Recently, Mr. Cheesemonger and I took a vacation to Vancouver to visit with friends. They told us about a cheese shop that had recently opened, Benton Brothers Fine Cheese. This was my chance to have a Canadian-themed cheese tasting. So off we went to Benton Brothers. There, I met co-owner Andrew Benton, and he had us taste some great local cheeses, including Blossom’s Blue, a wonderful cow’s milk (blue) cheese made by Moonstruck Organic Cheese Co. We also fell in love with Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar from Prince Edward Island. Then, we fell upon the Gaulois de Portneuf (Gasp! Raw milk, aged for fewer than 60 days!), a Canadian version of Reblochon, Andrew said. The two French guys in our party said, “Yeah!” and that was that. We ended up buying pieces of all of them.
Later that evening, as we contemplated what to have for dinner, the “boys” decided that they wanted to make a tartiflette. Being from Normandy, France, the French capital of dairy, our tartiflette had to meet their standards. Here’s their recipe:
1kg of potatoes, peeled, boiled
2 medium yellow onions, diced
A lot of bacon—I think the boys put half a pound in
1 cup crème fraîche
As much Gaulois de Portneuf as we could afford
Salt and pepper to taste
We preheated the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. The boys went about peeling and boiling the potatoes. While the potatoes were boiling, they browned the bacon, and the onions as well (separately). After the potatoes were soft enough to run through with a fork (but not so soft that they were falling apart!), we dumped the onions, bacon, and potatoes in a casserole dish, mixed in the crème fraîche, added some salt and pepper, and topped the whole mixture with the Gaulois de Portneuf.
We replaced the casserole lid, and put the whole thing in the oven for about 30 minutes. Then, we opened the lid and baked the tartiflette some more so that a crust would develop on top. When the top was (relatively) golden brown (we were hungry!), the whole thing was ready to eat!
To balance this hearty mass on our plates, we served a salad composed of mizuna and other mixed greens, with allium flowers.
It was a good first evening in Vancouver.