France is many great things, but it is not known for its friendliness towards vegetarians. As a non-meat eater, I’ve been offered fish galore, and even chicken.
In La Clusaz and the Aravis area, vegetarian options usually revolve around cheese, regardless of rennet content. Raclette and fondue is available for indulgent vegetarians, and goats cheese salad for those being healthy. Pizza and pasta are sometimes available, but they get boring after the first few years.
A change has been taking place in the past few years, with a vegie burger on the menu at Le Coin Gourmand in Le Grand Bornand (made with a potato patty instead of beef) and at Le Maz’ô in St Jean de Sixt (courgette and aubergine base, with a tasty home-made pesto sauce).
And finally, La Clusaz has given in. Although the burger isn’t yet listed on the blackboard menu, the owner of Le Chavinette told me last winter that demand was growing and he was thinking about making a vegie burger. When I walked in on the weekend, he offered up his latest creation. Pictured is the burger. He too has included a fried potato patty, but on top of that is a patty made of mixed vegetables, which he described as ratatouille. It’s actually far tastier, and with the fresh salad on top, it tastes pretty healthy for a burger.
The Brits around town affectionately call Le Chavinette ‘Chav Burger’, and now I feel guilty for joining in. If you happen to visit La Clusaz and you don’t eat meat, demand the vegie burger!
Update: in November 2015, Le Maz’ô closed and became Stef’s Wee Coffee House, which offers vegie options galore — soup and baked potatoes (along with meaty versions), plus a range of delicious home-made cakes and drinks. You can even get mochas which are still unknown around these parts.