On Sunday 29th December I departed Trinidad and Tobago to attend the Global Landscapes Forum’s Youth in Landscapes Initiative in Paris carded for 1st – 7th December 2015. This event was my second international travel opportunity but my first trip to Paris, France. On arrival, I secured my luggage and immediately sort to acquaint myself with the atmosphere of the conference, making preparations to contribute as much as possible to the team. While most attendees were solely focused on networking, I was dual minded; both networking and satisfying my foodie cravings by searching for the best French restaurants. I was keenly interested in the composition of the everyday French breakfast table. At the end of the conference, I had three extra days of stay in the country.
This opportunity turned out to be my silver lining to explore more places in France. A colleague arranged a homestay in Mairie d’ Ivry with a relative. After the long train ride from Paris, coupled with missing my family, significant other and being physically and mentally drained from the conference activities, I felt more like going home than to a stranger’s house. But on arriving at my destination, I was greeted by lots of hugs, kisses and the smell of something delicious coming from the kitchen. In anticipation of my arrival the couple with whom I would be lodging decided to make a traditional French recipe; Tartiflette. That night I had my first traditional French meal and was made to feel the warmth of a family. For the next three days, I learnt more about French traditions and heritage, which could only have been experienced, not learnt from a guide book. Now, whenever I think of France, I reflect on the GLF, friendship, hugs and Tartiflette.
Want to learn how to make Tartiflette? Read on:
Serves 6 – 8 persons
Serves 6 – 8 persons
3 lbs. of potatoes, cooked with skin on, in salt water
2 medium sized onions, sliced thinly
2 tbsp. of extra virgin coconut oil
12 oz. slab of bacon; cut into 1-inch strips, approximately 1⁄2 inch thick
1⁄2 cup drinkable white wine
1 pound Reblochon cheese, or suitable substitute (I used a brie [Alouette] because Reblochon is not sold in Trinidad & Tobago)
Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Non-stick cooking spray
How to prepare this recipe
Cooking the potatoes:
1. On high heat, bring the water to boiling. Carefully add the potatoes and reduce the heat to a medium or low temperature. Cover the lid of the pan and leave to cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender all the way through.
Tip: Check tenderness of the potatoes by piercing them with a knife or fork, if it goes straight through without difficulty then the potatoes are ready.
2. Put the frying pan [skillet] on the stove at medium heat, then pour into it 2 tbsp. of extra virgin coconut oil.
3. To the hot oil, add the onions and cook until slightly caramelised. Add the bacon, cook until slightly crisp (5 to 8 minutes). Add the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
4. To pre-heat oven, turn it on to 375°C. Coat an oval 2 qt. Casserole dish with a non-stick cooking spray (I used Mazola – Extra Virgin Olive Oil).
5. Cut the potatoes into 1 inch thick slices, then place in a neat row in the casserole dish. Add bacon with the white wine sauce, then sprinkle with black pepper and salt. Repeat the second layer with the remaining bacon mixture and potatoes. Add slices of cheese on top. Bake until the top of the casserole is browned and the filling is bubbling (approximately 30 to 45 minutes).