The Tartiflette is the ultimate winter casserole. As a hallmark of French Savoyard food, the Tartiflette is the go-to dish to rejuvenate your cold and tired soul. Situated in the east of France, La Savoie is largely covered by the jaw-dropping Alps. These mountains are admired and enjoyed in summer as well as winter and have shaped Savoyard culture and cuisine for millennia. The ingredients found in the Tartiflette are a snapshot of the food produced in what are sometimes small and high-up mountain villages, which get blanketed by snow for weeks or even months at a time. Potatoes, onions, cheese, cream, bacon, and wine can be year-long sources of fat, protein, and relaxation for people who need to plan for longer-than-average stretches of winter without ready access to other foods. Today, Savoyard cuisine still thrives, not out of necessity, but out of the delight it brings. There may be powerful snowplows and central heating in most Savoyard cities and villages, but there is still nothing that soothes the body and mind more than a broiling Tartiflette.
Savoyard cheese, charcuterie, fondue, and casseroles such as the Tartiflette form a good part of the menus in many Alpine restaurants. When you stop for lunch on the side of a slope in many of France’s renowned ski stations like Tignes, Courchevel, Méribel, Val d’Isère, or one of many more, you will see that these heavy dishes are consumed just before mountaineers go through great physical challenges. Skiers will usually share, but sometimes attempt to eat a full or even two full Tartiflettes for lunch and then hop right back on the slopes! The reason for this is that the Tartiflette is locally reputed to oil the joints of the tired (not just their arteries). I can personally attest to the effectiveness of this dish in giving you back that fresh, nimble feeling before skiing the rest of the day. That extra kilo of Tartiflette you carry with you in your belly helps you get down the slope faster, and the experience of eating it gives you a renewed sense of how wonderful life can be if there’s good food on the table, and good company to enjoy it with.
5.5 pounds of potatoes
2 reblochon cheeses
1 1/4 cup of heavy cream
1.1 pounds of finely chopped bacon (use a good 6-8 slices)
1 glass of white wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
Next time you’re walking across Andrus field in freezing temperatures, or wondering where you’ll find the motivation to finish your next set of readings, think of the warmth and satisfaction you can find in the Tartiflette, and get to work!
Théo Storella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.