September 29, 2009

Eating sans gluten in the land of pastries!!

I have been in Briancon, France for almost a week now and am finally all settled in! I arrived here without too many problems other than smiley getting a bit sick on the plane and having massive amounts of luggage to cart around at the end of the journey. Actually it is rather funny now that it is past the fact, but I had a ski bag, a huge suitcase, a carry on suitcase, a huge purse, and the biggest dog kennel ever. So here is little me pushing one cart, pulling another, and walking smiley through customs. I kid you not, not one person offered to help until I was basically through customs! I was pretty surprised, as I was in Turin, Italy! But apparently the Italian men aren't as eager to help a girl in distress in that part of the country!!

Besides that, I haven't had too hard of a time eating gluten free. They seem to have the same sort of selection as Italy and Austria did. You can find most gluten free items in bio stores and can order all sorts of things from the pharmacy here. But I do have to admit I did bring a BUNCH of items from home (flours, mixes, etc.) The grocery stores here are HUGE compared to the two tiny one room grocery stores that inhabited Pontebba last year. My first trip to the grocery store was exciting, as they had a huge selection of fruits, veggies, meats, etc. And I must mention that well their cheese section seriously takes up at least a quarter of the store. Upon walking into the grocery store you are literally hit with a wall of unpasteurized cheese smell. Now I love a good cheese, but wow I don't even want to touch some of the cheeses here with a poll they smell so bad! The other funny thing about the grocery store is all the French people walking around with baguettes under their arms. I had to stifle a giggle the first time I saw that, and the second and third time as well! It is something that you stereotype about France, but you really think it is just talk! However, the French people do love to walk nonchalantly down the street complete with a baguette under the arm! I just want to run over and stick a huge black beret on them!

The second night I was FP made a traditional French Alps meal called tartiflette. Yes, it is a tongue twister to say that as well! This meal is probably the fattiest thing I have ever eaten, well besides raclette. It is a delicious mixture of potatoes, cream, onion, bacon, and them smothered in cheese. It kind of reminds me of some sort of ridiculously fatty potatoes au gratin, although a bit tastier! So if you are in the mood for a good traditional French Alps meal of tartiflette, make sure you climb a mountain before so you don't feel guilty after indulging in this rich treat!


1-2 lbs chopped potatoes
1 onion
1\2 lb chopped pieces of bacon (aka lardon in French!)
500g heavy cream (or to your liking)
300-500g reblochon (special cheese of the alps, if you do not have this I am sure you can use brie or some other kind of cheese with a bit of a kick)

Boil potatoes until they are starting to soften, but still have a bit of a crispiness to them. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While, the potatoes boil, saute the bacon and onion together until done. Strain potatoes and pour them into a big casserole dish, add bacon and onion. Pour cream over top and mix throughout. Then cover with cheese on top. Bake in the oven until the cheese melts and becomes a bit brown on the very top. Accompany with a salad as the French do, so you don't feel too bad about yourself! Bon Apetit!