…when it comes to great local food of all kinds. It would take some time to draw a map of products and producers here. Back home in Paris I have a book of 250 or so pages only describing the traditional delicacies of this mountainous strip of land. Here in the Alps, you can find for instance a great variety of locally made (Italian-style) noodles, a reminder of the colourful history of the Duché, or county, bounced back and forth between Italy and France. I’ve already introduced you to some of its majestic cheeses. I will have to write about the hearty sausages here – but today I want to show you that even the Savoy pâtisserie is remarkable.
It IS a miracle: You go, like me, to a remote village called Les Saisies somewhere in the Alps – and you find highly refined cakes on display that would make the show in London, Paris, Rome (not to mention Berlin)! The picture above (click to enlarge it) was taken at Chocolatine this afternoon, a bakery on the main street of the village (there is only one, I mean, main street). And you know what? Along this street there’s three or four bakeries of that kind. One of the guys even is a MOF, a Meilleur Ouvrier de France, which simply means that he’s a master of his art, a Jedi knight of handicraft. In a remote village in a remote province!
You might say it’s just a show for the ski tourists flocking in during high season. Well, firstly, that’s not true (these people are working here throughout the year). Secondly, it’s not logic. I mean, masses of tourists would explain the presence of McDonald’s and Starbucks in Les Saisies but not of Chocolatine, right? So believe me, Savoy is different. Like France is as a whole. Wherever you go you can feel a depth of culinary civilization that is breathtaking, really. It’s even touching, and you end up falling in love with bakers and butchers. That’s weird? I know. Yet it is just a reaction to their capacity to produce all this useless beauty.