Many of us like to ski. Some of us prefer, as my boyfriend does, to tear up the pistes like a hooligan on a snowboard (which did turn out to be extremely useful as a make-shift picnic table).What we all have in common is a mutual love of throwing ourselves down snow filled mountains in a search of thrills and possible broken bones.
Probably over about 50% of my excitement about the anticipation of this annual event is the food I know I will consume. Quelle surprise.
For several years now we have travelled to the French Pyraneen resort of La Mongie We have stayed in several places close to the resort, the most memorable by a million years of amazingness would be ‘Le Grange’. A property once owned by my Dad’s best mate Charlie. Le Grange was an interesting place, one needed a 4x4 (or a catcat as I thought it was called) to negotiate the rock and boulder infested climb up to the divine house. It had no electricity but a generator, which provided a very welcome hot showers after a day’s skiing. The best meal Charlie ever cooked us here was the magret de canard cooked over the fire, rare as you dare, followed by a nip of almangnac, accompanied by a ‘deep’ (for a 17 year old) heart to heart with Charlie about the future of one’s relationship. It’s all about crossroads apparently. I’m still with the boy a million years later so something he said must have been right.
Mention the name Eric in La Mongie, or perhaps further surrounding areas, and every local will know he is The Man. He oozes Frenchness, the most handsome beret wearer that ever there was and his wink will reduce any woman to a giggling wreck. Or me at least. Each year I return to his restaurant at the top of the mountain, petrified he won’t remember me (English are kind of frowned upon in this resort but for some reason they like us, probably because we embrace the eating and drinking piste-side like the locals). It took Eric a few minutes this year, but once I reminded him of my name it was all shouty roudy Frenchy welcomes. I felt like a mountain celebrity.
|Eric. He doesn't have/need a surname.|
|Eric does Piggies too.|
We keep saying ‘next year we’ll go somewhere else, we need to ski somewhere new, push ourselves.’ Then Eric and his crew say ‘L’annee prochaine?’. We say ‘Oui’.