Heading to the French Alps this winter? You gotta try these foods
If you’re looking to fill up on ridiculously indulgent delights this winter, look no further than the French Alps. I’ve spent the last 5 winter seasons living and working in the mountains. Read on to find out my recommendations for the top 3 regional foods you must try on your next visit to the French Alps. Be warned, your waist band may expand just by reading. Sorry, not sorry!
Lets kick things off with the hearty-of-heartiest cheese laden dishes.
For those already in the know, ask yourself this – what would a ski holiday be without a tartiflette? It is surely the bread and butter of French mountain cuisine. This cheesy, potato-y, bacon-y goodness is a lunchtime staple for the hardiest of skiers and mountaineers. As my dad would say “it would put hairs on yer chest”. Of course, it is also a delicious mountain treat for us mere mortal holiday go-ers & fair weather skiers. We may not burn off all the calories on our cruisy blue runs after lunch, but I guarantee we will be cruising with a smile from ear to ear.
Primarily a dish of potatoes & raclette cheese, this simple meal ups it’s flavour game by adding in crisp, smoky bacon lardons for that salty kick. The whole lot is cooked in a fragrant garlic, onion & herb scented cream and baked until perfectly gratined, bubbly, golden and crispy on top. Fight for the crispy edges and order with fresh green salad, radishes & of course the obligatory French baguette – don’t forget a chilled glass of local Savoyard wine. Throw in some mountain views to die for and I’d call it a close to perfect lunch.
Roll on our next cheese laden delight.
Despite originally being of Swiss origin, Raclette is very popular in the Savoie region of France. This meal is an experience in itself as half a wheel of cheese melted is before the diners eyes on a griddle designed specifically for the job. This adds some welcome theatre to an otherwise reasonably simple (but oh so delicious) meal. Charred, melted cheese, boiled new potatoes, a myriad of cured meats, pickles and gherkins, what’s not to like? This is a great meal to share with a group of friends after a long hard day on the mountain. Go on, tell them again how many black runs you smashed today.
Tarte aux Myrtilles
Of course, I had to choose a dessert to round off our cheese-heavy list and the tarte aux myrtilles does not disappoint.
The berries you find in these tarts are very often wild and local to the region. They are slightly tarter and smaller than the blueberries you may already know and love, but that does not make them any less delicious. They work particularly well nestled on top of the rich, creamy creme patissiere found in traditional french tarts. A short, homemade pastry & a dusting of icing sugar is all these berries need to create the perfect Savoyard dessert.
I hope these ideas encourage you to try a few speciality foods from the French Alps on your next winter holiday.
Visit 3 Valleys to find Savoyard restaurants in the region.