Anyone who knows me knows how much I love winter and the mountains. For years now we have allowed ourselves four or five days in the Alpine valleys, initially by car and then for twenty years by camper and Cogne by camper has always been a wonderful destination for us.
We prefer to go in March, when the days get longer and when you start enjoying the warmth of the sun and the reflection it has on the snow. It is the ideal opportunity to relax, recharge, take beautiful walks or ski if the snow permits (I love cross-country skiing), and why not get a tan!
But even at Christmas with its snowy atmosphere of the typical mountain panorama and the festively illuminated villages, this valley can be the right destination in a camper. Ideal for taking a few days off to recharge your batteries.
Then we load everything we need on the camper and leave for Val d’Aosta and precisely we go to Cogne in a camper.
We leave on Friday afternoon and arrive after a peaceful journey in Cogne and park in the convenient camper parking area under the town, managed by the very kind and dynamic Jacqueline Vassoney.
Usually the area is very busy, but this time there are only 5 campers plus us. We settle down for the break, connect the electricity, pay, prepare dinner and fall asleep as it starts to snow. On the other hand, the weather had predicted a weekend, rainy cold in the plains and snowy in the Alps; so all confirmed. At 11.00 pm the thermometer indicates -4, but in the warmth of the camper it is fine.
Cogne by camper: what to taste
Saturday morning we wake up with a heavy snowfall; the snow plows are already in action and the outside temperature is -2.
We decide to wait to take a walk with the dog, who doesn’t want to put his nose out of the camper, and around 11.00 we go out and go up to the village.
Very few people around, only the snowplows, while on the ski slopes of the Prati di Sant’Orso snow cats and very few skiers pass by. We therefore decide to set out on the pedestrian path, towards Valnontey, with the abundant snow continuing to descend, and in an hour we arrive in this tiny village at the foot of the Gran Paradiso, an ideal place for cross-country skiers and climbers.
Here too few people, just a few skiers, the park rangers who supervise the slopes and chamois who are a constant presence in winter in the meadows around the slopes.
We enter to dry ourselves in one of the cozy cafes, and we stop for lunch.
We order two tasty soups: the seupa valpellinentze and the seupetta di Cogne. Do you know them?
The first is a dish that I particularly love and that I have also learned to cook at home; every time I come to the Aosta Valley I like to order it and it is based on stale bread, cabbage leaves previously sauteed in lard, and fontina cheese. Layers are formed with these three ingredients in a baking dish. Wet everything with a meat broth and finish cooking in the oven at 180 ° for at least 25/30 minutes.
The seupetta di Cogne is the typical dish of Cogne, more than a soup it is a pie, and is made up of risotto, with the inevitable fontina, stale bread, melted butter, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Both brought to the table while still steaming warm on cold winter days, putting a good mood among diners who have just returned from skiing, or an excursion along the slopes of the Gran Paradiso.
We go back to Cogne still under the snow and then we decide to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the camper.
But first a must when I come to Cogne, are the Latteria Vallée De Cogne and the Perret pastry shop. Personally I advise you to stop in both.
In the dairy, take the time to lose yourself among the fontine, other mountain cheeses and the excellent cold cuts of the Valle d’Aosta tradition. The kindness of the owners and their great passion will be able to advise you in the best possible way.
In the historic pastry shop in the center, on the other hand, you shouldn’t miss the Méculin. This leavened cake which has the shape of a loaf enriched with raisins, was typical of the Christmas of Cogne; but now you can find it all year round.
In a camper to Lillaz where to eat
Sunday morning a pale sun greets us, but the temperature remains close to zero.
We would have liked to visit the magnetite mines, but the Alpinart exhibition center is currently closed for restoration. If you want to visit this place and the miners’ village you will find all the information here and here.
We then move not far to the hamlet of Lillaz. The locality is very famous among the French for the ice falls in the area, and the last village in the valley where the cross-country trails make the “turning point” to return to Cogne.
The camper parking area has been for some years, in an area adjacent to the previous parking lot, improved with the presence of the light columns. The presence of two open campsites, with many permanent caravans, indicates that this small town is popular all year round, and in fact we find several French and English cars and many skiers.
We take a nice walk with the dog who, recovering from yesterday’s snowfall, runs happy and wagging his tail in the snow.
For lunch this time we allow ourselves a stop at the well-known Aosta Valley restaurant Lou Tchappè to delight us with Soça and Maltagliati, tasting an excellent Nus wine; what about the Cogne cream with Tegolini? All really great! We suggest it together with the friendship cup.
We often shared this particular traditional ritual with friends, very fun to end the evenings with friends.
Two more steps between houses with slate roofs and snow-covered meadows, and we head to the beautiful Lillaz waterfalls. In these waterfalls, often frozen in the upper part, the impetuousness and vitality of the water are always a constant in the total height of 150 meters. We go up the paths and the walkway with difficulty, given the presence of snow and ice. We make a short stop to admire this beauty and return to the camper.
We leave with the certainty of leaving a splendid and welcoming valley, a precious corner of the Aosta Valley.
The friendship cup: a tradition that we hope to be able to redo
We will briefly tell you the recipe for this ritual which until recently was drunk in company. With the ritual of passing from hand to hand, and from word of mouth it gives that touch of promiscuity that creates aggregation and involvement. Which creates friendship, in fact.
It is a coffee to which are added: 3 cups of Valle d’Aosta grappa; 1 cup of génépy; 6 teaspoons of sugar; Lemon peel; 1 orange peel; 1 cinnamon stick.
Another recipe reports: coffee, grappa, whipped cream, cocoa, vanilla as basic ingredients.
Prepare the coffee with the classic mocha and in the meantime heat the grappa and génépy in a bain-marie.
As soon as the coffee is ready, it must be poured into the cup, to which the grappa and génépy are added. Then the sugar, cinnamon and lemon and orange peel. The spouts are sprinkled with sugar.
The next operation is very scenic. In fact, the coffee is carefully mixed and left to rest for a few minutes, then light the fire to the mixture and let it flames.
The fire goes out when the sugar becomes caramelized, putting the lid on the cup and at this point it is passed to the diners who will drink a sip of the drink from the spout of the cup.
A nice tradition that is currently no longer possible to share, but who knows in the future.
The Cogne Valley what to do
Cogne and the hamlets of Valnontey, Lillaz and Epinal, for those who love cross-country skiing, are a paradise, and more. In fact, they are located within the Gran Paradiso National Park. Kilometers of tracks, always perfectly groomed, a cross-country stadium, where very famous competitions are held; the Foyer du Fond equipped for those who need showers, and for those who want to rent equipment. The ski instructors and hiking guides are very good.
Downhill skiing also offers 8 slopes for downhill and snowboarding with 2 chairlifts and 1 gondola lift. In addition to the snow park where children spend days learning to ski and with adults having fun in the rubber dinghy area and playground. While in the Chamoix square there is a small skating rink for a few hours in joy, between vaulting, slips and falls.
However, summer also reserves many possibilities for tourism: the possibility of trekking, mountaineering, MTB, paragliding, not to mention the parties that attract tourists from all over the world. An event above all is the Dévéteya, where we too went.
There are many sports, cultural and gastronomic activities that can be done in this valley.
Every season offers excellent opportunities to visit the Cogne Valley by camper.
Not to mention the wonder of the landscape of nature between snow-capped peaks, valleys, woods and meadows, and the excellent food and wine that you can find here.
I add that the galley of the camper will thank you for the delicacies with which we can return home, to be enjoyed later or to give to friends and family.
reference site: Cogne Turismo