Today is stage 8 of the Tour de France and I have been asked by Barbara from Winos and Foodies to participate in her project to cover each stage of the race by posting a dish from the region. Today's stage starts in Tournus - Station des Rousses (covered yesterday by Eliza at Gastronomy Gal) and ends in the pretty town of Morzine-Avoriaz. Luckily for me my friends Saloni and John (See note) own an apartment in the area and have provided the beautiful Alpine photos and the recipe (although I have gone a little "off-piste" with the recipe - sorry John, I'm not sure that I've ever followed a recipe exactly!).
a 189 kilometres ride that climbs to a height of nearly 1800 metres. I am a keen (but slow) cyclist myself and last February Steve and I set off on a cycling trip from London to Istanbul. Our (slightly optimistic?) planned route included a winter crossing of both the Pyrenees and the French Alps although looking at the stage 8 profile map I think the Alps would definitely have foiled our attempt even if we had conquered the snow blocked Pyrenees. In the end we abandoned our bikes, gave up on Istanbul as a destination and visited Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Panama and the Coachella Music Festival in Palm Desert. We were described by one reader of our blog as "The people who couldn't find Istanbul even if they were being helped by the British Geological Survey".
Considering all of the calories that will have been burnt on Le Tour today, it is fortunate for the cyclists that the dish of the region is the high fat tartiflette made with potatoes, bacon, cream and cheese. It doesn't strike me as the healthiest meal but it is traditionally served with a green salad. Well that's alright then. Even though it is marketed as a traditional dish it was created in the 1980s by the union of reblochon cheesemakers as a way to popularise the cheese - and it worked! I'm not sure that Barbs had an exposé in mind for her project but I guess that's a side effect of the investigative journalistic style used on Coconut Raita!
Tomorrow is a rest day but stage 9 on Tuesday will be covered by Alison at Sushi Day.
Note: Providers of the marvellous pumpkin and scallop soup recipe last Halloween.
Serves 3-4 (or 2 greedy monkeys aka Saloni and John)
- 700 grams waxy potatoes (eg Charlotte) - peeled
- 10 grams butter
- 1 large white onion - finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - crushed
- 200 grams lardons (or streaky bacon - chopped)
- Small handful thyme leaves - chopped
- 200 grams creme fraiche
- 100 millilitres white wine (I used the delightful Les Rocailles Aprement vin de Savoie)
- 250 grams reblochon - finely sliced (with rind)
- Pre-heat the over to 180 degrees centigrade.
- Cut the peeled potatoes into 1cm slices.
- Place in a pan and boil until tender - in the region of 12 - 15 minutes.
- In the meantime melt the butter in a pan.
- Add the onions to the melted butter and saute for five minutes.
- Now add the garlic and lardons. Stir well and cook for a further five minutes.
- Add the thyme leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Take care not to add too much salt as the cheese and lardons both contain salt. Stir again and leave for a further five minutes. The onions should now be soft and the lardons starting to crisp.
- Drain the potatoes.
- Place half of the slices on the bottom of a shallow ovenproof dish.
- Now use half of the lardons and onion mixture to form the next layer.
- Place half of the cream on top of the lardons and onions.
- Now pour half of the wine over the dish.
- Place half of the cheese on the dish.
- Repeat steps 9 to 13 to use the remaining ingredients.
- Place the dish in the oven until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown - in the region of 20-30 minutes.
- Serve with a green salad, vinaigrette and a glass of white wine preferably from the Savoie.