Air-dried beef marinated in plum brandy, made in the mountainous Haute-Savoie region of eastern France
At 9am every day, five hours after starting work, the 16 employees at the Salaisons du Mont Charvin down their knives and break bread together. Their labour is mostly manual, and fairly intensive—the traditional hams and charcuterie here are all handmade, with very little mechanisation—so owner Christian Favre insists they take time out of their busy schedule to share coffee, a loaf of bread and, of course, a selection of their own meats.
Le Tavaillon de Savoie is one of those meats: beef tenderloin marinated in local plum brandy then pressed to make the eponymous tavaillon shape, so called “because it is reminiscent of the shape of the planks covering alpine chalets,” says Julia behind the stall at The French Comte. It’s one of her favourite meats they sell. “The plum brandy tenderises the meat and adds sweetness to it,” she continues, “and because it is a fillet it is lean.”
Sited in the mountainous Haute-Savoie region, Salaisons du Mont Charvin is a renowned charcutier, sourcing all ingredients from the local region where possible and never venturing beyond the French border for their high-quality meat. They eschew the ready-made spice mixes typical of more commercial charcutiers in favour of grinding their own peppercorns and mixing their spices fresh with each product they produce.
“After being marinated and pressed, the beef is air dried and aged for several months,” says Julia—though thanks to the brandy, it still retains a silken tenderness rarely associated with salt beef products.
Serve it in on a platter of alpine cheese and pickles or offer it alongside a raclette—“the sweetness and sharpness cuts through the heavy creaminess of the cheese.”