Last weekend, Kurt and I taught a class on mountain cheeses, featuring classics like Gruyère and Comté. We also talked about Reblochon, the pungent, creamy cheese traditionally used to make tartiflette, a hearty Savoyard dish of potatoes, bacon and cheese that we also served at the class.
Reblochon comes from the French word “reblocher,” which means “to milk again.” Farmers from the Savoie region of France were once taxed on how much milk they produced, and to fool the taxman, they often would act as though they were done milking even though their cows weren’t completely dry. The taxman would leave, and the farmers would “re-milk” their cows, using the little bit left to make small cheeses for their families.
Because of federal importing rules, real Reblochon is next to impossible to find in the U.S. But you can still make tartiflette using cheeses such as Préféré de nos Montagnes (a French cow’s milk that we carry in our Cambridge store), Manigodine (made in the style of Reblochon), Sennefladä (a pungent Swiss cow’s milk), or for something a little more daring, U Bel Fiuritu (a Corsican sheep’s milk cheese).
2 lbs. potatoes
1/2 lb. cubed, smoked bacon
1 Reblochon (or similar style) cheese, sliced in half crosswise
2 tbs. crème fraîche or heavy cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel potatoes and boil in salted water until cooked through. When finished, drain and cut in thick slices.
Sauté the bacon until cooked through, but not crisp, then add the onions and sauté until softened.
Cover the bottom of a gratin dish with slices of potatoes, then with a layer of the onions and bacon. Repeat layers. Add the cream, pour the wine over and cover with the halved Reblochon, rind on top.
Put in the oven and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees and cook about 15 minutes more, until the Reblochon is melted and golden.
Adapted from Chez Loulou (http://chezlouloufrance.blogspot.com/)