It has been announced that the innovative annual Toquicimes food festival will return to the Alpine resort of Megève in south-eastern France for the third time, 16-19 October 2020. Presided over by the eminent Chef Emmanuel Renaut (pictured), the festival celebrates the region’s finest flavours and best local produce, with the event bringing together artisan food producers from Megève and the wider area as well as the best international culinary artists. Set against the backdrop of recent global events, the festival is taking place with a view to helping attendees reconnect with their love for food, while cementing the village’s reputation as the premier gastronomic centre in the Alps.
During the three-day festival, which has been created in partnership with Megève Tourism, the village will become a mecca for Alpine and international cuisine. Megève will host a series of feasts, tastings sessions, live demonstrations and cooking competitions, like the much loved Mountain Pie contest and the mouth-watering Fondue competition – the title of which is currently held by Thierry Guinot of Megeve’s renowned Les Fermes de Marie hotel and restaurant. Amateurs will compete alongside professionals, with celebrated chefs like Guillaume Gomez (culinary author and presidential chef at the Elysee Palace) and Régis Marcon (owner of the world famous, three Michelin starred restaurant Le Clos des Cimes) set to take part. This year’s event will particularly showcase young talent, with junior chefs cooking up a mountain of flavours for visiting holidaymakers.
There will be a range of cuisine types and cooking styles on display, as well as a series of Q&A sessions about the latest trends in mountain dining, with expert comment from local food producers. Expect ice sculpture displays in the village square presented by Swiss and French pastry chefs and unique foodie workshops, like the session dedicated to Alpine Gnocchi. New for this year is the Meilleure Soupe De Montagne competition, in which participants will use local ingredients to create speciality soups based on their own family recipes, and there will be a similar style new contest for the best mountain Pâté.
Toquicimes will take place at a variety of large and small venues throughout the village, as well in the streets and at restaurants with speciality created Toquicimes menus. Megeve’s historic sports and cultural complex, Le Palais, will be transformed into a huge food market where visitors will be able to sample a whole host of exciting flavours, including regional wines and products delivered straight from the farm. Alongside the delicious produce, visitors will also be able to shop for cookbooks and locally made crafts.
Megève has long been associated with world-class dinning and has an eclectic food scene, unrivalled anywhere in the region. The resort’s rich gastronomic heritage was born out of its agricultural past, long before the village became famous for its winter tourism. For centuries Megève was a thriving farming market town where the inhabitants benefitted from fertile land and visitors would come from afar to sample excellent cheeses, vegetables, meats and fine delicacies. Today Megève is home to an impressive 93 eateries, including 35 mountain restaurants offering a range of food types and catering to all budgets. There are also a number of boutique independent food retailers, like Glaçon de Megève, which was founded in 1907 and specialises in pastries, chocolate and ice cream. Much of the gastronomic success can be attributed the use of local produce, coming mostly from the area’s 45 farms, many of which are still family run. A cooperative exists that allows the farmers to work and sell their products together, with Megève’s year-round market (taking place on Fridays and Sundays) offering holidaymakers an opportunity to sample some of the best quality and freshest food in the Alps.
The jewel in the crown is Megève’s four Michelin-starred establishments, boasting a combined seven stars between them. The restaurant at the wonderful Flocons de Sel hotel on the outskirts of the village is one of only 27 restaurants in France to hold a converted three Michelin stars (there are only five such restaurants in the whole of the UK). Here Chef Emmanuel Renaut has an “eat local, build local” philosophy and will literally scour forest paths and mountain pastures to find mushrooms, herbs and other hard to find ingredients to create the most spectacular dishes. Le 1920 (two Michelin stars) at the Four Seasons Hotel Megève, offers traditional French cuisine from Executive Chef Julien Gatillon. Using all-natural ingredients, guests dine under a vaulted, wooden ceiling or outside on a terrace, enjoying spectacular mountain views. La Table de l’Alpaga (one Michelin star), at the traditional Alpine chalet resort of the same name, offers chic dining from Chef Anthony Bisquerra, accompanied by a thoughtfully crafted and largely French wine list. Meanwhile, Prima (one Michelin star) is the fine dining restaurant at one of the oldest and most prestigious hotels in the Alps, Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, a Four Seasons Hotel. Achieving Michelin star status in January 2019, diners eat in an elegant Alpine chalet, filled with artwork while enjoying locally inspired creations by Chef Nicolas Hensinger.
For full information about the Toquicimes food festival, including the schedule, please visit: www.toquicimes.com