Years ago our family was travelling through Eastern France, and we stopped in the beautiful town of Annecy for lunch and a stroll. We were in Annecy-le-Vieux, the old part of town and we randomly chose a restaurant at which to have lunch. Our restaurant was one of the ones on the right side of the canal in the photo below. The canal encircles the ancient prison.
We sat outside, the sun was out, it was about 70 degrees – we didn’t think it could get much better than this. But we were wrong.
My husband and I chose the local specialty Tartiflette for lunch. Tartiflette is a potato dish baked with a cheese called Reblochon, one of the cheeses of the Savoie province of France which we were in. The Tartiflette was extremely memorable, but Reblochon is now one of my favorite all-time stinky French cheeses.
Reblochon is a cows’ milk cheese with a washed rind. It smells like, well, you’re in a cow paddy. But cheeses never taste as bad as they smell, do they?
Within the rind, Reblochon is a rich, velvet-like cheese that is perfect as is, served with my bread for cheese, or baked into tarts, or with potatoes, like this Tartiflette recipe.
When we got back to the states, I was so thrilled to discover that I could order Reblochon from fromages.com. Fromages.com has a recipe for Tartiflette, as well as an interesting history on Reblochon. (I learned that it’s actually made from a mix of milk from three different cow breeds!)
Then I happened upon a Tartiflette recipe in Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook. I have to quote him on what he states about Reblochon:
“Here’s more evidence that you can never have too much cheese, bacon, or starch.”
So here’s the recipe from Mr. Bourdain’s cookbook:
2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled (I use russet)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into small dice
3/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper
1 pound Reblochon cheese
large sauté pan
round, ovenproof dish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the potatoes in the large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with the paring knife. Remove from the heat, drain, and let sit until they are cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes into a small dice and set aside.
In the large sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat and add the onion. Cook over high heat for about 5 minutes, until golden brown, then add the bacon and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the potatoes and wine and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Remove the mixture from the heat and place half of it in the round, ovenproof dish. Spread half the Reblochon atop the potato mixture.
Cover this with the other half of the potato mixture. Top with the remainder of the cheese.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve hot.
As you can tell, I used four ramekins for the tartiflette.
You can prepare the tartiflette as one large casserole, like this one I made last year, but I wouldn’t make it in a deep dish pan because the cheese to potato ratio is critical!
Also, when searching online for how tartiflette is presented, because I find it challenging to photograph, I came across other ways to prepare tartiflette. You can place the whole wheel of cheese over the potatoes, or slice it horizontally first.
note: You can make Tartiflette with a different cheese, but please don’t. You’re missing the whole point. This dish really requires this stinky cheese, and you’ll be amazed at how smooth and mild Reblochon is with the potatoes. I personally love the rind, but my husband doesn’t, so I trimmed it.
photo from Annecy
Reblochon is one of my favourite cheeses too :) Your tartiflette looks wonderful. I ate it a couple of years ago on the top of a snowy Swiss mountain – fantastic for lunch in the snow. I don’t think I could manage it every day though!
No! Reblochon is so incredible. I could eat it every day, but not tartiflette!
love that picture with the green water, makes me wanna visit!!
It is so beautiful there.
This is on my list of dishes to make but I haven’t because I’m trying to eat a little better. I think you’ve just convinced me to head to the cheese shop. It looks beautiful Mimi!
Oh, well this definitely isn’t in the eating healthy department! But it’s so good….
Gorgeous, Mimi, I can almost taste it from here. You can leave the rind on for me, too. :)
Hahaha! Me, too!
I’m drooling over this dish! :)
Thank you – it’s a good one!
Lovely pictures Mimi and what could be better than cheese, potatoes and bacon!
That looks dreamy delicious Mimi!
Well, if you like potatoes, cheese, and bacon…
Yes, yes, yes!!!
Reblochon is a fantastic cheese. I love the tatiflette you made , so rich and satisfying.
It’s an incredible cheese. Between that and Epoisses that I always have around the holidays, people sometimes flee from my kitchen because of the smells !
Next time you go, stop over in Geneva, the best fondues are served there ;)
I had one in Chamonix! Does that count?!!!
