Mmm hmm, how do I describe the food in Chamonix?  Darn tootin' delicious, diverse and expensive? 

When in any foreign locale, one must sample the local cuisine, and for the Alps, that cuisine is Savoyard style food.  What that means for us tourists is authentic fondue and my very first fondue experience.  A melty cheesy mess for staying warm in the mountains - if that doesn't fill you up and build up the fat reserves for the winter, there's little hope for you.  We had a tomato fondue with melted reblochon cheese, accompanied with French bread and boiled potatoes for dipping.  Never have I eaten so much cheese in one sitting before and never have I gotten sick of cheese so quickly.  It was a wonderfully novel and gooey experience to begin with but my cheese tolerance is only so high.  I waddled out of the restaurant, swearing off cheese for the rest of my life.  But Chamonix is all about the cheese.  On one little touristy strip alone, there were at least three cheese and charcuterie shops in a row - pip pip pip.  And of course we had to pop in to stare at the heaps and mounds of dried sausages and cubes of cheese all stacked together.  The shops smelled a little bit like wet dog.  Unappetizing, I know, but apparently, when you mix together dried, cured meats and moldy cheese, that's what you get.  Wet dog smell.

One of the obsessions that I happen to share with the Europeans is nutella.  Remember all of my nutella obsessions earlier?  Well, the first thing that encounter in Europe, right when I step off the plane in Geneva, is a gleaming white duty free store - like a beckoning beacon - with VATS of nutella.  Literally vats.  Unfortunately, it was neither practical nor in the best interest of my health to buy one of those to bring home so Frenchie and I had to satisfy our sweet tooth with nutella crepes and hot chocolate.  Real hot chocolate, not the mix stuff, made with melted chunks of chocolate in milk.  We found a little cafe on the first day that served the real deal and all sorts of sweet and savory crepes.  We probably should have never left.  Sigh.  I love Europe.

One of the quirkier things that Frenchie and I do when we travel is try non-local cuisines in those different cities, to see how it compares with our tastes and American taste buds.  For example, in just about every European city that I've visited, I've dined at an Indian restaurant.  Curries and biryani are my adopted comfort food and, as Chamonix is a popular British destination, the Indian food there was quite good.  We also had some soul-warming miso soup at a surprisingly tasty Japanese spot and unique Continental cuisine in a tiny, eight top restaurant called La Petite Kitchen.  The food was precisely cooked and plated and the chef sent out little treats of soups and desserts during the meal, which made it quite special in a touristy town like Chamonix.

I am lucky enough to live in an extremely food oriented city where the selection is diverse, food is fresh and plates are cheap.  However, during this vacation, we sampled some delightful French fare - from freshly baked French baguettes to chocolate digestives and homemade macaroons - and drank our fill of French wine, beer and whatever else we damn well pleased.  We groaned with the fullness of our bellies after every meal, swearing that we'd never eat that much again, and then repeat it all the next day.  We were on vacation after all.