Belgian comfort food – The târte al djote

The târte al djote is a specialty of the Walloon town of Nivelles. The primary ingredients are Swiss chard, la bètchéye, a special fermented cows cheese produced in the area, and butter. Lots of butter. It’s served piping hot, with a plate of salted butter on the side and should be accompanied by a Jean de Nivelles. One might think a dish containing so many leafy greens would be healthy, but the layer of butterfat that floats on top hints otherwise. Don’t be put off by that! This is comfort food, and it’s truly delicious.

If you’re tempted to try it, you’ll have to make the trip to Nivelles. It’s not found anywhere else in Belgium. The târtes are sold in the town’s restaurants and bakeries which have passed annual taste testing by the confrérie de la târte al djote. This group serves to protect and promote this culinary specialty, which is thought to date back to as early as the year 1218. So if you find yourself in Nivelles, be sure to look for their label, which will tell you how they rate each establishment’s târtes.

For more information, as well as a recipe (en français), you can consult the confrérie’s website: http://www.djote.be.

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