There is nothing quite like the thought of hearty French food and wine to get you salivating. If you have spent a wonderful day enjoying the alpine area around Les Gets in Savoyard, France, even better. Les Gets is a commune high in the French Alps known as the Haute-Savoie, part of the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region. More specifically it is between the resorts of Taninges and Morzine which are all part of the very large ski area of Portes du Soleil.
Les Gets is high in the Alps and has brilliant scenery all year round with majestic views including looking out to mighty Mont Blanc. There are plenty of activities to work up an appetite for the delicious food on offer. Whether you visit Les Gets in winter or summer you will be sure to find sumptuous traditional food served with fabulous French beverages. In winter there are snow sports of all sorts while in summer there are many mountain bike trails, hiking, swimming and even an 18 hole golf course.
There is always plenty of accommodation on offer. Alpine Elements have some great offers whether you prefer hotels, apartments or self catering chalets. Wherever you stay you will be in the centre of awesome scenery and have access to village life. Les Gets maybe a modern resort however it has not lost its mountain soul regarding hospitality. Its Savoyard heritage includes a rich history and cultural legacy. Les Gets villagers take great pride in the area’s culinary traditions and there are many more choices for places to eat than many other comparable alpine resorts. You are spoilt for choice.
Traditional fare understandably tends to be based on the local produce. These are rich mountain cheeses, charcuterie and vegetables that store well over long cold winters, especially potatoes and onions. However with international demands from many tourists and skiers plenty of other dishes are available.
Savoyard cuisine is for sure highly calorific based on meals high in fats and starches. Not so long ago villagers would have needed all those calories to survive the winter months when they were sometimes isolated for months by deep snow. Their animals would have been living with them, literally inside the same buildings where animal body heat helped to keep humans warm too. Villagers’ survival depended on what they could produce at home and preserve for future use. In the brisk mountain air you also will need those calories for energy to enjoy the most fun in the mountains.
Along with this seasonal isolation came other survival traditions regarding hospitality and open welcome to others who might have need of food and shelter in harsh winters. Les Gets has lost none of its charm and friendliness as it has developed into a modern holiday resort.
Through successive generations the inhabitants of the French Alps have passed down their favourite recipes and love to share their “secrets” with guests and visitors. Many of the distinctive cheeses are still made locally as well as some of the meats and pastries.
Here are a few delicious dishes to whet your appetite. The best ones are made to be shared by all in the centre of the table rather than everyone ordering individual dishes.
This cheese centred meal is basically Raclette cheese grilled until it begins to brown, then it is eaten with tasty local potatoes with tangy additions like tiny pickled onions, gherkins, and charcuterie. Raclette cheese is an aromatic semi- firm cheese that comes in large rounds that melt into a creamy texture. It’s not so strong as some of the mature mountain cheeses that are often acquired tastes. You usually grill your own cheese on the table so you can decide how much you want. However, the taste is so delicious that want grows into eating far more than you need.
Ubiquitous in European Alps, especially in France and Switzerland a good fondue will always satisfy ravenous hunger. The recipe is rather simple so more important are make sure that only quality ingredients are used – a mixture of Compte, Emmentaler and Beaufort a cheeses, garlic, white wine and a dash of kirsch are all you need to make a good fondue and some fresh chunks of Baguette to dip and eat it. The pot of fondue is served on the table with a burner underneath to keep it hot.
Everybody has their own long tiny fork to skewer the bread and swirl it around clockwise or figure eight in the centrally placed bowl of fondue.
If you lose your bread in the mixture sometimes there are playful punishments meted out, like having to drain your traditional glass of white wine or kiss your neighbour. The best is sometimes also with the final layer bubbling to a delicious crisp chewy cheese “la religieuse,” that requires some digging to get out.
Diots are Savoyard sausages served as a local savoury dish. The diots are made from pork meat, either natural or smoked, and sometimes infused with a distinctive cabbage flavour. They are traditionally cooked in white wine with onions and served with polenta or potatoes. If eaten cold they are served with local mustard.
The Savoyard has its own pasta version called Crozets which is traditionally made at home using buckwheat, wheat or a mixture of both to form small flat squares or round shapes. They are cooked in salted water and served with sautéed onion and grated hard cheese.
Tartiflette is probably one of the most renowned and popular dishes from the Haute Savoie and Savoie region. It’s sometimes called Pela. Based on potatoes, bacon lardoons, onions and Reblochon cheese,tartiflette has a reputation for being solid comfort food Other variations include lobster, seafood, confit de canard in the recipe.
Reblochon is the most popular cheese from the region and is used in Tartiflette. It is a soft cows milk cheese made into medium sized rounds about 3-4cm thick. The orange rind has a thin layer of white mould which increases the flavour as the cheese ripens. The local cattle breeds that produce this cheese are Abondance, Tarentaise and Montbeliarde.
Emmental de Savoie is full of holes like “Swiss Cheese”. It is the base for fondues.
Chevrotin is made from goats’ milk.
Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage is a blue cheese originally made by local monks. Penicillium roqueforti is added to the cheeses before aging the rounds for several months. It has a sweet taste and soft texture.
Wine making in Savoyard is second only to cheese making regarding local produce and the vintages compliment the cheeses perfectly. Jacquère, Altesse, Roussanne, Chasselas, and Gringet some of the unusual but successful varieties of vine planted in the region. They produce distinctive wines well worth tasting on your travels. Most of the wines are white with a few rosé and red. The region also produces a more renowned grape product called Vermouth. Salut!
Fruit and Vegetables
Different varieties of apples and pears grow in the area, ripening throughout the year and are accordingly incorporated into recipes that suit different seasons. Some are best fresh or in salads while others keep well to be cooked in delicious desserts.
Enjoy Les Gets all Year Round
Whatever time you decide to visit you will be welcome in Les Gets. Plan a visit now for the near future to enjoy some of the wonderful village hospitality and the savoury local dishes on offer. If you want more inspiration for enjoying food from all over the world, check out more on Jen’s blog. The taste of the wine and food will give you plenty to savor.