Chatting Food contributor Alyssa LeAnne finds the Winter Chalets are an escape to an arctic wonderland - but with all the amenities to keep you cozy, comfy and chock-full of food!
Just outside Westfield Mall in the Winter Village, huddled beside the Westwood Bar, ETM Group has popped up igloo-style chalets where they are serving sweet and savoury fondue and a range of festive Slingsby Gin cocktails. Each private igloo is fitted out with warm fur blankets, a portable heater, lights, pine decorations and even bluetooth speakers so you can personalise the experience with your own music. It is the perfect end to a festive day of Christmas shopping or a great escape to get you in the spirit of the winter season.
The chalet experience kicks off with a flute of bubbles so, make no mistake, you are sure to feel like you’re celebrating. The menu is packed with nine gin-based cocktails and the selection we tried didn’t disappoint. The Winterberry Fizz was a gorgeous holiday red colour with the luxurious taste of Chambord and the Apple Crumble was light and refreshing with a burst of fresh cinnamon to match the season.
Before you dive into fondue, the meal begins with an amazing stone-baked garlic flat bread and a selection of olives. The flatbread is light (so you don’t spoil the rest of your meal) yet packed with flavour. Baked with garlic and herbs, it is hard to resist! If temptation doesn’t overcome you, try to save a slice or two for the cheese as it makes for an awesome paring. Following the show-stopping starter, the choice between sweet or savoury fondue is yours to make. The sweet option includes a variety of fresh and dried fruits, biscuits, cakes and even waffles to dip in melted Belgian milk chocolate or vegan chocolate.
We tried the Black Cow cheese fondue which, although it did not have the traditional taste of a blend of Gruyere, Emmental and Appenzeller cheeses, melted impressively well and had great consistency and flavour. The options for dipping were seemingly endless! From fresh cherry tomatoes and crunchy green pepper, to grilled mushrooms, chorizo and even bacon-wrapped mini sausages there was a great variety of options to pair with the cheese.
For a more elevated experience, a higher quality and more artisanal selection of cured meats rather than cube-cut ham and salami, and fresh broccoli rather than sautéed, would make a better addition to the offering. These elements made the experience more of a fun and festive treat with food, rather than something sought after by diehard foodies.
If you are looking for an experimental meal in a great atmosphere, the private igloos are perfect for groups of up to six and well-curated both for a night out with friends or a wholesome family evening. To keep the fun going, the experience concludes with Mulled Gin garnished with fresh cinnamon sticks and organic orange slices alongside mince pies.
The Winter Chalet Experience can be booked exclusively for groups from two to six, reserved in advance for a two-hour session for £55 per person until the end of January online at: https://www.etmgroup.co.uk/winterchalets/
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Chatting Food Contributor Alyssa LeAnne's motto is, "The fastest way to the heart is through the stomach" and she has fallen in love with cities, cuisines and people after tasting their food.
After over seven years in lifestyle PR, she landed in her true passion for food and beverage as a Food Stylist where she makes food and drinks look gorgeous for the camera and informative to consumers. She loves a restaurant tasting menu and is always up for creating one on her own by sharing with whoever she is dining out with. While at home, she is an avid dinner party host, experimental recipe developer and enjoys everything extra spicy! (IG: @eyesbeforeeats)