A few years ago, my father and I did a seven day hike in the French Alps of Savoie at Vanoise National Park. Each day, we rose to the fresh, pure air of the mountains and hiked through breathtaking alpine scenery. As much as I love hiking, the best part of the day was when we arrived at our refuge for the night and sipped glass after glass of earthy Vin de Savoie as the sun set over the Alps and indulged in a delicious meal of local french cheese, meats, baguette and homemade root vegetable soup. Chicken or fish with savory rice or potatoes and pasta was next, followed by homemade dessert every night. There is nothing better than being rewarded with an enormous meal after a day hiking.
One of the oldest traditions in the region of Savoie is making cheese. Three alpine cheeses are made in this region of the French Alps: Abondance, Beaufort, and Comte. These cheeses evolved over time due to the unique, isolated community of alpine herders who collectively used their dairy supplies during the summer months to make large cheeses that were easy to transport down the valley into the markets.