Haute-Savoie Cuisine and Wine

Regional cheeses, Haute Savoie, Rhone Alps, France

In a country boasting over 246 types of cheese, the Alpine region of Haute Savoie makes an important contribution. The milk from white headed Abondance and golden Tarines cows gives AOC varieties their distinctive flavour, like Abondance (a hard cheese from the Chablais area), and softer Reblochon fermier from around Le Grand-Bornard and La Clusaz in the Aravis range. Tomme mountain cheeses are also made from goat’s or sheep’s milk.
Warming food is a favourite in snowy weather, like diot herb sausages or farcon – grated potatoes, dried fruits and cabbage baked in a tin lined with bacon. Even cheese is served warm. Traditionally, shepherds heated raclette by their fire and scraped it onto bread. Restaurants serve it over a variety of dishes especially little potatoes, vegetables and charcuterie. Fondue is a traditional delicacy made with dry white wine heated in a pan rubbed with garlic. Grated Gruyere cheese and kirsch are added and the mix eaten straight from the pot on cubes of dried bread on long forks. Try it with a glass of dry white Savoyard wine such as Crepy from the south shore of Lac Leman (Geneva) or a still wine from Sessel beside the Rhone.

Ham, smoked and salted meats and other charcuterie are good here and fresh lake fish like trout and perch are popular choices in restaurants around Lac Leman (Geneva). For dessert indulge in tasty fruit tarts and cakes, including the famous Gateau de Savoie. Mountain liqueurs like chartreuse are often used to flavour puddings. Mountain honey is delicious and most towns have excellent patissiers and chocolatiers.

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