Salut, mes amis! I’m excited today to share part two of our vacation photos: Annecy and the French Alps. Don’t those names conjure up cool air and fresh mountain breezes?
Alas, we arrived in the midst of a canicule — that is, a heat wave — which draped the town in a swathe of stickiness. But not even 90 degree weather could detract from the charms of Annecy, a jewel-like city surrounded by astonishing natural beauty: glorious mountains and a pure Alpine lake.
It was the kind of sensational, heart-stopping, thrilling landscape that transports you away from everyday worries and makes you forget that anything else exists. I couldn’t stop squealing and taking photographs.
Of course, the real reason for my trip was to research cheese and fondue. I’m saving tales of alpine cheese-making chalets and twisty mountain roads for my new book. But I did want to share this photo from the exceptional Fromagerie Gay in Annecy. The owner, Pierre Gay — a newly crowned Meilleur Ouvrier de France — showed me these wheels of mimolette cheese and told me about cirons, tiny cheese-eating mites, scarcely visible to the naked eye, which are used in the affinage process. They pierce and shape the crust, allowing the cheese to breathe and obtain its special flavor and aroma. I found the riddled cheese rinds (photo above) both fascinating and repulsive.
In the name of research, I tucked into a big pot of bubbling cheese fondue on an 85º-evening. Mmm! There’s nothing as cool and refreshing as hot, melted cheese!
Just kidding. But the fondue was still very delicious despite the weather. And we were able to cool our heels in Lac d’Annecy, perching on a rock, and dipping our toes into the clear, blue water. My butt got wet, but it was worth it.
We actually chilled out — literally — in our bright and modern and spotlessly clean chambre d’hote, the Clos du Lac, which featured gorgeous views of the Lac d’Annecy, stylish rooms and air conditioning. (You can take a girl out of the States, but…)
Le Clos du Lac is located in a town called Veyrier du Lac, ten minutes from Annecy by car (also accessible by ferry boat). Some people like being in the heart of the historic center, but I actually preferred being outside of town in a charming, hilly, lakeside village.
Especially given the lake view (!) from the balcony (!) of our room! On our last evening, my husband and I drank glasses of local wine, a crisp and refreshing white called Apremont, ate Beaufort cheese, and watched the sun set. It was a fitting end to a splendid vacation/research trip.
47 rue Carnot
tel: 04 50 45 07 29
Le Clos du Lac
50 route de la Corniche
Veyrier du Lac 74290
tel: 06 20 60 04 58