Words and Images by Fiona Hugues

 (pron /tart-eeflett]/ – a French melty cheese, onion, spud & bacon situation)

This is a bistro classic from the French Alps that my consort grew up with, eaten particularly around spring ski season when the days are sunny but you need something filling to banish the chilly nip. Insanely delicious, it’s pretty much a posh French version of mac and cheese but made with spuds and jazzed up with a splash of wine and much fancier cheese. Make it in an ovenproof dish or oven-safe pan and serve direct to the table. I serve it with piquant cornichons and well-dressed crunchy leaves on the side. 


approx. 750g small potatoes 

6 or so slices dry cured streaky bacon, roughly chopped 

1 large brown onion, sliced.  

3 shallots, peeled and halved 

1 tbsp butter for cooking 

⅓ cup white wine 

⅔ cup fresh cream  

200g (or more) of cheese – I used sliced Emmental, but any combination of melting cheese works well. (slices of Camembert or Brie tucked in is worth a go too)  

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper 


Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender when pierced with a knife. 

Traditionally this dish is made with lardons, little cubes of bacon, but they’re difficult to find here, so I just use decent dry cured bacon. In a fry pan over medium heat with a little butter, cook the bacon until it’s golden and fragrant. Set aside and add the onions and shallots to the bacon fat and cook them until softened.  

Preheat oven to 200°C fan bake. 

Butter the sides of your baking dish or pan. Slice the potatoes thickly and place them in the dish intermittently with the onions, shallots, bacon and cheese. Combine the wine and cream and drizzle over the lot. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake for 12–15 minutes until golden.  

Rest for 5 minutes before serving.  


To Serve – a salad of buttercrunch or baby cos leaves dressed with 1tbsp seed mustard shaken together with 2 tbsp white wine vinegar and 4 tbsp olive oil with some baby gherkins or cornichons on the side. 

Share This Post