“We joined HomeExchange.com just over a year ago and have had many wonderful offers of beautiful places to visit all around the world. We will be taking our first exchange this Christmas and New Year with a lovely family from South Africa who want to come and discover the French Alps in the winter and enjoy some time on the slopes, skiing and enjoying the winter activities, the ambiance of a ski resort and local savoyard cuisine. The experience of organising our exchange through HomeExchange.com has been easy and pleasurable. I believe we find like-minded people on this site. The food of our region is centred around cheeses that come from this region and there are many traditional savoyard dishes that really must be tasted and enjoyed. The raclette, cheese fondue and the famous tartiflette made with the locally produced reblochon cheese.”
Tartiflette is probably one of the most popular dishes in the Savoie and Haute-Savoie regions. The main ingredient is Reblochon cheese from Haute-Savoie, France.
The word tartiflette is based on the local word tartifle (potatoes) and it is hard to go into a restaurant in this region and not find a variation of this dish on the menu. On a menu, tartiflette can also go by the name pela, which was the original name for this dish and was a gratin of potatoes, onions and cheese. The word pela was derived from the long-handled pan, or pelagic, in which it was made. Tartiflette in its modern-day form was made popular and promoted in the 1980s by Le Syndicat Interprofessionnel du Reblochon to increase the sales of Reblochon cheese in the region, although the dish was mentioned for the first time in a cookbook from 1705.
Visitors to the Savoie regions first heard of the tartiflette when it started appearing on menus in the mountains and at the ski resorts, thus conveying an image of ‘comfort food’ and a warm, friendly authenticity. The ingredients of what is considered a traditional tartiflette would be potatoes, bacon lardons, onions, and Reblochon. I have had tartiflette here with wild mushrooms added, seafood and lobster, confit de canard (duck), even a tartiflette where the Reblochon has been replaced with goats cheese – Mon Dieu! Not sure what the locals would make of that!
Here is a recipe for a Tartiflette for 4 people, which is a combination of several recipes that I have found:
Serve with a crunchy green salad, fresh french bread and a crisp dry white Savoie wine like Apremont or Crepy.
I have made this recipe and added chopped garlic and thyme and sautéed with the bacon and onions. I have also substituted gnocchi for the potatoes, normally tossing them with the bacon and onion sauté mixture having added a large knob of butter. You could add a splash of wine to the bacon onion mixture at stage 2. For vegetarians you can substitute the bacon lardons for a mix of wild mushrooms sautéed in oil and butter with the onions.
Caro Blackwell is a HomeExchange.com member, professional photographer, and passionate about food. She is enjoying eating and photographing her way around the Haute Savoie and blogging about it at Taste of Savoie. Check out her listing: #436553
All photos ©Caro Blackwell 2013