Tartiflette, or Potato, Cheese and Bacon Gratin

Recipes for certain dishes I am particularly fond of were posted when my blog was read mainly by my family, friends and hardly any food bloggers. Sometimes I think it would be a good idea to dig them out, especially those which appear frequently on my table. When a couple of weeks ago Charles, from Five Euro Food, told me he hadn’t baked or tasted tartiflette yet, I have decided to share again with him and with all my blogging friends this recipe for one of my favourite dinners, ideal for chilly Autumn and Winter evenings.

The name “tartiflette” comes from the word “tartifla”, meaning “potato” in the dialect from Savoy, an Alps French region. This dish has quite a short, but a very intensive history. In fact, instead of being a traditional recipe transferred through generations of mountain dwellers (like many Frenchmen and foreigners believe), it was cleverly created in the 80s in order to promote reblochon, a soft washed-rind aged cheese from Savoy. Actually, even the Savoy inhabitants have now accepted the tartiflette as a part of their culinary heritage.

Luckily, not the history, but the taste is here of course the crucial point, and tartiflette can only be described as irresistible. Several layers of sliced potatoes covered with fried bacon and onions, topped with generous chunks of reblochon, everything baking in a sauce created by cream, white wine and melting cheese… (Have I mentioned the crusty cheese rind on the top?) I haven’t met yet anyone who doesn’t like it. At the same time it is incredibly easy and, if you already have cooked potatoes, it is also very quick. I remember I have based my recipe, reading several different ones found on internet, but basically it’s always more or less the same.

If you don’t live in France or in its proximity, the only problem might be getting the reblochon. I think that any other good quality, not industrially made, ripe, soft washed-rind cheese is worth giving a try. (Oh, and if it’s very smelly, made with raw-milk and close to or past its expiration date, it would be perfect!) It will at least behave similarly in the oven, melting into the cream and wine mixture and producing a thick creamy sauce. Aprémont is a Savoy wine advised to use and drink with tartiflette, but any dry sturdy white wine can be used instead.

TIP: Drinking wine is almost obligatory here! It makes the dish feel lighter (I am not joking!).

Before I pass to the recipe, I would love to proudly announce that I have just received a Versatile Blogger Award from Karen, the author of Back Road Journal. I am flattered and honoured! Saying 7 random things about oneself is the main rule of the Award. Since I have been nominated to this award some time ago (I didn’t know Karen at the time) and the random facts about me haven’t changed, I thought I would link to them (click here) for all those who haven’t read them and who are curious. Thank you so much Karen! I am very happy I have met you!

Special equipment:

individual baking dishes are not obligatory, but the result looks much better and it’s easier to serve

Preparation: 1 hour

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

1 whole  big reblochon cheese (about 450g) or another good quality, ripe, soft washed-rind cheese

1kg big potatoes

150 ml cream

200 g smoked bacon in small cubes

2 big onions

20 cl Aprémont or another strong white dry wine

salt, pepper

oil for frying

Cook the potatoes. Let them cool down a bit, peel them and slice them thinly.

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Chop the onions and the bacon. Fry them both (together or separately) until the bacon is a bit crunchy and the onion has softened.

In individual baking dishes (or a big one if you don’t have those) put a layer of sliced potatoes, cover with the mixture of bacon and onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper and continue like this finishing with a potato layer (I usually make three potato layers and two bacon-onion ones).

Cut the reblochon in two parts, so that you obtain two thin circles, each covered with rind on one side.

Cut each thin circle in several big chunks and arrange them on top of the individual dishes, rind side up.

Pour the cream and the white wine on top of the gratin and bake it (about 20 minutes) until it is golden.

Serve it piping hot with a lightly seasoned green salad and white white, sturdy enough to support the strong taste of cheese and bacon.

60 Replies to “Tartiflette, or Potato, Cheese and Bacon Gratin”

  1. I discovered tartiflette last year when I was skiing in France. As I scrolled down to your picture my heart lifted, it hadn’t occurred to me to make it at home. Perhaps just as well for our waistlines, but oh so delicious. We have a mead washed soft local cheese here which I think would be perfect. GG

    1. This is really very easy to make and the melted cheese, cream and wine mix together to create a very special thick sauce. I’m sure any similarly textured good quality cheese will be great. Your local cheese sounds perfect. I prefer not to think about my waistline 😉 Let me know if you try it!

