Alpine Cuisine on a Skiing Holiday in the Alps

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When skiing, you can incredibly burn up to a thousand calories every hour. Therefore, you need a lot of heavy food full of carbs and protein to refuel for the next session and warm your bones right through to the tips of your toes. Naturally, when you’re on a skiing holiday in the Alps, local Alpine delicacies vary drastically between France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy as each cuisine brings its own style and flavour- apart from the ubiquitous fondue! There’s often a lot of competition, rivalry and discussion between these proud culinary superpowers with an avalanche of national pride at stake. One may claim they invented a particular dish and get annoyed the strangers in the next valley are now doing it slightly differently. Some folks in the same country may disagree completely too, with next door neighbours waving their rolling pins and wildly arguing over exactly how to prepare the traditional dish so beloved by them and their families for generations. It’s a sticky, stodgy subject and easy to get burnt, but one thing’s for sure, you’ll never be short on choice whichever country you’re hitting the pistes in. Here’s a roundup of some classic regional dishes to look out for in each Alpine country.

France

Tartiflette

A French potato bake that is the Alpine version of Lancashire Hotpot, thinly cut potatoes, onions, gherkin, cheese and salted ham are all baked to crispy perfection.

Crozets (Croziflette)

The pasta bake version of Tartiflette. Little pasta shells replace the potatoes for a slightly lighter but just as delicious pot of goodness.

Diots

When you think French food you may not think ‘sausages’ but add some white wine sauce and you’ve got the most French and filling bangers ever to warm you up.

Italy

Polenta

This corn maize dish can be eaten like a creamy soup or left to dry and cut into slices. While a variety of sweetness, creaminess and consistencies are interpreted across the Alps, Polenta is great comfort food.

Grande Gnocchi

Big Gnocchi are perfect for when you’re cold and tired as good old-fashioned stodge with a bit of elevation. What’s better than gnocchi? Big gnocchi!

Carbonade

Named after the darkness of the gravy, this is a hearty pot stew of slow cooked beef in red wine and spices. A French sister dish is also popular over the border but cooked in beer.

Austria

Käsespätzle

Thick pasta noodles deliciously fried with salted ham, mushroom and onions. It’s simple but so deliciously moreish, you’ll be hunting the hills for bread to mop the pan clean.

Tiroler Gröstl

Basically an Austrian fry up traditionally made from whatever was left over from yesterday. Potatoes, fried eggs, ham and the like are piled up high for you to dive into.

Goulash Soup

Although originally Hungarian, Goulash made its way around the old Austro-Hungarian empire to become a popular warming meal in the Austrian Alps. The deliciously soft beef and slightly tangy onion and peppers make it a favourite.

Switzerland

Flour soup

Butter, onions and red wine with some beef and cheese on top make this a simple yet tasty dish to warm your bones. A popular hangover cure, this soup even has its own festival!

Rosti

About as simple as food can be. Grated potato is made into a cake and then fried. There are many arguments about the exact way to do it. Do you peel them first? Do you parboil? What’s for definite though is to stick a fried egg on top and there’s no discussion that Rosti is amazing.

Raclette

The dish comes from the name of the great big wheel of cheese. Nowadays, it’s grilled under a fancy bit of kitchen tech with hams, veg, potatoes and bread to drizzle the melting cheese on top of. If you want a quick fix, though, you can surely find a different and much more fun way to blast the cheese.

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