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French Alpine Food

French Alpine Food

Being the highest and most extensive mountain range in Europe, the Alps is a popular destination for all types of outdoor activities including hiking in the summer months and skiing during the winter season (which was the reason I visited). With snow covered grounds and blue skies, it was breath taking to soak in the mountain view. Of course, the French Alps I visited also offer a wide range of French cuisine which I savoured during my time there. Here are some of the food I had during my trip so you can try them too should you visit.

Classic Alpine Food

With temperatures dropping down to the negatives, food items rich in fat have become a staple in the mountains for many years to ensure the body is well insulated from the cold.

Fondue

This dish consists of combining melted cheese with some white wine in a large communal pot. This is often served with cubed crusty bread, cured meats and pickles. A long fork will be provided to allow you to easily stab your bread and dip it in the fondue.

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Thoughts: This dish is super fun to eat as you get to watch your bread soak up with cheese and then wrap it in some cured meat like a mini parcel. The bitterness in the cheese and sweetness in the wine work really well with the intense saltiness of the cured meat. When it gets too heavy, have a bite of pickle to cleanse your palate. Overall, a fun experience and incredibly hearty and warming.

Raclette

Though slightly similar, the raclette sometimes involves the use of a type of electrical heating device. The cheese is sliced, placed into little pans and inserted into a slot in the device while boiled potatoes are placed on a grill atop the device. The individual slices of cheese are melted in the pans and scraped off onto the potatoes. Again, cured meats and pickles are served on the side.

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Thoughts: If you love the idea of a chinese hot pot where you get to cook your food, this is somewhat similar as you get to decide how melted you like your cheese and what cured meats you’d like to have your cheese and potatoes with. With an ooey gooey, stringy cheese draped over some hard waxy potatoes, this dish feels very texturally exciting. Otherwise rather plain, pairing it with the thinly sliced cured meat adds a savoury and melt-in-your-mouth fatty component.

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Though the dishes mentioned above were served to me as a delicious homecooked meal, there are also plenty of restaurants in the French Alps that offer these dishes. If you’d like to recreate these dishes yourself, you can also readily buy the ingredients you need at supermarkets and specialty cheese and meat stores in the French Alps.

Other French Cuisine

If you’re not too big on cheese but would still like a taste of French food, there are plenty of other options throughout the French Alps. Some restaurants mentioned below will require you to ski to access them but some are also available to dine at without any skiing.

Belliou La Fumée

Made of a small stone hut with a wooden patio dining area, Belliou La Fumée feels cozy and welcoming, particularly after a long ski trip. Located in a valley in the mountains, dining outdoors on a sunny day is a must as you soak in the beautiful mountain view and enjoy the tranquil sounds of a small stream trickling past the restaurant.

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What I had here: Fillet of pork with balsamic sauce, mash and vegetables. Creme brulee and chocolate mousse.

Cost: €40 total

Thoughts: Though I did find the fillet of pork to be on the dry and tough side, I enjoyed the sweet and sour nature of the balsamic sauce which coated the pork well and gave a lovely sheen to it. The mash had a pleasant garlic aroma while the vegetables were well seasoned and cooked perfectly with a nice bite to them. Overall, the simplicity of the sides worked well with the strong flavours of the pork. The creme brulee was smooth with a grainy and crunchy sugar layer (I believe they used coarse sugar) which gave off a toasted caramel aroma. Perhaps my favourite was the chocolate mousse as it was incredibly smooth and thick; so thick that it was stretchable but once it touched my tongue, it melted away and left me wanting more.

Le Sanglier Que Fume

Located within arc 1600 and close to the small town there, Le Sanglier Que Fume is a much larger wooden chalet with plenty of indoor seating where large windows are placed throughout for maximum view of the outdoors. If you prefer outdoor seating, there is also a wooden balcony area to dine at. Plenty of vintage posters and skiing gears are also scattered about the restaurant to really immerse you in the history of the French Alps.

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What I had here: Creamy cod loin with black rice. Chocolate mousse.

Cost: €30 total

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Thoughts: The cod had a dense and flaky texture which paired well with the crunch of the carrots and the chewy bite of the black rice. The addition of spring onions to the dish added a strong onion aroma which was mellowed out nicely by the lightly seasoned cream sauce that had soaked into the rice. The chocolate mousse dessert surprised me quite a bit as it was very different from the one previously mentioned. It consisted of a nut and cornflake-like dark chocolate bark covered in a white chocolate mousse and blueberry sauce. I loved the slight bitterness and hard crunch in the dark chocolate bark which complemented the airy and fluffy white chocolate mousse. Meanwhile, the blueberry sauce added a balanced tartness to the otherwise rather sweet dessert.

Boulangerie

The boulangerie/bakery that I went to was located in the small village in arc 1600. This bakery is often packed with people particularly in the mornings when many line up to get freshly baked bread. In the late afternoons, people also flock here for some hot drinks and crepes.

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What I had here: Salted caramel crepes and a hot chocolate drink.

Cost: Roughly €5

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Thoughts: The crepes were thin, light and chewy while the salted caramel sauce had a nice buttery scent with a great balance of salty and sweet. The hot chocolate drink was made with a standard powder mix but it was comforting to have a hot drink in the cold. What I enjoyed the most was the busy atmosphere of the bakery as it was packed with people crowding in with their messy hair and ski jackets while waitresses run about shouting orders. I also enjoyed watching them make my crepes right in front of my eyes.

Overall, the trip to the French Alps was an incredibly memorable one. I feel so grateful to have been given the opportunity to visit it and have such lovely food and make such great memories during my time there. Have you ever been to the French Alps or want to? Let me know in the comments below.