Fromage et Pommes de Terre (Cheese and Potatoes) – Winter dining in France

Posted by on Jan 24, 2017

Image taken from Wikipedia

France has a reputation for fine dining, enhanced by the Michelin star system of rating top restaurants, but for every day dining winter is the time for cheese and potatoes or fromage et pommes de terre. This is the cuisine of the Alps and it gets a national airing at the start of the year.

Raclette

Fondue is perhaps the best known Alpine dish, but raclette is a very popular and very sociable eating experience. Raclette is basically melted cheese. It is served with boiled potatoes and cold meats plus a garnish of gherkins and pickled onions. Doesn’t sound quite so exciting now does it? Our local restaurant had a raclette night last week.  We got to scrape the layer of melted cheese off the top of the hemisphere that was sitting under the cheesy equivalent of a sunbed. In the home, everyone seems to have a raclette, with little trays in which to put the pre-cut slices of raclette bought from the supermarket.  And raclette is available in a variety of flavours.  If you want to give it a try, we too have a raclette machine.

 

 

Tartiflette

Another favourite is tartiflette, made with reblochon. This time potatoes and cheese are mixed with lardons and onions and cooked in the oven. The cheese melts and drips through the other ingredients for a delicious meal, without too much work.  I made a tartiflette this week, though the only quantity stated in the recipe that was printed on the wrapper was 1kg of potatoes.  The rest was guesswork.  Still it tasted good.

Mont d’Or

And this is the time of the year to get Mont d’Or cheese, a very strong tasting cheese.  It is baked in the wooden box it comes in and it is typically served with, you guessed it, potatoes and cold meats.  The Mont d’Or season is a short one, so you won’t find it in the shops all year round.

To keep with the Alpine theme, this is also the time of year when we can buy white wine from Savoie, which one of the Alpine regions.  White wine and cheese… perfect.

So although we are about 13 hours from the Alps, we can at least taste the mountain air for a few weeks.

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