The French love their food, and going on a ski holiday is a delightful excuse to eat a plethora their highly rated cuisine. It’s not the healthiest diet in the world with a heavy emphasis on cheese and butter, but boy is it good! Whether on the slopes or in a restaurant in town, there are certain fantastic dishes you just can’t miss.
For those cheese lovers amongst us then look no further than a humble fondue; so simple, yet so so tasty. It’s roots are firmly sewn in the 70s when it was super fashionable to give a ‘fondue set’ as a wedding present (I believe my parents received 3 in total for their wedding in 1977!), but come to France and it’s the toast of every restaurant. What could be bad about melted cheese cooked with wine to a delicious gooey soup, into which you dip French bread? However, it does take about a year to digest a fondue, so one per ski holiday is by far enough.
Keeping with the cheese theme, this is the lesser known little brother of the fondue. No where near as famous, but just as cheesy and tasty, the name ‘raclette ‘is taken from the French word, ‘racler’, which means ‘to scrape’. This dish involves a round of Raclette cheese being heated by a special machine, which is then scraped onto your plate to eat with charcuterie and salad. Just a note though, you are not meant to eat the entire cheese, as one of friends thought when I went for dinner with her. It is, after all, a whole wheel of cheese!
I’ve always described this as a heart attack on a plate, but wow, it is worth it! Mix together bacon lardons, cream, potatoes, garlic and Reblochon cheese and bake in the oven for several hours or until melted and soft. It’s pretty reasonable, you can get a good tartiflette and green salad for around 14€ and it makes a very good on-the-piste lunch. Also worth noting is the Croziflette; essentially the same thing, but in place of potatoes, are mini squares of locally produced pasta called crozets.
The pierre-chaud is a hot stone on which you can sizzle and cook a selection of raw meats for yourself. This normally comes with a selection of sauces, potatoes and salad. It’s fun to get involved and DIY, but it also slows down your meal whilst waiting for the meat to cook. Kids love this DIY aspect and this meal is guaranteed to have the whole restaurant looking at you!
Now if this isn’t making you hungry, then I don’t know what will. The great thing is as well that getting on the slopes will burn all these calories, making these potentially guilt free meals!
Words – Ruth Howarth
Courchevel Resort Manager