthy umami flavours
Abadia Retuerta, Michelin star Refectorio

Local Mushroom pork jowl Abadia pine nuts puree of mushrooms concentrated earthy flavours matched with Abadia Retuerta Touriga Nacional red wine

Abadia Retuerta, Michelin star Refectorio

Cod with Iberico tripe sauce and turnip  wine pairing Abadia  Graciano, an intense wine to match the robust sauce. The combination of delicate fish and strong sauce made a exquisite visual appeal as well of element of surprise.  Wine: Abadia Graciano 2013

Tender and  juicy Lamb, mint and kale puree  and coffee matched with Abadia Retuerta Pago Negralada 2014, Tempranillo
Abadia Retuerta, Michelin star Refectorio

Cheeses
Bayonne (blue cheese) from Basque Country with whisky
Sheep's cheese encased in a light, crisp case made with sheets cheese and rosemary topped  black olive topping served with Late Harvest Syrah Vendimia Tardia 2014

Rosemary ice cream toffee honey and Abadia pine nuts
Floral tea with homemade chocolate lemon cream and toffee
Abadia Retuerta, Michelin star Refectorio
I can’t recommend Refectorio enough. Ok, I get that the place is a bit remote, but it’s worth the pilgrimage, believe me!  They have beautiful rooms and a very inviting bar. A stay at the hotel and Spa is also a must. For more on prices  and how to get there: Abadia Retuerta - Refectorio

PS:  A visit to their wine cellar is a must!




How to get there

LeDomaine is located in Spain’s north central province of Castilla y León. It is situated on the banks of the River Duero east of Valladolid in Ribera del Duero region.

Connected by plane to the airports of Valladolid "Villanubla" and Madrid "Barajas".
    By car from the airport of Valladolid to LeDomaine: 40 km.
    By car from the airport of Madrid to LeDomaine: 220 km.

By High-Speed Train from Madrid "Chamartin" Station to Valladolid "Campo Grande" Station: 55 minutes.

By car from Valladolid "Campo Grande" Station to LeDomaine: 30 km.

GPS: 41º 36' 54.95" N, 4º 24' 39" W

Personalised transfer service on request.

ABADIA RETUERTA LEDOMAINE

47340 Sardon de Duero Valladolid,Spain

Tel: +34 983 680 368

Email: info@ledomaine.es


Disclosure: I was a guest at Abadia Retuerta for review purposes, this press trip was organised by Magellan PR . All views are my own.

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