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Life’s a Banquet … Don't Starve: Dining at the Top of the World—or at Least the Alps

Flocons de Sel Relais et Château restaurant

The Flocons de Sel, a Relais et Château restaurant and inn nestled in the mountains above the enchanting village of Megève (the French version of Vail) more than deserves its two Michelin stars.

Upon arrival at the hilltop chalet, one is greeted by courtly young Frenchmen so handsome they could bring out the wayward Mrs. Robinson instincts in a nun. These dapper hotties—forgive me, staff people—usher patrons (read, Mrs. Robinson, aka me, and her family and friends) into the high-ceilinged dining room overlooking the majestic peaks of the Aravis mountains, which on that evening were swathed in semidiaphanous clouds.

While the adults consulted the menu, the children were invited into the kitchen to meet the chef, make their food selections for the evening, and begin to prepare them. This stroke of genius helped the young ones pass the three hours without growing restless or wishing they were playing video games at Chuck E. Cheese.

As for the food, it was light, inventive, yet classic. After an amuse-bouche of dry polenta with a sprinkling of fresh truffles—a Proustian experience for this Mrs. Robinson, who grew up on Italian polenta and Haitian cornmeal—we feasted on asparagus tart and fresh roasted pigeon.

The pièce de résistance, however, was the potatoes in a gratine of Reblochon, the famous local cheese. The name is derived from the ancient tradition of the herders milking (blocher) the cows twice (hence the “re”), the first time for the owners, the last time for themselves. This second phase yields the richest milk.

The dish was so creamy and unctuous, I didn’t know whether to eat it or bathe in it. At meal’s end, the children were brought back into the kitchen for dessert and emerged with gossamer clouds of cotton candy (known in French as “barbe à papa,” who’s YOUR daddy?). Like the clouds outside, they reminded us that we were on top of the world. Here’s to Chef Emmanuel Renaut getting his third star. If waiters’ looks were factored in, he’d have 10.

Péché Mignon/Cute Sin of the Day: Other than checking out men young enough to be my sons … the chocolate bark (known in Megève as “casse-noisette”) at the charming Comptoir du Père Soutine, a teahouse and confiserie not to be missed.

What the French wear for après-ski dinners: chinchilla chubbies and leather pants, or bedazzled activewear for the women; wide-wale corduroy pants and bright-colored cashmere sweaters they’ve had for decades, i.e., country casual, for the men. Fireside ease and comfort seem to be the order of the day, but then again, I wouldn’t try that in St. Moritz …

Photo: An interior shot of the Relais et Château