a bit of history …
about the chalet
Built in 1746 this farmhouse was home to a farmer, his family and their livestock. The stone base would have been half accommodation for the farmer and his family, and half stables for cows and goats – essential to providing winter food in the form of milk and cheese. The heat from the animals would have kept the family warm along with the one central fireplace where all food was cooked. The wooden barn above the stone base was a huge space to store the hay needed to see the animals, and therefore the people, through the long and harsh winters. Work was hard and the growing season is short so the orchard behind the chalet would have been of great value with the apples, pears, and plums providing much needed variety to the diet along with providing home-made cider.
why so many hearts?
You’ll see a lot of heart shapes in the shops, restaurants, and other buildings in the local villages plus there are a few hearts here at the chalet too! The heart is a symbol traditionally used in the region and in the case of our chalet, hearts and clover shapes were cut into the original wooden façade so we’ve just reintroduced them.
the Savoyard region
Situated just south of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva, the French Savoyard region constitutes an almost purely Alpine mountain landscape. There is limited farmland and much is devoted to raising cattle for dairy products – an important part of the local menu. Forests are an important sustainable resource for the local community and over 40% of the Haute Savoie region is forested. Here in the Giffre valley you’ll have beautiful forest views as far as the eye can see, and lots of lovely tree-lined pistes to enjoy too.
Traditional dairy farming is still an important part of the valley’s economy and heritage, and you can hear the ring of alpine cow bells when out walking in the summertime. In Spring and Summer the alpine meadows are a stunning mix of flowers of every colour and size and when walking it really does feel like a scene from the Sound of Music!
The regional cuisine relies heavily on cheese, freshwater fish, crayfish, mushrooms, potatoes, and fruit. Local cheeses are known as tommes and are packaged in tight balls with a tough rind. Savoyard food is a simple and hearty cuisine based on potatoes, cheese and sausages – key ingredients of the traditional fondue, raclette and tartiflette of the region.