Chamonix is a beautiful skiing/hiking town set at the foot of Mont Blanc near the Italian and Swiss border. For four nights we stayed at the Hameau Albert, an old lodge that was converted into a luxury hotel and is also home to a very good restaurant: Hameau Albert 1er. They had several tasting menus to choose from – because we’re slovenly hogs, we went for the biggest:

The meal was excellent with the standout being the sweetbreads. Nuts and carrots seem like an odd combination but the flavors worked very nicely and the different textures pushed it over the top. The meal came paired with two types of champagne (Esprit du Giraud Rose; Charles Mignon Brut Grande Riserve), a tasty red (Chambolle Musigny ’02 Les Veroilles) and then for the dessert courses a Quinta Infantado Tawny Port. It was a great experience, perhaps a little bit too long (7:00 – 11:30 from start to finish), but worth the mediocre night’s sleep and champagne hangover in the morning.

Sidenote: You may have noticed the picture of Liz above. This is, in fact, not a picture of Liz but rather my attempt to capture the vested nincompoop over Liz’s left shoulder. He was there with his parents, and if i heard correctly they were a Norwegian family on vacation. I could not take my eyes off this Nordic twit for at least half the meal. He reminded me immediately of Hans from Tom Hanks’ finest film, the Burbs, with only slightly less pronounced chops – Liz agreed. But it wasn’t the curious resemblance that caught my eye, but rather his incredibly obnoxious chew. Like a cow grazing in pasture, Hans chewed his food with a nonchalance and obliviousness that mesmerized me. Each open-mouthed chomp stretched his lips to the limit before slowly resetting for another saliva drenched smack. Liz claimed she couldn’t hear him, which drove me even further up the wall.