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Interview with Elena, author of the book,
Food Trek

5 questions for Elena Battisti

We have known Elena for a little while because she was part of a long-term test for mountain trekking products.

But since you haven't met her yet, we get the low-down in five quick questions about her vision of trekking, and of course her love of food!

Can you tell us a little bit about your daily life?

I live in the Hautes Alpes, in Briançon, a sunny and very sporty town where it's easy for everyone to get involved in mountain sports. Personally, I mostly run and trek, although I have started to do a bit of climbing and skiing again.

I am a yoga teacher for adults and children, and I write articles specialising in mountain and outdoor sports. I'm always between two trails or treks so either in preparation or at rest. What's great is that everyone is pretty much the same here, there's a big community of sports lovers with whom we can go on outings.

How did you discover trekking?

I started with hiking. Throughout my childhood, my parents took my brothers and I on holiday to the high mountains of Switzerland, to Arbaz in the district of Sion. This was mostly in summer because my parents do not ski. As a result, we spent all our holidays walking.

Then, when I was living in Paris, a friend once suggested that I go to Belledonne for several days to go on a trek. At the time, I was running a lot and I had started trail running. So I was interested in including that in my programme.

In the end, we left with 5 friends, all of whom I had met when preparing for a triathlon. None of them was an experienced hiker, but I fell in love with it!
It was just like when I was a kid, but on top of that, I had prepared the list of equipment and food to take away for the whole team, and I enjoyed organising everything. So then I started to head off every time I had 3-4 days off, and eventually ended up settling down in the mountains and doing it all the time.

credits @ Thibaut Blais

Where did the idea for Food Trek come from?

From being hungry during a hike! No kidding, when I started doing multi-day treks, I was already a vegan and I had to do things differently to most of the hikers I knew, i.e. set off with a dried sausage and some cheese.

And since I have always loved creative cuisine, I began a long process of reflection, research and experimentation in the field. I love to cook everyday and I don't like buying ready-made meals, so naturally I wasn't drawn to the freeze-dried brands: I found it expensive, cumbersome and, anyway, I prefer to know what I'm eating, even if there are some very good ones!

I have a lot of friends who have started to ask me for advice on hiking, and with the current trend for vegetarianism and "free" diets (gluten, lactose, etc.), we also had to make some changes when bivouacking.

I had already made a lot of progress with my recipes, and during an expedition across the Queyras mountain range, I said to myself that it would be good to be able to share all that I had learned with everyone.

If I had been trying to eat differently on treks, it seemed inevitable that others must have thought about it too.

Interview with Elena, author of the book, Food Trek

What will be your next adventure?

I like the concept of micro-adventures, as I live in the Hautes Alpes, I go hiking regularly, so the next adventures will probably be decided at the last minute. Here, bivouacking with friends is a bit like having drinks at an outdoor seating area in the city!

But for longer treks, my dream for a long time has been to do the Appalachian Trail (3500km) in the United States because the arrival at Mount Katahdin is not far from my sister's house in Canada, who I haven't seen for 10 years. More recently, I discovered the Te Araroa (3000km) in New Zealand.

So they are both on the programme, I just need to find 5-6 months of free time for each, not easy!

Let's move on to try out Elena's recipes!