20th February 2022 | Jane Peel, Aosta Valley, Italy
If there is a better ski region for fabulous food and drink at low prices, we have yet to find it. Welcome to the Valle d’Aosta in the Italian Alps. NEW
Italian food has always been a favourite of ours.
And the wine.
And the coffee.
So what a joy it is to come to a ski area where we can have all of that but not at the price we’re often forced to pay for the privilege of enjoying it with mountain scenery.
We’re talking about Aosta itself and its nearby ski resorts.
We spent four days hitting the slopes, bars and restaurants in the city and the ski areas of Pila, La Thuile and Courmayeur.
We’d been told it was great value but, frankly, we were still pretty gobsmacked at the prices.
Just so you know, this was not a free press junket.
We paid our own way and made our own decisions on where to go.
Before we get on to the food and drink, it’s worth mentioning ski hire, which was another revelation.
At Technosport on the outskirts of the city of Aosta, it cost just €40 for 4 days for a decent pair of piste skis.
I find it hard to start the day without a shot of caffeine and a bit of sustenance to get me through to a late lunch on the slopes.
Breakfast at a popular café in Morgex on route to La Thuile does the job.
For a grand total of €8.40, we get three cappuccinos and three croissants.
For lunch on the mountain, we expect to pay more than in the valley and we do, but it’s by no means expensive.
We’ve been recommended the minestrone soup.
Good choice, though the bowls are huge and it’s more like a substantial meal than a light snack.
There’s this one on the slopes in La Thuile for €12.50.
And my personal favourite at the Capitan des Alpes Pizzeria on the mountain in Courmayeur.
A real bargain at just €10.
The absolute best thing about being here, though, is the pre-dinner drinks in the city of Aosta.
Did I say drinks?
They come with more than your average nibbles, completely free of charge.
The two glasses of rather good red wine and a large beer with the food you can see above cost us €16 at the Bar l’Incontro in Aosta.
Buy yourself another round of drinks and there’s a second platter of antipasti.
This was the offering at another of the bars we stopped off out for our early evening drinks.
You might as well forget dinner.
But if you’re still a bit peckish, you could head to one of the many restaurants in Aosta for some classic Italian dishes.
At the Osteria dell’oca there’s an extensive menu.
Unfortunately, we all fancied a classic spaghetti arrabbiata which was not on the menu.
No problem. The chef obliged and, wow, it was the best and hottest I’ve ever had.
No photos, I’m afraid, as we were too busy polishing it off.
The cost for 3 plates of arrabbiata with a side salad, some beer, red wine and water?
€60. Yep, €20 a head.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still pay over the odds if you go to the wrong place, especially on the mountain.
Our friends got stung for €20 for an Aperol Spritz at an après ski bar.
We, on the other hand, paid the princely sum of €4.50 in Aosta – the same price as a large beer.
And what about the skiing which is, after all, why we came here?
Well, despite the lack of snow for weeks in these parts, it was rather good.
There is little doubt that we will be back.
You can read about my return to the slopes in the Valle d’Aosta after 26 months off skis in my earlier article: