The French paradox – eating cheese and drinking wine but practising moderation.
Last Saturday I placed two halves of a ripe, soft French cheese the size of a plate on top of a dish of sliced potatoes, bacon, garlic and cream, and baked it in the oven. Then I ate about half, with a glass of wine.
This is tartiflette, a dish from the Savoie region of France. The cheese is reblochon, a gorgeous unpasteurised washed-rind thing of beauty. If you had told me before I put it in the oven two of us would eat the whole dish between us, I wouldn’t have believed you.
And yet we did, and enjoyed every mouthful.
This, of course, is not the kind of food I should admit to eating.
It doesn’t tick any nutrition boxes. It’s high-carb and high-fat – that deadly combo, making it highly calorific.
I would not be keen to run it through a nutrition analysis.
But obviously (at least I hope this is obvious) this is not the kind of thing I eat every day, or even every month.
It’s in the realm of treat foods, to be savoured and enjoyed from time to time.
The people of France understand this, and practise it routinely. Although we think of French people munching croissants and foie gras daily washed down with lots of red wine, these are not everyday foods for them.
When they do have them, they eat small [ . . . ]