A slightly belated Love to Dine Dish of the Month for February is going to be a little bit different from my normal monthly posts, but will allow me first of all to explain why it’s rather tardy and secondly to talk about a pet subject of mine: French food – and how the attitude of the French towards food differs from that of the British. Apologies in advance for any sweeping generalisations – I’m referring only to the majority in either country, and I appreciate there are always exceptions to every rule.
The reason this post is late is because I’ve just come back from a skiing holiday in France with a friend (we went to Morzine in Les Portes du Soleil, for any fellow snowsports lovers who are interested!) We stayed in a very pleasant but fairly standard three star skiing hotel, and – unusually for me – the holiday wasn’t about the food. I don’t think any of our fellow guests would have said they were there for the food, but…the food, for what it was, and for what we paid, was absolutely excellent.
Every night, there was a buffet, with a selection of salads, charcuterie meats, seafood and soup to start, then a choice of a joint of meat that was served carvery style, various pasta dishes, or grilled meat and fish cooked to order on a hot plate, plus a range of vegetables and potatoes including local specialities like tartiflette. To finish, there was a selection of desserts and patisserie, all beautifully presented, and – my dish of the month – an amazing selection of regional cheeses (which were also available at breakfast, should you not have had your fill of fromage the night before!) I could wax lyrical for ages about the different cheese on offer, which included local Reblochon and Tomme, but I think the photo speaks for itself.
The thing that impressed me most was that this was basic food – but it was good basic food! I just don’t think that the French, as a nation, accept poor quality food in the way that we do in the UK. I had a couple of excellent steaks cooked to order, and a fantastic fillet of beef one night, and my friend had a grilled salmon steak that was one of the best she’d ever had. It was good, straightforward food, done well – and most of our fellow (French) guests wouldn’t have expected anything else. People seemed to eat it in moderation as well. I’m often put off by people piling plates unnecessary high with weird combinations of food in buffets in the UK but there didn’t seem to be any of that going on (I won’t mention how many desserts I tried on one particular night!)
I could use this post to talk about another of my pet subjects: badly behaved children in restaurants. Needless to say, there weren’t any – but that’s for another day. All I will say is that my friend was reading an excellent book called French Children Don’t Throw Food while we were away, which she has now passed on to me, and which I highly recommend to parents and non-parents alike!
You can view previous Love to Dine Dish of the Month posts here.