It’s February and many families choose this month to go on a ski holiday in their country or abroad, especially in renowned places like the French or Swiss Alps. But when it comes to truly having a wonderful time there, food also plays a part. Afterall, we all need to fill our bellies up after skiing, right? These European Alpian delicacies are perfect for children (and grown-ups) as they are cheesy, filling, comforting and absolutely delicious. Plus, they are dishes you can easily replicate at home as they only need a few basic ingredients each.
No 1: Gratin de Crozets. This is the French, more rich and sophisticated version of the famous Mac-and-Cheese as it involves a special square and thin pasta (made of buckwheat) called “crozets” and various French cheeses. Even though the cheese and pasta combo remains the same, this dish varies from village to village in France, especially when it comes to cheeses used and cooking method. A quite easy dish to do at home.
No 2: Tartiflette. This is an authentic French Savoyard dish made of a combo of bacon, cheese, onions and potatoes. The protagonist of this dish is the Reblochon cheese, a special soft-washed rind cheese made in French Alpian regions. This a must try if you are family with kids as everyone will love its rich and cheesy flavor which will get you and your kids warmed up after skiing. Some ski resorts in the Savoyard region serve this as a staple so no need to search much to find it.
No 3: Raclette. Raclette is a Swiss dish that took its name from the “Raclette cheese” which is a traditionally semi-hard Swiss cheese. “Racler” also means in French to scrape off, and this cheese dish is aimed at making those who eat it scape off the melted bits of cheese. The dish is actually a combo of cooked potatoes and semi-melted cheese you can put in top and scrape off. If you have kids around, this is a great sharing dish that’s easily eaten by everyone and typically served with gherkins and various cured meats.
No 4: Swiss Fondue. Fondue is a favorite party dish in France and Switzerland and is great for kids as they love to watch it melt and pour, before dipping in their favorite bread, veggie, or cured meat. The classic Fondue is made of a combo of French and Swiss cheeses like Gruyere, Reblochon, Comte and Emmental. Traditionally, you take a small piece of bread and dip it in, but if you drop it, custom says the next round of drinks will be on you. To do this at home, you will either need a fondue machine or a medium crock pot to melt all the cheeses. You can then cut small square pieces of bread e.g. baguette and pass each to a wooden skewer stick on the edges so you can easily dip it in without losing it.
No 5: Swiss Rosti.
Swiss Rosti is a Swiss dish made of grated potatoes that closely resemble a fritter. This is a dish that is usually cooked in a pan with a bit of oil and sometimes mixed with a bit of cheese, bacon, or herbs to add that extra kick of flavor. A great lunch dish that the kids will love due to its rich fritter texture and mouthwatering flavor.
And if your kids have a sweet tooth or fancy a dessert after indulging in these cheesy French and Swiss Alpine dishes, they can try out “Apfelstrudel” which is an Austrian/Swiss pastry dessert filled with apple pieces and lightly scented with lemon juice and cinnamon. This crusty and rich dessert will surely fill your kid’s bellies pleasantly, after eating a savory meal.