Guest Blog – Biffen’s Kitchen
Fancy skiing in France this season?
Here’s a few French ski food must-tries to get your mouth watering before you’ve even stepped foot off the plane!
One of the utter joys of skiing in France has to be the local French ski food!
Here are some of my favourite French dishes from skiing in France over the last 15 years plus a few cheeky adaptations to the classics at the bottom – saving the best till last?
The recipes are tried and tested so you can bring French mountain food to your own home. Just maybe close the kitchen door before you fill your house with cheesy aromas!
It’s been a cold morning and you have been shredding the mountain like a mad person and you need a gut-filling and hearty dish that will satisfy your needs.
Well, the Tartiflette will do exactly that, but you might not be moving so fast after having it.
Classic French Onion Soup
The onion soup is the ultimate comfort food that won’t leave you rolling down the mountain as a Tartiflette will.
It’s not just onions in a soup… It’s butter-soft, caramelized onions cooked down to a rich, seasoned beef stock and simmered for 40+ minutes.
Then, topped off with fresh garlic croutons and melted crispy Gruyere cheese.
Fancy making it at home?
- 700g onions [Thinly sliced]
- 60g unsalted butter
- 3 garlic [Crushed]
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 litre of good quality beef stock
- 300ml white wine
- French Baguette, 1-inch diagonal slices [1 per person]
- 2 cloves garlic [crushed]
- 225g Gruyère cheese [grated] (A mature cheddar will do but Gruyere is worth getting!)
- First, place a saucepan over a high heat and add the oil and butter together. Once very hot, add the onions, garlic and sugar, and keep mixing until the edges of the onions have turned dark for around 6 minutes. Then simmer on a medium heat and leave the onions to carry on cooking for about 25 minutes.
- While the onions are simmering, it’s time to make the croutons. On a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and crushed garlic and place the bread slices on top coating both sides. Bake for 20 minutes until crispy and crunchy at 160c.
- By now the onions should be in a rich, nut brown, caramelised sauce. Now, pour in the stock and white wine, season and stir well. As soon as it all comes up to simmering point, turn down the heat to its lowest setting, then go away and leave it to cook very gently for 45-55 minutes.
- Preheat the grill to its highest setting. Then ladle in the hot soup, add the floating croutons and sprinkle the grated cheese and place under the grill until the cheese is golden brown.
Serve straight away and enjoy!
Similar to the tartiflette, the Corziflette is another comforting, cheesy hearty delight from the Savoy region.
It’s fundamentally a tartiflette but with a buckwheat pasta (Crozet) instead of potatoes.
This is a good choice to have if you want to say you tried something different from the usual Alpine dishes.
- 400 gr. of buckwheat Crozet (pasta)
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- a bit of butter
- 2 tablespoons of white wine
- 25 cl. of cream
- 2 littles reblochons cheese
- Bring to a boil a large pan of salty water. Cook pasta as written on the box. Sieve.
- In the meantime, slice onion and garlic. Fry with a bit of butter.
- Pour some white wine into the pan and stop the cooking process.
- Mix with the Crozet pasta. Add cream, pepper, and pour into an oven dish.
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Place the sliced raw ham on top of the Crozets. Cut each reblochon into two pieces. Place on top of ham and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the cheese melt. Serve.
Thank you ‘French Girl Cuisine‘ for this delicious recipe.
In 2018, I went skiing in Val d’Isere with Powder White and had an incredible Beef Bourguignon in the catered chalet Skye.
I obviously cheekily asked for the recipe.
Beef Bourguignon originates from Bourgogne, a famous region famous for its food, wine and ox breeding.
As you probably know, the main ingredient for this recipe is red wine and lots of it.
I would advise saving the good red wine for drinking and use a standard bottle for your dinner.
Ingredients – Serves 4
- 1kg lean stewing beef
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 level tbsp flour
- 1 level tbsp soft brown sugar
- 200ml beef stock
- Bottle of red wine
- 2tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tsp chopped thyme
- Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC, gas mark 3. Cut the beef into large cubes or slices.
- Melt the butter in a thick pan and add the oil. Fry the beef quickly on all sides; this may need to be done in batches. Remove from the pan and keep on one side.
- Reduce the heat and add the onions, cook until golden brown then stir in the garlic.
- Layer the beef and onions in a deep casserole, beginning with onions and finishing with meat. Season each layer lightly with salt and black pepper.
- Scrape up the juices in the pan, stir in the flour and sugar and cook to colour the roux. Stir in the stock a little at a time.
- Add the vinegar and wine. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the herbs and bay leaves and pour over the beef. Cover well with greaseproof paper and the lid of the pan and cook the beef gently for 2½ – 3 hours. The flavour of the stew is improved if it is made the day before it is required.
Thank you, Powder White, for this delicious recipe and incredible ski holiday.
Diots au Vin Blanc (In White Wine)
What is a Diots (dee-yo)?
They are a traditional French ski food option easily found in supermarkets and restaurants in the French Alps, originating from the region of Savoy (La Savoie).
