It’s freezing outside, so we thought we would warm you up with three French winter favorites. Originally from the French Alps, raclette, tartiflette and fondue are very popular throughout France, and are not only delicious, but are also great fun to eat – especially in a group after a long day on the ski slopes.
Although it is said to be originally from Switzerland, raclette is the most popular winter dish in France. It is made of raclette cheese that is put on boiled potatoes and accompanied with a large choice of dried meat (“charcuterie”), and pickled onions and cucumber. The cheese used to be melted in the chimney, but now people use a special machine with several small frying pans. This machine is put in the middle of the table and is used by all guests to melt their cheese, which makes the meal interactive and great fun! Throughout winter, French supermarkets have entire sections of raclette kits and charcuterie plateaus made especially for the dish.
Tartiflette is a gratin made of tartiflette cheese, potatoes, onions and bacon. It comes from the region of Savoie, in the French Alps. It is very rich, so make sure you build up an appetite first with a long walk or a good ski session!
Made of bread dipped into melted cheese, the “fondue savoyarde”, also simply called “fondue”, is not to be mixed up with “fondue bourguignonne”, which is made of meat plunged into boiling oil. As its name indicates, fondue savoyarde also comes from Savoie and is the French version of a Swiss recipe. It is made of a mix of three melted cheeses called Comté, Beaufort, and Reblochon (or another local cheese) with white wine. The mix is put in a communal pot above a set of candles or a stove to keep it hot. People each have a long fork to dip the bread into the cheese. Eating a fondue is certainly a group activity, and people often make it even more fun by giving a forfeit (“gage”) to anyone who drops their bread into the cheese. A modern variation of this traditional meal is the chocolate fondue, which consists in dipping bits of fresh fruits in melted chocolate.
Fromage = cheese
Appareil à raclette = raclette machine
Charcuterie = dried meat
Donner un gage = to give a forfeit
Bon appétit !