Just because it is almost impossible to make any travel plans right now, it doesn't mean we can't explore the delights of France in other ways. Over the next 13 days, we'll be discovering the regions of France in alphabetical order, sharing a recipe for a signature dish, starting with Auvergne Rhône-Alpes.
We will find out tonight whether ski resorts will be allowed to open when the national lockdown ends. In the meantime, why not bring the mountains to you with a quintessential alpine dish - tartiflette. Tartiflette is insanely popular in ski resorts, Christmas markets and in fact almost everywhere.
It was inspired by a traditional Provencal dish called 'péla' which is a gratin of potatoes, onions and cheese, but developed and marketed by the makers of Reblochon as a way of promoting the cheese and boosting sales (don't tell them that you can make tartiflette with any other similar cheese!).
This incredibly easy version includes bacon but works well for vegetarians if you leave it out or replace it with smoked tofu. If you have never tried tartiflette before, be warned it is addictive. Two or three servings and you may well find yourself lusting after an "In Tartiflette We Trust" bumper sticker!
Serves 6-8 people
2.5 kilos of potatoes
2 Reblochons (or similar such as gruyère or raclette cheese)
20cl dry white wine
30cl cream (crème fluide entière, usually sold beside the UHT milk)
500 grams bacon bits (petits lardons)
salt and pepper
a clove of garlic
Peel and boil the potatoes until only just cooked through. Then slice thickly.
Chop the onions and fry them in the butter. Add the bacon bits and let them cook slowly.
Rub the base of a 40cm diameter baking dish with the halved garlic clove.
Layer in the potatoes and bacon-onion mix and pour over the wine and the cream. Add pepper and a very little salt.
Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees, cut the two cheeses in half width-wise like a bap to give four circles. Place the four halves rind up on top of the dish so that the cheese melts through the potatoes, bacon and onions.
Bake or grill for 20-30 minutes.
Serve with salad, and white wine. Second helpings highly recommended.
Related stories while you wait for it to cook
Stay tuned tomorrow for the next recipe in the series taken from Brittany.
French cooking enthusiasts can also find recipes in our monthly 'French Living' culture and lifestyle pullout, included with every print edition.