As the grey Melbourne winter really sets in this week, my thoughts turn to warm, comforting food. And what could be better than some warming French dishes to make the cold weather just a little more bearable? Tartiflette is my favourite go-to dish when the winter blues set in. Be warned, this dish is not for the calorie-counters nor is it weight-watcher friendly. But what it lacks in healthiness it more than makes up for it with deliciousness.
Originating in the mountainous Haute Savoie region, this dish is designed to help you refuel after a long day out on the slopes. Many slight variations on the recipe and method of preparation can be found, and it can even be a source of contention in French kitchens (read more on how the French aren’t shy about voicing their opinions on cooking here).
But essentially the ingredients remain the same. Potatoes, which are boiled, skinned and then thinly sliced form the bulk of this dish. Onions and lardons are sautéed in a pan before being added to the potato, along with a generous helping of crème fraîche. The piece de la resistance of this dish is the reblochon cheese. Some argue you should slice it up into small cubes and distribute throughout, but purists argue that you simply cut the wheel in half horizontally, and plonk on top.
The entire decadent concoction is then placed in a hot oven so the cheese can slowly melt and ooze through the dish. The only necessary accompaniment to this might be a few lightly dressed salad leaves (as much for digestive reasons as for guilt-alleviation!).
Now it is difficult, though not impossible to find reblochon in Melbourne and after almost one year of living here we finally found some at La Parisienne Pates on Lygon St. And, to celebrate our discovery, of course we made some tartiflette – delicious!