More and more people these days are booking ski holidays and have dietary requirements. As a former chalet host and chef for a high quality chalet, a regular taker of chalet holidays and having a partner with some food intolerances, I have a fair grounding of what you require, what you can expect and how you can ensure the best possible holiday.
1. When to let us know?
This is the most important one, ensure you let us know as soon as possible so we can alert the operator. Once you have booked, ask for the operator’s resort manager or chalet manager to contact you. That way you can directly discuss exactly what the staff in that resort can provide. You may find that if you have wheat-free and dairy-free products you can bring — that the chalet staff can’t obtain — that can be worked into the menu. I had many guests that would bring bread, flour and even rice and pasta alternatives, which would mean when time was available I would knock up a wheat-free brownie.
Don't turn up with no prior warning and expect gastronomic feats — the hosts won't be prepared or have the ingredients. Don't hide your needs, chalet hosts are there to ensure you have a great time.
If you are a vegan, getting in touch is also very important as people have different approaches to what they will and won't eat. Sending a list of dos and don'ts won’t help, but healthy discussion — either over the phone or email — with resort staff will ensure you are looked after.
Partridge from Chalet Chartreuse in Les Deux Alpes.
2. What alternatives are offered?
There is a limit to what is possible. Many alternative ingredients for those with dairy, wheat and other intolerances are not readily available in resort, so you need to ensure you let us know as soon as possible so we can alert the operator.
Where possible wheat-free bread, flour and pasta will be sourced, as will soy milk, cheese and other products, and chalet hosts will do their utmost to ensure you meal is as similar to the rest of the guests as possible. You may find on some evenings you eat the meat or fish courses and on others the vegetarian options are more forgiving for your dietary needs. Don't be a fussy eater; remember the chalet experience is akin to a hosted dinner party, not an a la carte menu.
3. Are there any fees?
Some operators do charge a small fee to cover for dietary needs other than being vegetarian, due to the difficulty of sourcing ingredients. Other operators will get in touch before hand to discuss menu options and what your exact needs are. In short — it depends.
4. What kind of meals will I get?
You won't get is a completely different menu to the rest of the guests. What you will get is hosts that will try and offer you the best alternatives along the lines of their tried and tested menus.
5. What should I do when I arrive?
On arrival, make sure you mention again to your chef about what you can and can't eat (not what you do and don't like) and they can talk through their menu for the week in person, making any last minute changes. Just remember, due to the logistics of a ski resort they may have to shop the day before you arrive and will have to plan accordingly. Patience, openness and talking through menus will make for a better week all round.
(Bonus) 6. One last thing…
If you've spent five days saying you can't eat dairy, don't turn round and ask your chalet host for the butter-filled, cream covered, self-saucing chocolate brownie on the last night of your holiday. I may have eaten said brownie having served the non-diary desert to said guest.
So, once you've booked, drop an email to CustomerCare@iglu.com and ask the team to put you in touch with the resort staff, then sit back and have a great holiday.