This is a cold-weather dish most commonly encountered in the Alpine ski resorts of eastern France: potatoes, onions, bacon and flavorful reblochon cheese baked together to make a mouth-watering one-dish meal. But tartiflette has become so popular that restaurants from Burgundy to the Pyrenees now serve it. The name derives from a word for potatoes, tartifla, that is used in Italy and Provence — but, oddly, not in Savoie

Tartiflette / Savoyard potato gratin with bacon

According to various culinary sources, the dish was traditionally known in Savoie not as tartiflette but as péla, named for the long-handled pan in which it was cooked over a fire. Things began changing around 30 years ago when the cheesemakers who produce reblochon — a pungent soft cheese made from cow’s milk — decided to try to boost sales of their product. When exactly péla morphed into tartiflette is not clear to me. But judging by my 1969 edition of Le Petit Robert, one of France’s most authoritative dictionaries, today’s word for this very well-known dish had not yet entered the language just 43 years ago.

Thanksgiving alert: In honor of the American holiday, which takes place next Thursday, and with my thoughts turning to those without big families nearby, I will be posting some recipes for an alternative Thanksgiving dinner with a French/Mediterranean twist. The menu includes roast quail (or Cornish game hen), pomegranate relish and, for vegetarians, a fabulous stuffed pumpkin recipe from one of the best French home chefs I know. The recipes will go up Sunday or Tuesday, depending on when I get time to do the cooking and photography. Just letting you know in advance to allow you to start hunting for quail…

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2 Responses to Tartiflette

  1. Rhea Condra says:

    My husband and I made your red onion tart for dinner this evening and we wanted you to know that we thought it was delicious! We used our regular pate brisee recipe but otherwise followed your instructions explicitly. Thank you for your great ideas and easy to follow recipes and instructions. It is always a pleasure to read your blog.

    • Meg says:

      Rhea, thanks so much for the positive feedback! I’m very glad the tart worked out well. And maybe one of these days you will feel like trying out the pâte brisée recipe on this site. It’s surprisingly easy. Cheers!

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