I haven’t had tartiflette for years and years, and now I want it in the worst way! My search for reblochon begins tomorrow! Thanks for bringing back such incredible memories of my time in France – although I have never been to Annecy-le-Vieux.
That part of France is just stunning, especially with the Alps. Chamonix is where I discovered raclette, and Annecy Reblochon, so both places hold a special place in my heart!
I had my first raclette in Grenoble (also my first crêpe au crème de marrons et crèmf Chantilly) – first bites of special foods are always so memorable!
First bites but also those lovely discoveries!!! Thank you for the comment – I feel so honored after reading about your article!
This sounds so delicious, Mimi! We will be in France this summer, so I will have to see if I can track this down in a restaurant! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!
I hope you can find it in the summer. It’s such a local tradition that I’m sure you will.
The temperatures have really dropped around here, and I’m really in the mood for something warming like this! Rebluchon you say? I’m in…
It’s a treat. If I had to pick, I’d have to stick with washed-rind cows’ milk cheeses. Have you heard of Epoisses?
Yes, of course. And I love it!
This definitely brought me memories. When I was working at Necker Institut back in 2002, one of the pos docs of the lab used to make tartiflette from scratch, using his Grandma’s recipe – twice during our stay there we had “tartiflette” parties – and it was unreal, so delicious, but probably one of the heaviest and most caloric dishes I’ve ever had. A real treat, no doubt about it…
Oh my, a tartiflette party! What decadent fun!!!
Great comfort food, Mimi. And you even liked it when it was 70 degrees! We love love cheese, so will have to try this in winter.
Cheese is the best!
Potatoes, onions, bacon and cheese what could possibly go wrong!! I’ve never actually had one. I do add blue cheese to my potato croquettes. Cheese and spuds are obviously a match made in heaven.
Years ago I would just boil a potato for my lunch, and pair it with good cheese. Usually Fontina or Gruyere, but you’re right – potatoes and cheese are fabulous together!
A beautiful part of France for sure. The French sure know how to get the taste buds salivating and this dish definitely reflects that. Love the individual ramekin servings too, it’s always so special when the servings and dish are individualized. Great recipe!
Oh là là … divine !
That is a good word for Tartiflette!
What an amazing dish! You can’t go wrong with cheese and bacon.
OH MY GOODNESS! You had me at potatoes. Anything with potatoes and cheese has my name written all over it. Looks amazing, Mimi!
I know! This cheese is a great reason to have potatoes, and the potatoes are a great reason to have this cheese!
The french have a way of making the most gluttonous of us feel classy and fancy ;) I know I would love this! We have a restaurant near us that serves baked Reblochon and I’m obsessssed
Like a baked brie? Wrapped in pastry? Topped with something? I have to know!!!
Yes wrapped in pastry and topped with apricot preserves!!!!!
Oh my. Goodbye baked brie!!!
A great dish. Given our rainy weather I wish I could be in that French town! That would be wonderful.
It’s such a beautiful part of Europe.
I’m a fan of stinky French cheeses. I buy Epoisses regularly. Thanks for the heads up on this yummy stinker! GREG
Epoisses is THE best! One’s in my fridge right now awaiting the festivities!!!
Reblochon is the best, isn’t it? And this dish looks wonderful! Don’t think I’ve ever had this, and certainly have never made it. But I will. :-) Thanks!
I love to eat raclette and reblochon just as is. But they are both so good melted!
What an absolutely gorgeous city! The cheese and this dish…drooling!!!! :)
It is such a beautiful part of France!
I think I remember reading that MFK Fisher loved that cheese. I have occasionally seen it in the store and will have to try it. This looks like perfect dish for a stormy day after a LONG hike!
Mimi, you would be a great sales person…first you’ve caught my interest, then created the need. So I’ve gone from having never heard of this cheese to thinking I just HAVE to have some. Soon. What a decadent looking dish…
You’re so sweet Mollie! If you can get Frenc cheeses where you live, I would definitely try Reblochon. Have you ever had Epoisses? It’s not for cooking, just for eating, and it’s incredible.
I love Reblochon…
It’s one of my faves!
I Love cheese 🙂
This looks delicious! And the vessels serving are so pretty, too!
Thanks. I have a lot of little dishes and gratin pans, but usually forget to use them!