Home to some of France’s most fashionable ski resorts – Chamonix and Val d'Isere included – the French Alps have long been famous for luxe après-slopes and chalets, its food often the polished plates that befit these surrounds. But a peek into the history of the region serves up a different kind of cuisine: rustic potato gratins, hearty stews, sausages, baked cheese. It’s basic country fare made with local dairy and produce. The region’s piece de resistance? The gooey fondue Savoyarde.
Made using Raclette de Savoie, this is one après-ski dish you’ll find at most resorts, served with bread for dipping and surrounded by vegetables like baby potatoes, asparagus or cornichons. Here's a recipe for classic Alps fondue.
The French aren’t known for their snags, but the meaty and flavoursome Savoy-hailing diot is worthy of attention. It’s eaten in casseroles, between bread, or in the method traditional: cooked slowly with onions and white wine until it’s fall-apart tender.
From a food perspective, the Alps could easily be renamed the baked potato capital of Europe. This one uses crozet (a type of pasta) instead of spud, plus loads of garlic, cream, bacon and about four wheels of Reblochon cheese. Sign. Us. Up.
After a day of battling the slopes, what’s more comforting than a bowl of chunky mountain soup, bulked up with air-dried sausage, savoy cabbage and ham hock? And then, of course, it’s topped with slices of baguette and grated Gruyère cheese and melted. We hear you: why didn’t we think of that?
200g of Gruyere later, it's the cheesy crust on top of this soup is what makes the French staple difficult to resist.
The rich Savoyard gratin, tartiflette is the ultimate Alps comfort food, made with local Reblochon cheese, onions and bacon. Leftovers are often used in omelettes.
The famous alpine cheese that translates to ‘to scrape’ – ‘raclette’ also refers to how the cheese is served at the table. Traditionally, the cut side of the wheel is heated over a grill until it starts to melt. Then, it’s served in all its oozy splendour with bread, potatoes, and vegetables: an entertainer's dream meal.
The mountain waters of the Alps are chock-full of trout, making it the fish staple of many dishes, like this cheesy fish bake, a family favourite.