These very meaty sausages are full of flavour and contain a coarse and fatty pork mince that has been seasoned with nutmeg.
This is where the flavour comes from!
The traditional way of cooking them is in white wine, but they are also good roasted or grilled, in a casserole.
I love to cook extra and have a cold in a sandwich on the mountain with salad, brie and Dijon mustard!
Pulling this out at lunch definitely gets your ski buddies jealous.
Here is a classic Diots au Vin Blanc from my French Family Lola Cendar. Merci beaucoup!
Ingredients – Serves 4
- 8 Diots
- 2 onions [sliced]
- 1 bottle of white wine (€4-6)
- 2 garlic cloves [chopped]
- Large knob of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons of flour [to thicken the sauce]
- 1 bay leaves [optional]
- With a knife, pierce the Doits a couple of times and grill. In a large casserole pot on a medium heat, add the butter, sliced onions and sauté until soft (7 minutes). Then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the flour to the onions and continue stirring for 1 minute, then add the wine stirring all the time until thoroughly mixed together until it becomes a thick sauce. Then add the Doits with the natural juices, seasoning and bay leaves. Cover with a lid to cook for 45 minutes on a low-medium heat.
- Serve up hot with creamy mashed potato and running beans (any green vegetable you like will do).
Apple Tarte Tatin
This iconic French ski food dessert provides a dark and sticky caramel sweet apple topping with a crisp pastry.
This goes perfectly with the French Onion Soup and you won’t be left with too much of a food baby and able to ski the rest of the afternoon.
Tarte Tatin is easily made and here is a classic recipe from taste.com
Ingredients – Serves 4
- 300g all-butter puff pastry sheets
- plain flour, for dusting
- 6 dessert apple (about 900g)
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 85g unsalted butter (soft)
- High-quality vanilla ice cream, to serve
- Make sure the sheets are 3mm-thick and lightly prick the sheets with a fork. Then wrap in cling film on a baking sheet and freeze while preparing the apples.
- Heat oven to 180C. Peel, quarter and core the apples. Put the sugar in a 20cm ovenproof heavy-based frying pan and place over a medium-high heat. Cook the sugar for 5-7 mins to a dark amber caramel syrup that’s starting to smoke, then turn off the heat and stir in the 60g butter.
- To assemble the Tarte Tatin, arrange the apple quarters very tightly in a circle around the edge of the dish first, rounded-side down, then fill in the middle in a similar fashion. Gently press with your hands to ensure there are no gaps. Brush the fruit with the melted butter.
- Bake in the oven for 30 mins, then remove and place the disc of frozen puff pastry on top – it will quickly defrost. Tuck the edges down the inside of the dish and, with a knife, prick a few holes in the pastry to allow steam to escape. Bake for a further 40-45 mins until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
- Allow to cool to room temperature for 1 hr before running a knife around the edge of the dish and inverting it onto a large serving plate that is deep enough to contain the juices. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Classic French Creme Brulee
This classic crème brûlée recipe from sbs.com is an easy French ski dessert to make when impressing friends.
For me, it’s all about getting the crisp burnt sugar crust right, so when you dig that teaspoon in, it offloads that satisfying crunch!
- 300ml pure cream
- 200ml milk
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthways, seeds scraped
- 100g egg yolks (from 5 eggs)
- 70g caster sugar
- 30g demerara sugar
- Preheat oven to 130°C.
- Place the cream, milk and vanilla seeds in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and remove from heat.
- Quickly whisk together the yolks and caster sugar in a large bowl until just combined. Pour the hot cream mixture over the top and whisk again until combined. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve then pour into four 180 ml ramekins.
- Cover with foil and bake the brûlées in a bain-marie for 60 minutes or until set but with a slight wobble. Remove and rest for 20 minutes at room temperature before refrigerating for 4 hours or until cold.
- To serve, sprinkle each brûlée with demerara sugar and caramelise using a blowtorch.
Now for some twists on some classic French mountain dishes
Easy to follow along videos that will definitely bring deliciousness into your kitchen and a little bit of the mountains as well.
I don’t think I’ve ever been on a ski holiday without a craving for a mountainside carbonara at some point along the way. Here’s one with a little twist to give the kitchen staple a fresh lease of life (as if it needs one).
And best of all, with MOB kitchen it all comes in for under a tenner.
Ham and Cheese pull-apart bread
The charcuterie boards in the French Alps are high up among my favourites when it comes to simple deliciousness. This recipe mixes the delights of all that melted French cheese and cured meats. I can’t help but think it misses a trick by using a crusty French baguette some tasty reblochon cheese and cured meats instead of plain old ham. But that’s just me.
Maybe give it a go and try it for yourself.
That’s the end of my French ski food lunch menu; now it’s time to quench your thirst with a drink or two.
I hope you have become a little wiser with my personal experience in French ski food.
If you fancy checking out some not-to-miss dishes from across the Alps have a look at our Traditional ski food you must try blog.
For great ski accommodation in France, I would recommend speaking to a Powder White Ski Holiday expert who will help you find the ideal ski holiday destination… and the best restaurants around!