After a successful inaugural event in 2018, which involved more than 30 chefs, it has been announced that the innovative Toquicimes food festival will return to the Alpine resort of Megève in south-eastern France 19-21 October 2019. Presided over by the eminent Chef Emmanuel Renaut, 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. Toquicimes is not only helping industry professionals wanting to discover and work in the resort, but also cementing the village’s reputation as the premier gastronomic centre in the Alps.
During the three-day festival, which is part of the prestigious Gault et Millau Tour, Megève will become a mecca for Alpine and international cuisine. The village will host a series of feasts, tastings sessions, live demonstrations, press conferences and cooking competitions, like the much loved Megève Fondue competition. Amateurs will compete alongside professionals, with celebrated chefs like Guillaume Gomez (culinary author and presidential chef at the Elysee Palace), Franck Reynaud (renowned Franco-Swiss chef) and Philippe Rigollot (famed for his incredible pastry) set to take part. 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. The festival is associated with the Meilleur Ouvrier de France award, and this year there will be a focus on conserving local recipes that have been passed from one generation to the next, with dishes from the 1960’s expected to be brought back to life. In addition, activities teaching the young how to cook more healthily will take place and fun workshops for children will be organised by Mercotte, one of France’s most famous chefs. Mercotte is a food critic, TV presenter and judge on the television baking competition Le Meilleur pâtissier, which is the French adaptation of The Great British Bake Off.
Toquicimes will take place not only in the centre of Megève, but also in the village streets, at restaurants with speciality created Toquicimes menus and at Le Palais de Megève. The historic sports and cultural complex will be transformed into a huge food market across 2,000 square metres, where visitors will be able to sample a whole host of exciting flavours, including regional wines and products delivered straight from the farm.
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 75 eateries, including 35 mountain restaurants offering a range of cuisine 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 the resort’s four Michelin-starred establishments, boasting a combined seven stars between them. The restaurant at the much loved Flocons de Sel hotel on the outskirts of Megève is one of only 27 restaurants in France to hold a converted three Michelin stars. 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.
More gastronomy news from Megève
The Megève International Show Jumping Competition CSI (15-21 July 2019): Megève has an impressive year-round sporting events calendar with the Megève International Show Jumping Competition CSI being one of the highest profile and most celebrated. Now in its ninth year, the show brings 500 horses and 350 of the world’s best riders to the heart of Megève, from seasoned professionals to promising young amateurs. The free event, which attracts 25,000 visitors, is also renowned for its range and quality of food. Local producers and a number of the town’s chefs will be out in force during the week, many offering specialist menus including a range of more informal and affordable options.
The Démons et Vermeil Festival (22-25 July 2019): For the sixth year running, Megève welcomes the Démons et Vermeil (Demons and Vermeil) Festival, comprising culinary competitions. film screenings, traditional games, sports and more, in which children, parents and grandparents are encouraged to compete in a fun and friendly manner. The free festival takes place in the village centre and is in part organised by Emmanuel Renaut, think mini golf, carpentry, fishing, genealogy workshops and of course world class cuisine.
Go There: Megève is only an hour and a quarter from Geneva Airport, which benefits from direct, low-cost flight access from London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Bristol and Leeds. Return flights from London Gatwick to Geneva with EasyJet are priced from £57 pp.
For more info about the Toquicimes food festival, please visit www.toquicimes.com