Maison Carrier is the other restaurant in the Hameau Albert – more casual and a whole lot cheaper. They had a whole pig menu so ordering was a no-brainer, but we were mildly surprised by the first offering: a chicken liver pate. Chamonix is either the home of some very creative experimental breeders, or something got lost in translation. Liz and I were still reeling from all the wine from the night before and had resolved not to order any, but we buckled a bit under the suggestion of an aperitif from our waitress and got two glasses from the house. We ended up ordering a carafe after that, but at least the thought was there. Here’s what we ate (actually, thats deceiving since Liz did not finish nary a one of these dishes, leaving me to clean up the plates on principle. SO. Here’s what I ate and what Liz nibbled on):

The blood pudding rocked my world. Velvety smooth and so savory. The belly was no slouch either, served with a crispy tomato polenta. I was happy to finish off both of Liz’s plates. The trotter, on the other hand, proved to be a bit difficult to swallow. It had been deep fried and it seemed like the high temperature turned the usually firmer texture of foot-fat into a runny mess; kind of like bone marrow, but for some reason the flavor of foot with the texture of marrow didn’t agree with me. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to have to chew my foot. I did my best but could not get the job done. Dessert buffet was totally unnecessary but oh so good, with homemade pies and cakes and cookies and tarts. A delicious send-off to Piemonte, which is where we were headed the next morning.

Final verdict on Chamonix: beautiful location with great hiking, too touristy for this tourist’s taste, hard to get a good meal except for the two places in our delightful hotel. Probably would not go back again, but glad to have gone there once.