Crossaint, Megeve


Crossaint, Megeve

Crossaint, Megeve

Today is my 21st day in France, the end of my third week. I think it is safe to say that by now I know a little about the food and will consequently write about it.

The food system here is different than in America. Most of the area around Megeve is for farming, and so our food comes from the nearby farms. Our neighbor has a farm, there is a farm across the street, a farm down the street. Basically, there are lots of families even in town who own half a soccer field of land and have four or five cows. There are also some chickens and horses and I have even seen a yard of geese. All the food is natural and the cows are mostly for milking, so they eat grass. There is a milk truck that comes around everyday to collect milk from the farmers to make cheese. He goes to every house with cows, even a farm with only one cow. Holidays don’t stop him either. The man can be seen on Christmas and New Year. Even when it is -20°C. (about -5°F). In the hills, there are tons of cows. When I went on my hike, I must have seen a dozen different herds of cattle each numbering almost 50 animals. I am sure their output gets collected too, and so there is always plenty of fresh cheese and milk.

I don’t drink milk, but I do eat cheese. There are over 200 kinds of cheese in France and every single one is illegal in the U.S. (I think). There are goat cheeses and blue cheeses and smoked cheeses. My family buys a special cheese native to Megeve and a few other varieties. My favorite is like a cream cheese. It is called Bouris and it comes in different kinds. The best for me is the Ail et Fines Herbes, but the nutty kind is good too.

Additionally, there are lots of farms with fruits and vegetables. The lettuce we eat is fresh  and from around my home. Friday and Saturday are market days and Cathy, my French mom, gets fresh strawberries because they are in season. They are spongy and bright red and as vibrant as flashy lipstick. Except much better tasting. The strawberries are definitely the sweetest and most delicious I have ever tasted. Also there are plum like fruits that are bursting purple and bite sized. Those are extremely good too. Something else that is bite-sized are the grapes. I don’t usually like grapes, but these are sweeter and riper than any I have ever tasted. I can’t help myself from eating them.

The best food – and that is saying a lot because everything from the chicken to meat to spinach is better than even restaurant food – is the bread. The bread is fresh and soft and the famous French bread is a perfect combination of hard outside and buttery inside. I love the bread. In France, people tend to eat bread with other things, not alone. Same with cheese and chocolate. But the bread is so delicious, I just want to eat it alone. I have been called down multiple times for not having anything with my bread and eating it “like cake.” It’s ok though. And at school the lunches  – much better than the school lunches in Telluride – you can take as much bread as you want. I get like a quarter loaf of French bread every day.

When we talk about food in the Alps, we cannot forget the chocolate. In Megeve, there is not  an excessive amount of chocolate like in Switzerland, but there are lots of chocolates and it is spectacular. A company named Milka makes their milk chocolate creamier and dreamier than Symphony bars. They also make a bar that is milk chocolate with almonds that just melt when you bite into them. Then there is the chocolate bar with bits of caramel and white chocolate bars. All amazing. Another chocolate company, Ovo, makes a type of Oreo that that is bigger than our Oreos: the outside is like a chocolate cookie and inside is creamy chocolate. I think it is better than the regular Oreo.

And while we are on the topic of desserts, my wonderful sister Camille is a cook and likes to bake cakes. So we have cakes three or four times a week. The cakes are like cupcakes, except they have melted chocolate on the inside. Sometimes it is white chocolate. Sometimes milk chocolate. You never know until you take a bite. The best dessert I had was like a cheese danish with chocolate. I don’t know if there was any cheese, but it tasted kinda cheesy and had some white chocolate inside. It was like chocolate cream cheese inside a pastry. But I only had that once.

There are also great yogurts, which are creamy like butter. There are no fruit bits swirled in like in America, where chemical fruit and preservatives ruin the yogurt. Peach tastes like peach without the fake peach bits and the strawberry tastes like strawberry without mashed, unripe strawberries.

Then there are the famous croissants, which are for special occasions only, like holidays, sometimes Sunday and birthdays. I guess my arrival was special enough to warrant three days of morning croissants.

For breakfast it is cereal, but there are different kinds than in America. I have not actually been to the store, so I do not know what kinds are available, but we get one with chocolate, which is very good.

There is also difference in the times people eat in France. There are five set meals, not three. The first is for people who get up really early and go to work at like 5:00 a.m. They have their breakfast then. At 11:00 a.m., those people have a second breakfast to tide them over until lunch. For everyone else, there is just one breakfast when they wake up.

