Swapping the mild climes of Sardinia in February for the sub-zero temperatures of the Aosta Valley was, as it turns out, a pretty good decision. We landed at the airport on February 27th and were immediately hit by how cold it was, and we hadn’t even made it to the mountains yet. Armed with our puffer jackets, we bundled into a car and embarked on the long drive to Gressoney-Saint-Jean, our final destination. As we drove the landscape slowly changed, the grey plains soon became blanketed in white as we headed further north into the Alpine foothills.
Gressoney-Saint-Jean itself is an elegant, historic village located just underneath Monte Rosa - the Pink Mountain - and is perfectly located for skiing, with access to the entire Monterosa ski circuit. Named for its magical pink glow, we were all in awe of the beauty of Monte Rosa on our first evening in the valley. As the sun started to sink in the sky, the whole mountainside was lit up by a dappled pink light which was reflected in the snow. It was an enchanting moment and the perfect way to begin our trip, we raised a toast to the pink mountain as we sipped on a vintage Veuve Clicquot, a glimpse of paradise.
The skiing was, of course, amazing. We had fresh snow almost everyday and spent as much time as we could on the slopes, returning to our hotel every evening feeling equal parts exhausted and invigorated. The pistes were busy, but not unpleasantly so, and no one sustained any major injuries which was definitely a positive, though there were some pretty epic falls - which no skiing holiday is complete without.
After each day spent outside in the fresh air, burning all of our energy, we were all ravenous and so the evenings were full of indulgent feasting! Because of the high altitude and low temperatures, it was important to consume a lot of calories to stay warm and energised and we ate a lot of tender beef fillets washed down by rich Italian red wines, like Barolo and Valpolicella, as well as warming winter classics such as Carbonada con Polenta, a typical northern dish. One of the culinary highlights of the trip was raclette, a delicious Swiss cheese that is grilled and served with a variety of toppings, delizioso.
As is typical of any good Settimana Bianca, we also engaged in a healthy amount of revelry; the drink of choice on the slopes was known as Il Bombardino, a fiery cocktail primarily consisting of brandy and Advocaat. In the evenings we tended to favour Prosecco for the aperitivo hour, followed by bold red wines with our meals, sometimes chased by grappa with honey, a perfect nightcap. The après ski tradition, whilst generally associated with skiing in France, is no less relevant to Italian ski culture, and we enjoyed our fair share of parties in between our skiing and feasting!
After several days of skiing, in the middle of our trip, we opted for a well-earned spa day! The luxury lifestyle associated with the north Italian alpine villages means that there will always be a spa on hand for some much-needed rest and relaxation. The perfect way to unwind we enjoyed being pampered and giving our tired muscles a break, this was also a lovely chance to properly catch up with each other, as this is not always so easily done when you’re flying down the slopes whilst battling gale-force winds!
The last few days of the trip went by in a blur, with more skiing and delicious food, and we were all sorry to say farewell to the beautiful Gressoney-Saint-Jean and the ethereal Monte Rosa. However, I have no doubt that we will return to this Alpine haven in the not-so-distant future, and there will be more rose-tinted sunsets to come!
At Pasta Evangelists, we bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen. Prepared using the freshest ingredients, our gourmet pasta dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy restaurant-quality meals, delivered to your door, and ready in under five minutes. Order from our weekly menu today, and we’ll offer you 25% off your first delivery - simply enter the code BLOG25 at checkout.