Saturday, 1 March 2008
One of the reasons I chose Plagne 1800 for our ski destination was a picture in the catalogue of a nice family eating a hot meal. This lodging included an option of having dinner and breakfast as part of the package, and I knew that after a day of panic-stricken skiing, I would want to belly up to a tasty meal without having to cook. After having had Tartiflette, a tasty potato, cheese and ham dish early in the week, I was hoping that a dinner choice would include Raclette at some point in our stay.
As I read the menu board our last evening, I was delighted to see Raclette aux trois fromages on the menu. This is one of those French traditions that hasn’t really caught on in the U.S. I was happy to have my whole family experience Raclette, because it was too hard for me to explain, and to truly appreciate the idea, it had to be tasted. The very friendly servers explained the procedure: get a plate, choose some thinly sliced meats and/or boiled potatoes (and perhaps pickles?), then approach the three offerings of raclette: raw milk, smoked and goat’s cheese. It was an interesting set up. The half rounds of cheese were placed under a heat source which toasted and melted the cheese. Enter the plate of meat and potatoes. The raclette is then angled toward the plate and the server scrapes off a layer of the tangy pungent almost liquid cheese that is nicely browned. I was so psyched, and had a bit of all the cheeses on my potatoes and charcuterie. It’s definitely not a quick way of serving a crowd. People waited in line with their hot potatoes, meat and gherkins, to be topped with the hot oozing cheese of their choice.
It was a wonderful way to end our happy week of skiing. I have to say I was a little choked up (and not because of all that cheese) at saying goodbye to the warm and friendly staff as well as some of the people we’d met. Another little something JP Sartre would have agreed to: Hell is meeting other people, growing to like them, and then saying goodbye, knowing you’ll probably never see them again.
Adieu les Alpes.