Eating The Tour De France Stage 15: Pontarlier – Verbier. A Tartiflette
After brief visits to Monaco, Andorra and Spain, Stage 15th of the 2009 Tour de France takes us into another country and the home of pen knives, dodgy bankers and yodeling. Yup, we are riding for Switzerland! The Alpine slopes of this mountainous little country will be a joy for the climbers keen to get there hands on the poker dot jersey, but as mountain stages go the road from Pontarlier Verbier is somewhat tame.
A small village located in southwestern Switzerland, Verbier is perhaps better known for its ski areas than its cycle lanes.
Recognized as one of the premiere "off-piste" resorts worldwide Verbier counts among Europe's most famous winter resorts and you are more likely to bump into adrenaline-hooked ski bums than lycra clad tour riders.
But wether you get your thrills taking on the fresh powder off piste or flexing your muscles on a steep mountain climb, the Alpine food of these parts will not disapoint. To survive in these mountains you need plenty of calories and heavy cheesey dishes are always on the menu. At the end of Stage 14 we were getting our lactose fix from a Comte fondue, but here in Verbier its a baking hot Tartiflette that will send us into a cheesy delirium.
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 175g bacon cut into lardons
- 250g of local mushrooms, sliced
- 1kg potatoes, peeled and sliced to a 3mm thickness
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 250g Reblochon cheese, cubed
- 500ml carton double cream
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas
2. Use half the butter to grease a shallow baking dish, about 30 cm in diameter.
3. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, add the bacon and sauté for about 5 minutes until crisp and brown.
4. Remove the bacon and drain on kitchen paper. Return the pan to the heat and add the mushrooms. Sauté for about 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.
5. Lightly coat the potato slices with the salt and pepper. Arrange half in a layer in the base of the dish and then add a layer of bacon and mushrooms. Top with half the cheese and season again. Top with the remaining potatoes in a tidy layer.
6. Pour cream over the top to just cover the potatoes. Dot with the remaining butter, bake for about 1.5 hours, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the remaining cheese to the top, and return to the oven until brown and bubbling (about 15 minutes). Remove from the oven and serve.