  2. Oh God, I love you Sissi – thank you posting this. I remember our conversation about this. I have had reblochon a few times since – some raclette (have you tried this?) and some savoyarde-style pizzas with potato and reblochon, but I can’t wait to make this for myself. Those savoy-people really know how to make an awesome cheese dish and I completely agree that alcohol is pretty much a “pre-req” for this dish. These types of dish can feel so heavy otherwise, especially towards the end when the food isn’t quite as hot anymore and it feels like you’re swallowing blocks of pure cheese which just sit there!

    It’s misty and very cold here right now – the perfect weather for something like this. By the way, do you know if you can eat reblochon “un-cooked”? I tried it once and it was absolutely disgusting… really not a good cheese when not in a molten puddle – the rind really makes it perfect when it’s all hot and runny too!

    Thanks for posting this. Looking forward to giving it a try. I need to make a fondue savoyarde sometime soon too! It’s certainly the season for it!

    1. Thank you, Charles, for such an enthusiastic comment and kind words! I am so happy you are pleased with this dug out recipe. I like raclette, but usually it’s with another cheese, a bit blander, but I like the whole raclette idea a lot. I totally agree with you: I know someone who is able to eat half a raw reblochon in one session, but personally I’m not a fan. However, once melted and warmed, reblochon is heavenly (and the crunchy rind is the best!). I hope you will make it soon. It’s very easy and if you don’t find aprémont (I saw it at Monoprix in Savoy, but maybe it’s different in Paris area…), you can take any dry, crisp wine (but rather on the tangy side, not fruity or “gras”).

  3. This sounds glorious! I have never tried any soft rind cheese in my gratin, but I do love Brie, and Pierre Robert! My family tends to be “very American” in their tastes, so I can’t use anything too strong. But I LOVE the notion of using a soft rind cheese!

    Thank you Sissi. And I love the little history lesson. ( I am a closet dork hiding behind my sexy Italian look)


    1. Thank you, Jessica! I hope you do try making this one day. (The history is unfortunately very short here!).

  4. This looks absolutely wonderful Sissi! I have never heard of this dish, and certainly never tried the cheese you mentioned due to being lactose sensitive. Though this recipe sounds like something that’s definitely worth suffering a bit of stomach discomfort for, the golden crust and creamy sauce has got to be a delicious combination!

    1. Thank you, Jeno! I don’t remember if I have already told you, but most ripening cheese varieties contain very little lactose, for example, on average, soft ripening cheese contains apparently contains 0,2% lactose, while milk almost 5%. I also am lactose sensitive (can’t drink milk in coffee and feel bad after milk-based desserts, which I eat anyway 😉 ) and the only natural cheese that makes me feel bad is fresh cheese (and not always); apparently it has around 3% lactose. The worst are industrially produced cheese varieties, where they add milk or maybe cream at late stages… (For example the false cottage cheese).

  5. I have never heard of this. Sounds extremely delicious, a richer and more flavour packed version of the standard gratin. I made gratin just once and by mistake I used sour cream instead of regular cream. That was not pleasant, and the potatoes were not fully cooked either. I need to try again, and will surely include bacon. I see what you mean about wine lightening up the dish. It does sound quite rich, esp with 450 g of cheese, 150ml of cream and 200g of bacon for 2-3 persons.

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. I can imagine how sour cream can spoil a gratin… Do not forget onions! Wine is important in both dish and the glass. It evaporates I think in the dish, but the aroma stays. You bet, it’s a rich dish. I think it’s one of the richest I make, but it’s soooooo irresistible!

  6. Ooooo … this sounds evil! Evilly delicious! and with wine to boot! My kind of meal, rich, sinful and with tones of melty cheese AND bacon! I can just taste that rind … you’re killing me!

    1. I am happy you don’t find my picture – made at night with artificial light – not bad. I hate being forced to make night photos. It would look so much better during the day, but strangely I never crave this dish for lunch.

  7. I will have to stop looking at your blog Sissi! Lately I want to make everything you seem to post and this slows me down with going through my own recipes. hehe This looks soooooo delish its absolutely irresistable!

    1. Thank you, Zsuzsa for all the compliments. I appreciate a lot your approval and enthusiasm. Given your baking and cooking capacities, you could make 10 of my dishes in one day 😉

      1. Sissi, I made the tartiflette tonight for supper. It was amazing. I made a medium sized casserole and a small one for picture taking during the daylight hours. My husband wanted more and I had to let him have the small one too. I have no picture now and I will have to wait before I can post the recipe. until next time.

        1. Zsuzsa, you make me feel proud again. I’m very happy you have both liked tartiflette. Your never photographed daylight portion reminds me of my experience with certain, particularly aprpeciated dishes 😉 By the way, what cheese did you use? I’m very curious what substitute I can recommend to those who don’t have reblochon.

