Everybody knows the typical Savoyard winter dishes: tartiflette, raclette, cheese fondue etc. But do you know the Savoyard summer specialties? Here we share with you our Top 10 !
1 ▬ Le fromage, cheese. First of all, what would the mountains and the Savoy be without their cheeses? Cheese is our foremost delicacy all year round! It is produced locally in dairy cooperatives where the milk from different farms is combined. Turning milk into cheese requires different stages: pasteurization, coagulation, shaping, salting and finally, maturing. This know-how has been transmitted from generation to generation and the maturing process must allow the terroir to be expressed and the different flavours to develop. You can see cheeses being made and matured by visiting the Cimes de Morel dairy cooperative. You can also taste them in the Moûtiers dairy cooperative shop in Mussillon. Here you will find excellent cows’ cheese, such as Beaufort, which has a more or less pronounced taste depending on whether it is made in winter or summer, and one of the most typical: the Tomme de Savoie! If you prefer cheese with a lighter taste, try Abondance or Raclette. Goats’ cheese is also available; we especially like Chevrotin which is creamy and very soft... But of course the best thing is to taste them for yourself, because, as we say in French “chacun ses goûts” (everyone has his own preferences)!
2 ▬ Le saucisson, dried sausage. Cheese and dried sausage belong together: they form the basis of every Savoyard aperitif! The mountain climate provides perfect conditions for drying and storing charcuterie and gives it a unique flavour. Here in the Savoy, the know-how has been passed down through the generations, maintaining local craft traditions. The unmissable dried sausage is today available in many varieties: flavoured with Beaufort, wild garlic, Reblochon, fir, porcini, bilberries or even génépi…
3 ▬ Diot-polenta, diot sausages with polenta. PLet's move onto the main course, and for this we have chosen Diot sausages with polenta! The Diot is a typical Savoyard sausage which is served at all village festivals. There are different varieties: natural, pure pork, smoked, with cabbage or Beaufort... They are traditionally cooked with onion and white or red wine. We serve this with polenta, either plain, with cream or cut into rounds and pan-fried.
4 ▬ Champignons, mushrooms. NWe find a variety of mushrooms in Méribel. For example, in spring, we pick morels, in the summer, girolles and porcini mushrooms, and in autumn, chanterelles, hedgehog mushrooms, black trumpets and wood blueits. In the mountains, mushrooms appear early in the season due to the local climate and humidity. You can find them up to about 2,000m altitude. A wicker basket is the best receptacle for mushrooming because it allows the spores (the reproductive cells of the fungus) to spread. Of course, be very careful not to eat mushrooms that you cannot identify with certainty. But once you are sure of what you have picked up, you can prepare them in a hundred different way: in a salad, pan-fried, in omelettes etc.
5 ▬ Le Matafan. Matafan may be served as an accompaniment to all your dishes. It was originally a hearty potato pancake that farmers ate in the morning before going to work in the fields, which would sustain them until their next meal. Matafan exists today in varied forms: as a thick potato crepe, sweetened with russet apples, or garnished with vegetables.
6 ▬ Les Bugnes. For dessert, let's start with a culinary specialty of the Duchy of Savoy, bugnes. They are now found throughout the Rhône-Alpes region and were originally made for Mardi Gras. Bakeries still prepare them at this time of year. The Savoyard version, unlike those made in Lyon, are fine and crispy. These sweet delicacies are similar to French doughnuts, called beignets. Would you like the recipe for Méribel Bugnes? We'll share it with you!
7 ▬ Gâteau de Savoie, Savoy cake. CThis cake, which gives us the feeling of biting into a cloud, was invented in 1358 by the pastry chef of Amédée VI, Count of Savoy, who wanted to delight his guests with the lightest of cakes... One of the most emblematic in the region, the savoy cake has its fluffiness due to the incorporation of beaten egg whites mixed with a hint of citrus. Our advice? Soak it in your tea or coffee (to keep the French touch!).
8 ▬ Tarte aux myrtilles, bilberry pie. This is another traditional summer dessert in mountainous areas. Wild Bilberries grow on low shrubs between 600 and 1,600 meters altitude. They need acidic soils and sun. In addition to being delicious, bilberry pie is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins C and E and zinc – so why not enjoy some?
9 ▬ Foraging. Nature continually surprises us with her gifts... If you go for a walk in the forest near the Altiport, you may find wild rhubarb, which is excellent in pies or compotes. On your path you may be lucky enough to find wild strawberries, raspberries or red currants. Fir trees also have their surprises - you may not know that its shoots are edible. In spring, they can be used in jams, herbal teas or even in cakes... They must be picked when they are barely open and light green. And you can even collect the roots to make liqueurs such as "genziana".
10 ▬ Génépi. And finally, the unmissable digestive after a good meal is a little glass of génépi! Legend has it that this liqueur heals altitude sickness. A member of the Artemisia family which is typical of the Alps, génépi is found exclusively in the mountains above 2,000m altitude and near screes. By macerating it in alcohol and sugar, you obtain a liqueur that can be drunk as a digestive or as an aperitif, with or without ice. To make your own génépi, follow the rule of 40: 40 sprigs of génépi should macerate in 1 litre of alcohol with 40 lumps of sugar and be left for 40 days. But remember, it’s strictly forbidden to pick this plant in the Vanoise National Park.
This summary has acquainted you with the dishes and delicacies you shouldn’t miss this summer in Méribel! You can find them in the resort’s bakeries or shops selling local produce..