Critically acclaimed chef Laurent Petit’s Clos de Sens is a romantic escape just minutes from Geneva. Overlooking the lakeside town of Annecy, this sophisticated retreat offers 11 guest rooms and a fine dining restaurant of the same name, which was awarded three stars by the Michelin guide.
Incorporating natural elements throughout the property, as well as ceramics and porcelain by local artisans, the property blends seamlessly with the natural beauty of the Annecy region and its alpine lake. In the summer, guests can enjoy an aperitif overlooking the sunset and the property’s impressive gardens. In the winter, guests are comforted by cozy fires and warm interiors.
As the son of a butcher, it is especially noteworthy that Chef Petit’s cuisine is entirely fish and plant-focused, taking advantage of the restaurant’s location on a pristine alpine lake. Combining ingredients like crayfish, lake perch, and fish eggs with the local produce, Petit draws on his experience in Japan to create refined and beautiful dishes. Petit’s garden contains over 200 herb varieties, all of which contribute to his unique cuisine. Other ingredients come exclusively from local suppliers.
The two dishes that were most memorable from our dining experience at Clos de Sens were the raw crayfish and Petit’s twist on a tartiflette, a local specialty. The crayfish was presented beautifully in a jelly made from the crayfish heads. A crisp wafer provided a textural contrast to the delicate crayfish, and delicate flowers accented the presentation. The tartiflette was made with smoked fish instead of bacon and presented in a gorgeous wrapper of shaved beets.
We were also impressed by the beverage pairings, which include both alcoholic and nonalcoholic pairings. As the sommelier explained, traditional pairings of nine or more wines can be overbearing, and the extensive garden on the property provides lots of inspiration for various teas and infusions. The team is therefore experimenting with a variety of pairings, mostly wine, but punctuated with nonalcoholic options at various points throughout the evening. One of the most unique and unexpected pairings with our service was a small glass of Mauro Vergano vermouth, one of our favorite producers in Piedmont.
One of the benefits of a lighter style of fine dining cuisine is at the end of your dining experience, you’ll have room left for a cheese course. Clos de Sens cheese program is second to none, and with a cheese cave on-premises (you can see into it through a glass floor) and the largest cheese cart we’ve ever seen, it is a highlight of the dining experience.
You do not need to book a room at the hotel to book a table at Clos de Sens, but it is luxurious to be able to linger at the table until late in the evening and wander upstairs for bed. Breakfast the next morning is equally special, with a variety of housemade pastries, compotes, yogurts, and cakes, as well as a variety of local cheeses.
Clos de Sens, 13 Rue Jean Mermoz, 74940 Annecy, France
Note: Clos de Sens provided support for the reporting of this story. It was previously published in The Taste Edit Issue 5.