October 30, 2016 – The road to Abondance, or Abundance, is narrow and curving like a slinky toy slung out of control. Or, at least that is the way it appeared on our GPS map in the rental car as a continuous loop of switchbacks spread out before us, with superb scenery all around. Abundance of the real satisfactory kind with heaps of happiness, all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of food, glowing health in every pore of the body and satisfaction of every need seems to be out there off the map in the same manner as our roadway, especially without a good GPS. Pardon the comparison, but it was just too easy to see that one coming.
Abondance lives up to its name, situated in a splendid position along the banks of a mountain stream with mountains encircling the alpine village. A towering structure assembled with brightly colored skis and topped with a red cable car carrying a cow welcomed us at the edge of town. The artistic statue said more than any brochure, setting the scene where skiers and cows are equally welcome in abundance.We were there in the autumn, but it was easy to imagine the snow caps on the summits, the meadows blanked in white and a fire warming us snug and comfy inside one of the charming chalets with lace curtains in the windows. The town lies in the French Alps just south of Lake Geneva. The people are referred to as Abondanciers. Now, it would be worth living here to be called an Abondancier. The village is small and quiet with several bars, hotels, restaurants and a lively Sunday morning market which we missed. They were just clearing away when we arrived.During the 2006-2007 ski season the ski resort in Abondance shut down due to lack of snow, and the town lost money. However, the resort reopened in 2009 and has remained open since. Summer attracts visitors with the walking, history and outdoor activities. Abondance has given its name to a variety of cheese made in the region and a breed of cattle which produces the milk for the AOC label cheese. A hundred liters (26 ½ gallons) of milk are required to make one cheese that weighs between seven (15 lbs.) and twelve (26 lbs) kilos. I found a recipe which you may like. No Abondance cheese available? Why not experiment with a different cheese for a nice dish?
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced in half
- 1 lb. Abondance cheese, rind removed, cut into small cubes
- 4 Tbsp. dry white wine
- Few drops Madeira wine
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh baguette, for serving, optional
- Assorted charcuterie, for serving, optional
Equipment: 4 small ramekins Preheat the broiler to low heat; Rub the inside of each ramekin with garlic and then fill the ramekins halfway with the cheese. Add 1 tablespoon of the white wine and a drop of Madeira to each ramekin. Sprinkle with pepper. Place the ramekins on the top shelf of the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and the tops are golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve with a fresh baguette and some charcuterie, if desired.
The abundant cows in the Abondance valley stay in the stables in the winter, munching on hay and waiting for the skiers to go home so they can claim the summer pastures in the high mountains. They must feel the same quality of abundance as the Abondanciers of humankind as they wear their cowbells and graze peacefully in the mountains. There are forty farms in the Abondance valley producing the yummy cheese and you can buy directly from the farmer, another fun thing to do.
Husband Jim and I didn’t have the cheese recipe while we were in Abondance. Our lunch menu was much more familiar: hamburger and frites (fries). While we were waiting at our table another couple near our age had their servings of frites arrive before ours. My hungry eyes must have shown how anxious I was to dig into lunch because the nice gentleman offered some of his crispy, warm French fries to me. I declined, but he just insisted. How could I refuse? We tried to communicate in English, French and sign language. I was amused when the lady reached and cleaned her husband’s glasses, smiling and mock scolding him. We have a reversal of roles in our household. Jim cleans my glasses and always has eyeglass cleaner with him, even in France. I recently used the cleaner on ant bites when I didn’t have anything handy in the car. It worked!Susie, the chef, brought our extra tall hamburgers, packed with good stuff including a fried egg! Have you ever eaten a hamburger with fried egg? It was very good. So, next time you are concocting your hamburger with extras, follow the Susie recipe and add an egg. Don’t hold back! Add crispy bacon for your own Abondonce Burger, but don’t do this every day or you will be as big as an Abondance cow! My compliments to Susie, the chef extraordinaire! She and the couple beside us kept my card. I do hope they are still looking at the blog to know how special they made our meal in Abondance.
I do hope you keep coming around to the blog! Where else will you find abundance? How will you know about hamburgers and fried egg? How will you know the many uses for eye glass cleaner? There’s more to come. Although, I do admit to being lazy and enjoying my summer with many other activities and missing a few weeks of blog-writing while I’m having fun.
We are ever so proud of our beautiful granddaughter, Hanna, who just graduated from high school. We traveled to Florida recently to see the graduation and visit with friends there and on the way.
Thanks ever so much for traveling with us. Ya’ll come back!! Perhaps you would like to CLICK to check out the book “A French Opportunity” available in paperback and Kindle.