          1. I used brie. I realize it is not the same as reblochon, but it was still spectacular. In the last minute, I put out a little sauerkraut in a dish. I had to refill the dish twice, it went so well with the tartiflette. But you should have seen my husband’s reaction! What is THAT? – which was more of a statement than a question. Then he wanted more… twice. I will have to make it again. Jim just never asks for more food.

            1. This is what I would have probably chosen too. Brie has a soft texture and a slightly tougher rind, but soft enough to be eaten. Sauerkraut sounds like an excellent idea. I was just thinking this week of making a dish with sauerkraut. December is usually the sauerkraut month. I’m really thrilled to learn your husband liked it so much!

  8. Hi Sissi, I’m glad you brought this one out again – the weather in Sydney has been a bit of hot and cold and with rain forecasted for today I think I might whip this up to go with some organic sausages and a tomato salad tonight.

    1. Thank you, Martyna. It’s funny: I also have had a tomato salad tonight. I imagine that “cold” doesn’t mean the same in Australia 😉

  9. It a good thing I know more than a few people who work in the cheese business in the State. I’ll que them about procuring some reblochon to make this dish. Sounds great!

  10. Now you have done it. That recipe will definitely put some pounds on because I don’t think my husband and I can eat just a small portion. We both absolutely love reblochon. When we have a cheese course, we always tell the waiter that we like cheeses that are strong and the stinkier the better.

    1. Thank you, Karen. A small portion is not an option here, for me too. When I taste it, I forget about pounds, kilos and gaining weight 🙂 I am happy you like (and know!) reblochon.

    1. Thank you again for this award. I was really honoured! I hope you didn’t mind the link instead of posting the seven facts again.

  11. Congrats on Versatile Blogger award! I have to make this recipe and share it with my dear friend who is from France. We help each other out by watching each others kids, we are always baking and sharing recipes. I bet she and her family will enjoy this one! Thanks!

  12. Hey Sissi, sorry for my late comment today. You know how much I love potatoes… Even though this is French food, I feel like this is comfort food for me… I’ve never heard of reblochon cheese but must be good cheese since you use it. 😉 My dad and I love this kind of food (we are the potato lovers)!

    1. Nami, I also am a potato fan. This is comfort food, indeed. All the people I know, not always French, love it, so I’m sure you would enjoy it.

    1. Thank you Giulia. I’m sorry, maybe you have to refresh the page? Maybe it was a short problem of my server? Actually now that I read your comment I have checked what I remember from somewehere: in Italy a very similar cheese is produced, it is called Rebruchon or Reblò alpino!

  13. Hi Sissi, I know exactly what you mean about wanting to resuscitate some of the favourite recipes that were posted when our blogs were just getting going… and I’m so glad you posted this recipe! What a creamy delight. For me, this is the ultimate comfort food – soft potato, delicious cheese, onion and red wine… it’s like readymade raclette ;0 – but the kicker in this case is the smoked bacon – OH MY…. De.Lightful!

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. I am happy apparently no one minds my seconds posts about the same dishes… but I think it’s such a pity I didn’t share it with you or other friendly bloggers at the time I posted it for the first time.

  14. That looks divine! I also appreciate the bit of history you give. I too like to know the story and it’s always nice to read the history about anything. I will have to make this minus a few things, since I don’t drink or eat pork, I’ll just use extra smelly cheese to compensate 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! The history was actually very disappointing for me. I was almost sure it was a dish as old as several centuries 😉 Maybe you could put some smoked tofu instead? It smells like bacon. Thank you for visiting my blog!

  15. This is new to me and I’m so glad you give a bit of background to the dish. And I’m glad you’ve reposted this as we do miss out of so many past wonderful dishes!! I’m interested in trying this, I think my son and I would really like it!!

    1. Greg, you will laugh: I would say brie might be not heavy enough 😉 If you choose a ripe one, very close to the expiration date (or better past it, if it’s made with raw milk), it will be great. The texture is similar and the crust different, but edible, which is a good thing. I wish you lived closer… I would send you a big reblochon to make you see how “heavy” it is. I would love to know how it tastes with brie! The great news here is that you have to drink the wine you have put into the recipe. Otherwise the meal isn’t complete.

    1. Thank you. I think you can use any soft ripening cheese (I don’t really know Spanish cheese varieties apart from manchego, so I cannot advise you).

  16. This looks wonderfully rich and filling. Not something I need at this time of year with all the cookies and desserts around. Maybe in February. 🙂

    1. Thank you! You bet it’s rich! I think it’s the heaviest dish I make (but also one of my favourite when cold days come).

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