Breakfast for me consists of the cereal, water, and a large cup of green tea. Alain and Clement have coffee, but I don’t like coffee that much so I have tea every morning. I am growing to like tea, I did not have it often before France.

Lunch, when possible like on the weekends, is a family affair. It is a big meal with more then one course and before you sit down and start eating, everyone has to be home and ready. Our lunch is always meat, a bowl of salad, maybe some fruit, and of course, the bread and cheese. Sometimes, if it is a special occasion like a wedding or holiday, you can sit down to eat lunch at 12:00 and finish at 5:00 p.m. Yeah, lunch is a much bigger production than in America.

The next meal is at four or five and is called “le quatre heure,” which literally means the 4 o’clock because that is about when you are supposed to snack. I have it as soon as I get home from school at 5:00 p.m. It consists of eating as much chocolate as you want and having bread too. Nicolas showed me how to make a bread chocolate sandwich. It is ok to have cheese too.

Lastly there is dinner, which is a family meal. Every day dinner happens when everyone is at home. If someone is out, we wait. It is later than in America, at like 8:00 or 9:00 p.m., and it lasts a little bit longer except on special occasions which it lasts a lot longer. Again we have a meat, vegetable and a lot of times, we have new pasta variations which are delicious. The best pastas are with a cheese sauce.

Is your mouth watering?

Tres bien.

Editor’s Note: Last January, Telluride Inside… and Out visited Megeve, located in the Haute-Savoie department, Rhone-Alpes region, southeastern France. The town started its development as a ski resort in the 1910s, when the Rothschild family began spending winter vacations in the region after becoming oh so over the Swiss resort of St Moritz. Modern-day Megeve is considered among the most beautiful upmarket ski resorts in France, indeed, in the world. And with good reason. Even more than Telluride, Megeve offers extensive downhill options for all levels of skiers and boarders: 111 lifts, 219 slopes, totaling 445 km. The region has no huge hotels, and for the most part, there are no mass market boils on its face. (However – egads –  when we were there, we spied a MacDonald’s at one end of town.) The core of Megeve is a charming medieval village with narrow cobbled streets, but the wake-up call signaling you are in the here and now are the numerous high-end designer boutiques flashing brand names like Prada and Hermes. Over the years, Telski, Town of Telluride and Mountain Village honchos have talked about the possibility of an alliance with Megeve in the form of a “sister city” relationship. So far, no dice. But an ambassador went to Megeve anyway,  thanks to two ski coaches, local Caleb Martin and his friend, Richard Gay (in Megeve). The pair decided an exchange would be a great idea, so  Zach Nunn is now staying with Clement Cabrol’s family – Alain, Cathy, Camille,  and Nicholas –  before Clement travels to town to ski moguls with the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club. Clement will be staying with the (remaining) Nunns: Randall, Debra, and Skyler. Zach plans to spend a year in Megeve and will be posting regularly.

  • kristine
    Posted at 06:17h, 20 September

    I so enjoyed reading this Zach, Susan, Debra and Randy! Wow! What an experience! And I am so hungry now!

  • Tava Smathers
    Posted at 13:51h, 20 September

    Zach, je suis si fière de toi! Est-ce que tu apprends le français vite en mangeant ?  Tu nous manques, et on est jaloux de ton année en Megève !

    Je te dis bonjour à la part de tous tes amis.


  • Tuck Gillett
    Posted at 14:35h, 20 September

    J’aime les sensas gouts de France. Je suis jealoux a vos choix chaque jour. Eat an extra course for me, some time.

    Le Tuck

    Posted at 15:17h, 20 September


  • Claire Bartlett
    Posted at 19:39h, 20 September

    Zach I am so happy to read about your stay in France. After planning it for so long, you must be happy to be there. What you describe about French food is pretty accurate especially about the fruit and the meals. Enjoy the rest of your stay.

  • caleb martin
    Posted at 20:53h, 28 September

    Well written Zach! I have to agree that the food in Europe is incredibly superior to what we eat in the states. It makes me wonder what the States would be like if everyone had a garden in the front yard instead of hormone induced green grass….I especially love the cheese too, the stinkier the better of course..and the tomotoes and little onions. My favorite is the delectable bread with tomato, onion, and cheese melted on top.

    • admin
      Posted at 17:51h, 04 November

      Thanks for your comment Caleb. Keep ’em coming.

  • Lambert
    Posted at 15:31h, 29 September

    Hey Zach. Sounds like you are having a lot of fun over there. The food sounds delicious. Are you going to come back 20 pounds heavier? My math classes are fun this year. No Calc BC though.