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Tartiflette is a type of cheese-and-potato dish that has its roots from France. This dish resembles that of a potpie, served in either individual or family-sized bowls or gratin dishes. What sets this dish apart from conventional potpies is that it does not use a dough covering on top of it. The tartiflette can be eaten on its own, along with a piece of bread and vegetable salad on the side; it can also serve as an accompaniment to a meat dish. This dish is also best served warm.
Technically speaking, the tartiflette is not really a traditional and long-established French dish, as its emergence came around in the 1980s. It was invented in the region of Savoie of the French Alps, particularly in the Aravis valley, where reblochon cheese was chiefly made. In fact, the name of the dish was derived from the Savoie word “tartifla,” which means “potato,” Supposedly, the primary aim of the Interprofessional Association of Rebochlon in inventing the dish was to promote the use of the local rebochlon cheese and boost its sales. This potato dish is very similar to another Savoie dish called the “péla,” which also uses rebochlon cheese and potato as the primary ingredients.
Since then, the dish has become a mainstay in restaurant menus in the area and has been popular among visitors during winter vacations. Recipes of the tartiflette are very diverse, with each village in the region having one or two recipes of its own. Boiling and frying are the most common methods of preparing the potatoes, which should be initially peeled and cut into pieces. Sometimes, cooking wine is also added to give the potatoes a distinct flavor. Garlic and pepper are frequent choices for flavoring, along with salt and pepper.
To give the potatoes a more robust flavor, chopped meat is added, with smoked bacon being a favorite among many recipes in areas of France. A little bit of “crème fraîche,” a type of sour cream, is sometimes added to bind all the ingredients together. Some recipes suggest baking the dish without the cheese, putting only the latter on after 10 to 20 minutes to prevent it from burning. The tartiflette is ready to be served when the cheese is brown and melted.
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