One of the best-loved restaurants in this fabulous ski area nearly suffered an early demise when one of its founding partners was tragically killed by a shark.

But British businessman Richard Learwood, a financial backer of the Cookie Café Mossettes, along with his wife Julie, were determined to prevent their refreshing concept in alpine mountain food from, metaphorically, falling off the dramatic cliff it so proudly sits on at nearly 2,300 metres. Moreover, they were driven by the desire to keep alive the legacy of their close friend and restaurateur, David Jewell, who died in a tragic shark bite accident while on a well-earned water sports holiday off the coast of New Caledonia in the south-west Pacific in 2016.

Views from Cookie Café of the Dents du Midi and beyond are jaw-dropping – and access via the two Mossettes chairlifts (one from Les Lindarets on the French side, the other from Les Crosets on the Swiss side) is quick and easy.

cookie cafe france

Cookie Café Mossettes

The beef for the legendary Cookie burgers is sourced from a noted Swiss butcher and the buns still delivered from Charlet, the artisanal boulangerie near Villars. Craft beers from the canton of Valais, great wine list, homemade shakes, soups, salads and pizzas have all helped conjure the Cookie culinary niche. For me, the success is as much to do with the laid-back ambience, plush sofa suites, huge sun terrace with Swiss flag table cloths, the free wifi, the free phone charging units, the sought after playlists, the bar, the chill-out lounge, mini library with book exchange facility, the general, cool vibe that reflects its Australian creator, right down to the life-sized, colourful reindeer mounted in the snow outside, proven to be a hit photo-op for kids and adults alike.

Ü Yeü tsalé 1808

Ü Yeü tsalé 1808

When it comes to traditional alpine fayre, choice is abundant in this 650-kilometre network of pistes and lifts. Picking favourites is always subjective, but for location and fame alone – the Défago family restaurant above the Swiss village of Val d’Illiez ranks high. Richard might generously concur that the Ü Yeü tsalé 1808 (aka Vieux Chalet) tops even Cookie for the best view of the Dents du Midi – the captivating massif comprising seven summits soaring above 3,200 metres. Didier Défago, from neighbouring Morgins, carved his name deep into the ski world of fame when he won Gold in the blue riband Mens’ Downhill race at Vancouver’s Winter Olympics in 2010. Such was the local euphoria, lift company bosses christened a slope in his honour. Didier is on record as saying: “Undoubtedly one of the best slopes in Morgins, 2kms long with a very steep start. The slope runs from the top of the Point de l’Au chairlift down towards Morgins in a beautiful valley, previously accessible to off-piste skiers only.” A blue detour is also available.

The attractive hameau of Les Lindarets (aka the goat village) on the French side, features a cluster of restaurants and bars housed in chalets and mazots. It’s always busy here on a sunny day, so wise to book if you have a preference. I was recently highly impressed at La Crémaillère on Route de Lindarets where I found one of my favourite dishes, Tournedos Rossini (beef fillet topped with a slab of pan-fried foie gras and unctuous jus) as the Plat du Jour for 24 Euros. It was a heavenly steal.

le vaffieu

Le Vaffieu

Over the Col de Bassachaux there’s another trove of restaurants at Plaine Dranse in the Chatel sector, but for super typical Savoyard dishes with cheese from his own cows, it’s difficult to beat the trés bijoux pit stop of Chez Denis.

Le Vaffieu at the top of the Folliets chairlift above Les Gets is another gem, albeit closer to fine dining than traditional with its specialities of rack of lamb, scallops, oysters and be sure to save room for the house ‘café gourmand’ – an espresso served with ‘mignardises’ (delicious desserts in canapé form).

La Paika

La Paika

While skiing around this Morzine/Les Gets area, irresistible barbecue aromas might entice you down the blue Varosses piste. Here you’ll find giant gambas, marinated chicken and juicy steaks grilling on the terrace of La Paika restaurant. La Paika’s views and hot chocolate are a local talking point – while the dessert buffet has the dual capacity to make eyes bulge and taste buds dance. It’s also possible to walk here (or snowshoe depending on conditions), from Les Gets.

To book a holiday in a Morzine, click here!

To book a holiday in Les Gets, click here!

Bon ski et bon appetit!

Written by Neil English

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