Top 7 local mountain dishes


One of the benefits of a few hours skiing is the healthy appetite that you tend to work up. Any regular skier knows that such an energetic activity is going to require a pit stop, sooner or later. When you start to wilt a little, thoughts turn to where to pull up for lunch. A tasty treat or two goes a long way to filling the tank for the second half. The tasty treats below will ensure your tyres are pumped and your tank is full to enable you to fill the remaining time before apres ski. Below are seven of the best refuelling options. All hearty fare, I recommend trying each one at least seven times before settling on your own favourite.

1. Tartiflette

Tartiflette was a stroke of culinary genius from the Haute-Savoie. Thinly sliced potatoes layered with smoky lardons, caramelised onions and the finest melted Reblochon cheese. The name derives from the Savoyard word for potatoes, tartifles, a term also found in Provençal.

As with many traditional dishes in the region, the potato is a staple ingredient. Savoy was historically part of the Roman Empire and was exposed to potato tubers earlier than other regions of France. The Savoyards first heard of tartiflette when it began to appear on the menus of restaurants in the ski stations, conveying an image of authenticity and mountain terroir, the characteristic taste and flavour imparted to a dish by the environment in which it is produced

2. Raclette

Raclette is a semi-hard cheese that is usually fashioned into a wheel of about 6 kg (13 lb). The Alpine cow milk based dairy product is most commonly used for melting but is also consumed as a slice.

Raclette is a Swiss dish, also very popular in Savoie, France. Raclette was traditionally eaten by Swiss cow herders around the camp fire. Scraped onto bread, it provided a hearty meal after a long day of herding in the alpine meadows. Today, scrape it onto potatoes and dried meats for a long day of skiing.

3. Fondue

Fondue is a Swiss melted cheese served in a communal pot over a portable stove heated with a candle or spirit lamp and eaten by dipping bread into the cheese using long-stemmed forks.

It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheers Union in the 1930s, and was popularized in North America in the 1960s. Personally, I recommend a fondue blend of Gruyère  and Vacherin Fribourgeois. Fondue is often served with a variety of meats also.

4. Rösti

One of the most iconic dishes of a Swiss skiing holiday and rightly so. Who couldn’t be persuaded by thinly grated potatoes, pan fried until golden and crispy?

Choose between a topping of fried egg, salty bacon or melted raclette cheese for the ultimate rösti.  Rösti was originally a breakfast dish, commonly eaten by farmers in the canton of Bern but is now eaten all over Switzerland and around the world. The French name röstis bernois makes direct reference to the origins of the dish.

5. Käsespätzle

Soft fresh egg pasta, onions and Emmental, Käsespätzle is Austria’s equivalent of Italy’s macaroni cheese.

If you are yet to indulge in one of the Alps’ greatest comfort foods, this needs to be on the bucket list for your next pit stop on the piste.

6. Goulash

A steaming bowl of goulash could well be waiting for you, the thought of that alone is enough for you to get a wiggle on and get to the outdoor terrace.

What could be better, this hearty dish with views to die for. Originally a staple Hungarian stew of beef and potato for hungry shepherds, they could never in their wildest dreams have ever imagined that it could become a staple for snow lovers across the Alps.

7. Apfelstrudel

So, are you up for dessert? I should jolly well say so. This yummy delight is a perfect accompaniment to all the above.

second helpings are a distinct possibility! So, are you ready for the afternoon session? With this quality refuelling I think you’ll be sustained all the way to apres ski and beyond.

Danny Frith is Director at SkiBoutique. SkiBoutique is a luxury ski chalet agency based in Switzerland.

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Comments (6)

  1. Liz says:

    It’s a mark of the strength of some of these great dishes that they have branched out from their original roots in the mountains. Dishes like goulash and apple strudel are now worldwide favourites across the planet.

  2. Caroline Bartlett says:

    Like many great dishes Tartiflette probably started out as a peasant food.its made up of very simple ingredients transformed into something far grander with some culinary inspiration.

  3. Leonardo P. says:

    Of all the dishes mentioned here I’ve had the pleasure of tasting goulash and apple strudel. it would be interesting to see how different these dishes would be in the places they originated from. And of course, the original cheese fondue has been introduced to the world as the dessert table staple, chocolate fondue or chocolate fountain.

  4. Alex says:

    It is such a pity that fondue has dropped out of fashion a bit. I love fondue and I can remember fondue restaurants opening up. I was a bit of an addict for the desserts, healthy fruit smothered in rich white chocolate. I even had a fondue in my cramped rented flat until I took the bowl off the flame and scorched the eaves up above my landlord was not impressed.

    I know Fondue is seen as a bit of a 1980s thing but it would be brilliant if it made a comeback.

  5. Dania White says:

    These dishes are full of cheese and I love it! Raclette is one of my favorite types of cheese and I love it when they melt it in the fireside and smothers it in potato and vegetables. Cheese fondue is also very delicious but you can really find it in many places and they all very much taste the same. I have yet to try the other mountain dishes and I hope it’s soon because I am literally drooling right now.

  6. Amy Herbert says:

    I would highly recommend fondue. Okay, so it’s not quite the same but we had this fancy fondue thing, heavy cast iron that my brother bought over for Christmas. Melted cheese, baguette bread and bread sticks. Loved twirling the dipping bread into the melted cheese, and it was less messy than I’d anticipated. Heavenly, but we all had cheese hangovers the next day!

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