The French take their food seriously. That sort of thing is more or less a given at this stage, and every city, town, village, hamlet and arrondissement in the country has its own quirks and specialities when it comes to the life-affirming ritual that is cooking food and eating it (always in a social setting, always). What to look out for on the menus of Grenoble? Certain ingredients are an absolute must in these parts.
The Grenoble love affair with the walnut goes back a long way, all the way to the 11th century in fact. It has been cultivated in this part of the world ever since, shaping the culture and cuisine of the Isère along the way. You can find walnut-flavoured everything down here, from wine to chocolate stopping off at everything in between. You could even go for the total walnut, putting together an entire three-course meal (with a drink) that celebrates this magical fake nut.
Le Bleu du Vercors Sassenage
Blue cheese is a classic in France, and the Grenoble region has its own very own version. Le Bleu du Vercors Sassenage is just about as delicate as blue cheese gets, a tenderness that comes from the freshness of the milk and the appreciation of nature that is imperative to its creation. There’s something magically tender about spreading some delicious blue cheese over fresh bread, no?
The sort of thing that amateur chefs all across the world occasionally try their hand at, but you’ll put that idea away forever once you’ve tried it in its birthplace. Dauphinois potatoes are an international staple but it was here that they began, and it is here that they soar the highest. Potatoes, garlic, cream, nutmeg and seasoning. Simplicity personified, and simplicity rarely tastes this sumptuous.
We’re yet to taste a pork product that we didn’t like, and Grenoble’s Le murçon doesn’t let the side down. This is a sausage that must be boiled before it is baked, and is best enjoyed alongside some tender potatoes, all devoured in the countryside. You might end up looking for a bit of land to call your own after tasting this.
Meals are gloriously large here, so you’re going to need something to help digest it all. We’ve got good news for you (we’ve always got good news for you), as you’ll find absolute salvation in the green liqueur called Chartreuse. A favourite of Carthusian Monks since the 18th century, this is distilled alcohol brought to new life via more than a hundred herbs, plants and flowers.