Comfort Food, #Alpine Style


#Raclette, #Tartiflette, #Fondue.  If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably only heard of one of these dishes.  Quelle dommage!  You should make it a point to explore foodie sites to see what you’re missing.  Perhaps, this post will whet your appetite.

#Raclette

#Raclette

#Fondue

#Fondue

#Tartiflette

#Tartiflette

 

 

Parisian friends, Jacques and Didem, invited Jim and me to join them for a short holiday between Christmas and New Years.

#Annecy Selfie

#Annecy Selfie

#Annecy was suggested, a charming town in the foothills of the French Alps on the shores of a pristine lake of the same name.

#Annecy on Lac_d'Annecy

#Annecy on Lac_d’Annecy

The region is Haute Savoie, an area once part of the Kingdom of Sardinia before France acquired it in 1860.  #Geneva, Switzerland and its famed lake are approximately thirty kilometers to the north.

#Haute_Savoie Region

#Haute_Savoie Region

Having never been to that part of France before, we jumped at the chance.  Europeans travel everywhere with pets, so we loaded our Golden Retriever in the car for the seven hour drive from Brussels.  There was only one hitch, a sudden and heavy snowstorm.  After fourteen hours in the car and the worst traffic we’ve ever experienced, we arrived at our destination.  One bright spot, a fresh dusting of snow turned #Annecy into a winter wonderland, a magical, medieval fairy tale city.

XII Century Prison

XII Century Prison

#Annecy in winter

#Annecy in winter

#Annecy

#Annecy

 

We had lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Belvedere, that was a gastronomic delight–artistic and palate pleasing French cuisine at its best.

Smoked salmon starter

Smoked salmon starter

Cheese cart

Cheese cart

Rabbit Main Course

Rabbit Main Course

 

Opens to reveal caramel, sea salt ice cream

Opens to reveal caramel, sea salt ice cream

Dessert of Merengue Snowball

Dessert of Merengue Snowball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about the comfort food I promised?

Although less glamorous, a Savoyard indulgence proved equally satisfying after a stroll along Lac d’Annecy on a crisp, clear day.  In a restaurant decorated in #Alpine ski lodge motif, we found raclette, tartiflette and fondue.

Let’s take them one at a time, starting with the most familiar.

Fondue in its purest form is a pot of melted cheese in which diners equipped with long forks dip bread cubes and possibly potatoes.   Key is the mix of cheese.  In Haute Savoie, that usually means a combination of Beaufort, Comte and Gruyere cheeses to which a bit of white wine is added.  Beware the diner who drops his bread into the communal font.  No double dipping is allowed.

Fondue Dipping

Fondue Dipping

Fondue and Charcuterie

Fondue and Charcuterie

Cheese Fondue

Cheese Fondue

 

Tartiflette is a casserole of sorts made with a base of Reblochon cheese.  Simple ingredients of lardons, onions and potatoes are added to the cheese and baked to a golden brown crust.  A variation replaces smoked salmon for the lardons.  As with fondue, a crisp green salad is the ideal accompaniment.

#Tartiflette

#Tartiflette

Raclette is a cheese as well as the name of the dish.  The French verb, racler means to scrape and that’s what one does with this dish.  Diners scrape melted cheese onto steaming hot potatoes.  Traditional sides include cornichons, pickled onions and dried meat.  While originally heated beside a fire, today raclette is best offered using an electric raclette machine found at most high-end kitchen supply stores or internet sites.

Scrumptious #Raclette

Scrumptious #Raclette

Introduced to raclette by European friends living in Chicago, Jim and I have hosted several raclette parties.  We replace traditional accoutrements of gherkins and pickled onions with a variety of sides such as caramelized onions, pineapple, prosciutto, italian sausage and sautéed chicken tenders.  Let your tastebuds guide your own menu.

#Raclette for 8

#Raclette for 8

#Raclette Under the Christmas Tree

#Raclette Under the Christmas Tree

Versatile Raclette

Versatile Raclette

 

So next time you crave comfort food, think beyond chili, pot roast and mashed potatoes. Travel to the Alps even if only in your own imagination and kitchen.  Savor the creamy richness of raclette, tartiflette and fondue.  Serve a crisp white wine although beer is just as good.  Find a French station on Spotify and cuddle beside a fire.        I guarantee that you’ll derive great comfort from #Alpine comfort food.  Bon Appetit!

Comments

comments


4 Comments

  1. ppp

    Todd, Trying to leave a message. Love the pix of food. All lovely. We live for your next adventure. Hugs, Phtyllis

    • T.D. Arkenberg

      Thanks Phyllis. All comments go to a pending file for me to approve before they post. All websites face a deluge of spam that would otherwise post. It’s a safeguard. Appreciate the reply.

  2. Diane Bellizzi

    Thank you Todd for letting us live vicariously through your adventures.

  3. Fran Sleezer

    Curious like a little kitten
    My son,Dan, tells me!

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