What’s the deal with Tartiflette? 

 

Tarti-What?

Winter is here and so is Tartiflette season.  Although the recipe may differ from place to place, it consists potatoes, cheese, lardons (bacon), and maybe cream [which is the ingredient that is subject to dispute]

The majority of our intrepid guests sample the local specialties while on tour.  One dish that almost always gets top honors is Tartiflette.

Tartiflette is a hearty, stick to your ribs, comfort food, pure cheese goodness, food coma inducing dishes.  Its origins are in Savoy (if your geography is a little rusty, think mountains, skiing, Olympics, Alps, France) The Savoyards are said to have invented this little piece of culinary heaven.

Unlike widely exported dishes, French Onion Soup, French Fries (technically Belgian Fries), Beef Burgundy, Coq au Vin, you will have a tough time finding Tartiflette on menus outside of France, or the Alps for that matter.

We’re not sure as to why.  We surmise it might have to do something with the ingredients.  Now you’re probably saying I have potatoes, bacon and cheese so I’ve got what it takes to make Tartiflette.  Well, not so fast. 

Potatoes & bacon are readily available most anywhere, but the cheese thing is another story.  It’s not just any cheese.  It’s Reblochon.  It’s the cornerstone that keeps the whole thing together, otherwise it’s not really Tartiflette. 

Reblochon cheese comes from Savoie.  Supposedly the locals would make it for personal use as a way to dodge the tax collector.  The curious can read about its origins here on this gourmet site.  https://www.gourmet-food.com/french-cheese/reblochon-cheese-100457.aspx

Winter sports fans who flock to Alpine ski resorts ingest tons of Tartiflette each season to the delight of local restauranteurs.  At local Christmas markets you can find giant casseroles of Tartiflette with their cheesy incense mixing with the scent of mulled wine filling the air.  Frankly it’s hard to resist the Siren’s song of Tartiflette beckoning you to partake in its cheesy potato lardon goodness.

You will find Tartiflette on the menu in every French Alpine Ski resort.  That’s a sign that there’s something good about it.

Once our guests have had the chance to savor a real Tartiflette, the choruses of superlatives rings forth:  “the best…the most comforting….the tastiest…the cheesiest…”  it goes on and on .

Quite often, we’re asked for the recipe.  We issue the standard disclaimer, that if you don’t have access to Reblochon cheese, it won’t be the real deal.  We think the best way of enjoying Tartiflette is after a long day of motorcycle touring.  If you like motorcycle riding, join us for an Alps motorcycle tour and you can savor Tartiflette to your heart’s content.

This one dish wonder is a great way to recharge your batteries after conquering Alpine mountain passes.  Those who’ve had an authentic Tartiflette will agree.  If you’re looking for the recipe, here’s one take.

If you can’t get Reblochon in your area, consider a Brie, Camembert, maybe a Gruyere or just improvise.

Here’s a how to video on making Tartiflette.  If you cannot view the video, here is the url:  https://youtu.be/l3uc6xRDqas

 

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