Thursday, January 18, 2018

Finding "La Tartiflette" Dinner in Val Cenis, French Alps

Oh wow, the time has passed by so quickly. We are almost one week here in the French Alps and the winter sports holiday is almost coming to an end.

We are enjoying the holiday very much and I will be posting more stories about our experiences and pictures of this low key and excellent powder piste ski resort.

On a holiday like this, Dutchman and I normally eat our dinners at our chalet, for the most evenings. The chalet aparthotel we stayed at has a partnership with the nearest bakery and a couple of the local restaurants where you can order your lunch and dinner and they deliver the food right at your doorstep. This is a great service when you are not in the mood to go out and eat dinner after a long and tiring day of skiing and boarding in the mountains.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

However, for the Dutchman and I, we normally do our own self-catering but we also like to go out and eat in a restaurant on some nights.

We usually first have some drinks and a little something to eat after skiing and boarding at the chalet, then we go to the spa and afterward dress up for dinner. I bought the dried sausage and cheese at the local supermarket here called Sherpa.

Last Monday evening, we decided to eat out. I was craving for the local dish called "La Tartiflette". It's a very hearty and home-style kind of alpine dish with lots of potatoes and cheese, and bits of bacon or ham.

The restaurant we had in mind was the restaurant near the cable lift we saw on our first-day walk in town from our chalet in Les Champs to Lanslevillard. So after a nice spa time at the chalet's wellness, we walked to the restaurant, passing a different route this time to give us more bearings around the village. You see, we are staying in between two ski villages, Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard. As we approached our restaurant destination, we noticed that building is dark and everything around it. It took us a moment to realise that the restaurant is closed... and that, it is, well, a Monday.

Many restaurants close their kitchens on Mondays. *Sigh*

We are a bit perplexed. In a small village in the mountains where the tourism season is a short 5 months with 2 months as peak months, we really wondered how these establishments can afford to close a night off during winter sports season. 2 months peak season is not a lot of time to to make a very decent turnover unless the alpine tourism sector in France gets something in return from the government in the form of subsidies and cutbacks (?).

Nevertheless, I remembered a restaurant nearby in Les Champs where we were staying called La Peau de Vache. It was open when we passed by. So we walked back, feeling a bit relieved that we have someplace else to go. My only worry now is my La Tartiflette craving. But knowing the restaurants in the Alps, they will mostly have the dish on their menu. It is a local specialty, together with Fondue and Raclette that are restaurant menu mainstays.

A very much cow themed restaurant.

When we entered the restaurant, the young man asked us purposely if we have a reservation. Since we always book our winter sports holiday during the low season, we never reserve our dinner outs at restaurants. Dutchman, the ever-scenic, mumbles under his breath why we are confronted with this unnecessary question when more than half of the tables in the restaurant were empty. He, later on, after dinner, reiterated that nobody else came after us so what the heck was that asking a reservation for? He cannot let it go! LOL. I told him, this is France, my dear, maybe they have that in their script.

Anyway, we were quickly showed to our table, so that's a plus point. Since there were not many diners, we proactively chose our table and decided to sit beside each other. There was a couple on to our right and on to our left is a large group of 10. The third set of diners were us. It was a very quiet Monday evening, I guess

True enough to my suspicions, the restaurant has "La Tartiflette" on the menu! Dutchman, on the other hand, ordered a special burger from the house called "Le Val burger".

We did not have to wait long for the food and to our surprise, both dishes were presented very nicely. My La Tartiflette came with a tasty green salad and the Dutchman's special burger with also a green salad and some fries.

"La Tartiflette" with bacon bits.

The "Le Val" burger.

The La Tartiflette was very good, although I did not finish the potatoes because it was already too much carbohydrate in my diet for the evening. You know I am getting old, almost 50, so I need to be mindful. I really liked that they only sprinkled a little bit of dressing on the green salad. I mainly eat my green salads raw without dressing these days but do not mind having a little bit to taste. The Dutchman was quite pleased with his dinner, he wiped his large plate clean.

We did not order dessert, instead, we had coffee, an espresso (cafe) for moi and a cappuccino for the Dutchman.

The owner (we thought he was) of the restaurant came over to our table to ask how we are enjoying our dinner. He later came back offering the local (strong) alcohol called "Genepi". I am very familiar with this alcohol, having been a regular of the French Alps. I even have a few bottles at home, one still unopened. Dutchman was not keen, but I wouldn't miss a free shot =)

We have to give it to La Peau de Vache. This was a very nice (unexpected) dinner.

Moi and my "Genepi" drink.

Moreover, the restaurant's interior was also very interesting, quite catchy in fact.

La Peau de Vache (French) means "cowhide" and you can very much tell that in the interior design and decoration, without having to do much guesswork really that the name of the restaurant does have something to do with cows or cowhide.

There were cowhides everywhere, on the tables as plaids, as placemats and as table runners. They are on the chairs as well and hanged on the walls. The napkins even have pictures of cows on them! Now that is detail, people. This is definitely not a place for vegetarians, even if they are only ordering fondue, haha.

It is all about the cow at this restaurant. La Peau de Vache (restaurant's name) means "cowhide".

TIP: La Peau de Vache in Les Champs is your reliable restaurant to go to on Monday evenings and even if when there is a snowstorm! The restaurant also has a Brasserie in Lanslevillard. Both establishments are open every day, no matter what weather =)

It started snowing when we left the restaurant, so here is a picture of moi in the snow:

A bientot! In my next blog post =)

Travel Period: January 2018
Destination: Les Champs - Val Cenis ski resort, Haute-Maurriene (Savoie, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes), France

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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