Born & raised in New England where winter is synonymous with snow, I have a hard time dealing with these lame, grey Parisian winters.
I know, I know… I’ve mentioned this before. But it’s a real issue for me! I pretty much spend December-February complaining to my husband and pining for the bright Boston mornings when I’d wake up to a fresh blanket of snow & the sun sparkling off giant snow banks…
But one thing I can say about winters in Paris, the French have AMAZING “winter food”. Pot-au-feu, tartiflette, fondu … I basically eat my way through the winter here.
There’s nothing like a pleasant evening with good food, good wine, & good company to lift your spirits and make you forget the crappy weather outside.
One of my absolute FAVORITE winter meals is raclette. Raclette is actually a Swiss dish consisting of melted cheese that you pour over potatoes, veggies, or slices of meat. YUM! (I know – it’s the farthest thing from Paleo but I’ve never been one to follow any diet strictly).
Lucky for me, my husband came with a raclette machine so most of the time we have raclette dinner parties at our house or at our friends’ place.
But for those of you who don’t have a raclette machine, there’s still a way for you to try this delicious winter meal!
Le Chalet Savoyard, located in Paris’s 11th arrondissement, is a cozy little restaurant that serves raclette as well as several other famous French cheese dishes (fondu, tartiflette, etc).
To get another cheese fix before winter’s end, my friends and I decided to have our girls’ night here during the last week of February.
As you can imagine, the restaurant has an underlying cheesy smell when you first walk in – but I didn’t find it overbearing and after a few minutes I didn’t even notice it anymore. When I arrived at 7:30pm, there were only 2 other tables seated besides my own, but by 8pm the place was full and filled with festive, happy chatter. To enjoy a raclette, at least 2 people at the table have to order it. Ieva is another big raclette fan so we went in on the dish together and chose the basic raclette cheese “au lait cru” (although Ieva also recommends “Morbier” which has a bit of
blue cheese ash in the middle).
Rather than using a modern raclette grill which takes up a lot of space on the table, Le Chalet Savoyard uses old fashioned raclette machines that consist of a cheese holder where they place a half a cheese wheel, and a heating lamp that sits above the exposed cheese to melt it.
Ieva and I piled the cheese on top of our “charcuterie” and baked potatoes and relished in the filling, feel-good winter food. To go with the meal, Ieva ordered white wine & I continued to sip on my porto that I had ordered as an aperitif. For dessert? A delicious “mi-cuit tout chocolat.”
So my final verdict? Le Chalet Savoyard is a restaurant with a great menu, a warm ambiance, and really friendly staff. And their raclette is amazing.
Only downside? You’ll end up leaving with a faint cheesy smell clinging to your hair and all your clothes. It didn’t bother me, but I wouldn’t suggest meeting your significant other for drinks afterward – Punky cheese smell is definitely a mood killer.