Nature's Table: Refined Recipes from an Alpine Chalet by Emmanuel Renaut and Isabelle Hintzy

Megève is a prized destination amongst skiers but there’s another reason to make a pilgrimage to this fairytale alpine village in the shadow of Mont Blanc: A restaurant called Flocons de Sel (translated as “flakes of salt”). Cherished for years by long-time residents, and awarded a third Michelin star in 2012, the restaurant is a destination itself. Chef Emmanuel Renaut is renowned for sourcing fresh, local ingredients that showcase the region’s remarkable natural bounty. On his quest for perfection, he has developed personal relationships with lake fishermen, mountain beekeepers, Beaufort cheese-makers, and wine-growers.

After a divine meal, you don’t have to leave the premises; you can check into one of the restaurant’s guest rooms—including a sprawling suite overlooking the valley. There is even a spa with treatments inspired by the chef’s culinary techniques. Products are organic, and feature mountain plants, flowers, and herbs.

For those keen to embark on an armchair voyage to the snow-capped Alps, Renaut’s new cookbook, Nature’s Table, is an opportunity to linger over the landscapes while also sighing over 50 refined recipes. The book is divided into sections based on the natural environment where the ingredients are found– The Lake and Fast Flowing Rivers, The Meadow and the Rock Face, The Vegetable Garden and the Orchard, The Forest, Mountain Pastures– each introduced by the fishermen and farmers who work with Renaut.

Rich photographs illuminate the natural world, and the elegant dishes that Renaut creates from it. The end result: a gorgeous book that will distinguish any coffee table.

Among the stand-out recipes, here we share one of our favourites, a classic potato puree that’s made sublime with caviar and local Reblochon cheese.

Potato Puree, reblochon, and caviar

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb. (500 g) firm potatoes (such as Linzer Delicatesse, BF15, Ratte)

1 3?4 cups (400 ml) heavy cream

5 1?4 oz. (150 g) reblochon cheese (or other similar soft alpine cheese)

3 oz. (80 g) caviar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash the potatoes and cook them in salted spring water until cooked through. In a small saucepan, warm the heavy cream. Cut the reblochon cheese into pieces and add it to the warmed cream.

Peel the cooked potatoes, then press the flesh through a sieve or a potato ricer. Stir into the cream and reblochon mixture. Adjust the seasoning
as needed, then press again through a fine-mesh sieve.

To obtain a light, mousse-like consistency, place the potato and cream mixture into a nitrous canister loaded with two gas cartridges, then set the bottle in a bain-marie to keep warm. Alternatively, whisk the mixture briefly to lighten it.

To serve:

If using a nitrous canister, dispense the potato puree into bowls; otherwise spoon it in. Serve with a spoonful of caviar on top.

This is an unexpected yet marvelous marriage of flavors between reblochon cheese and caviar.

Wine: Champagne Jacquesson Cuvée 733

Nature’s Table: Refined Recipes from an Alpine Chalet by Emmanuel Renaut and Isabelle Hintzy. Photography by Francis Hammond. Recipe reprinted by arrangement with Flammarion. 256 pages, 250 colour illustrations, hardcover, £35

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