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Discovery of culinary plants "Au jardin de ma Grand-mère"

We had the chance to test the outing “In my grandmother’s garden”, to discover culinary plants, with Franck Bortolotti. Mountain guide in the summer and ski instructor in the winter, Franck has been cradled since his childhood in alpine skiing and the practice of the mountain.

In order to pay tribute to the land but also to his grandmother, the latter has set up a workshop “Discovering culinary plants in the mountains”.

“If the human environment is built on competition, the wilderness environment, on the other hand, is steeped in cooperation”

Frank begins during his introduction to the outing. The plants, multiple and varied, bring and complement each other in an incredible way. Communicating through their roots, some prepare the ground for the others, so that between them reign peace and harmony.

This is when our journey begins, only 50m from the village, to learn to look around us, to discover the plant species we all know, in the wild.

Wild Rhubarb The queen of pies

Cousin to sorrel, wild rhubarb is also called Rumex. Tart and sweet, this plant we all know can be cooked in pie, cake, jam or compote. Cut the stalk, cut them in small pieces and put them in a pan with a little sugar. Let cool and get succulent sour candies!


Properties: rich in vitamin C, potassium and phosphorus. It will also provide you with a not insignificant dose of calcium and magnesium.

Tip: Folded in half, the leaf can also be used as a cushioning and cooling pad under the strap of the hiking backpack.

Celery stalk The salt of the mountain

Also called the Ach of the Alps, the celery we all have in our cupboards is edible. Its raw leaf can be used as a condiment (for example, on fish en papillote or in broths). Finely chopped and mixed with coarse salt, you can easily obtain a homemade celery salt. Finally, as an appetizer, its young stalks can be used as a stick to dip in a mustard cottage cheese dip.

Properties: It has great diuretic properties, rich in various sources of calcium and vitamin C.

Nettle The most pungent of plants

Extremely rich in protein, vitamin C and mineral salts, nettle is the champion of wild edible plant foods. Its protein intake is extremely rich. It can be enjoyed as an aperitif pesto (mix nettle, parmesan, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts), in soup, omelette in pancakes or cakes, the list is long… Mixed with butter, it also deliciously accompanies a platter of snails.

Properties: contains (among other things) zinc, calcium, magnesium and potassium, it is a great source of plant iron and also contains vitamins C, K and B.

Dandelion The gold of the mountains

The young flower heads (akenes) can be cooked in a pan with a little butter. Raw, young dandelion leaves are eaten primarily in salads. Cooked, they are a delight for soup lovers. The sliced roots can be roasted. They can also be used as a coffee substitute. The inflorescence (yellow flower petals) as for it is often used to make the famous cramaillote, also called dandelion honey, a jelly with a subtle flavor that accompanies your breakfast toast as well as your foie gras toast.

Recipe for the cramaillotte: Put 400gr of inflorescence in 2 L of water, add 2-3 apple cores and 2 cartiers of orange, boil the pot for 15 min. Let it cool down. Remove the ingredients and boil again. Pour into jars and set upside down to cool. For extra consistency, add a packet of agar agar while cooking.

Properties: Rich in iron, protein and vitamins A and C.

Lemon thyme The friend of the fish

Lemon thyme makes it possible to flavor with happiness the dishes of fish, salads and many desserts (fruit salads, creams, flans…).

Properties: Powerful antiseptic, lemon thyme is taken as a tea for coughs. In cataplasm, it is effective against muscle pain. It is also very effective to look after the painful intestines. Finally it serves at home as a natural anti-moth.


 Note from Franck

Always keep common sense, pick in moderation. Do not pick on the side of a road, path or field with animals.

Be careful and knowledgeable about the edibility of a wild plant. If you have any doubts, refer to a knowledgeable and competent person (there are associations on edible wild plants, training courses, books…).

Never put the picked plants in a plastic bag as they might give off harmful effluvia between them. They should be separated, in paper bags, at the end of the walk, to keep the plant fresh.

Rinse the plant with 2-3 waters before eating. If in doubt, boil the plant at 100°C, at least 1 min.

Disclaimer: The author and publisher disclaim any responsibility for the use of the plants presented. In case of health problems, it is advisable to consult a doctor, who is the only one authorized to present a diagnosis.

How to live this experience?

  • Sunblock
  • Hat
  • Water bottle
  • Long pants
Time of year

This walk is ideal in the spring, when plants are at their peak.

Ideal for families

This ride is perfect for little grown-ups! It’s not too long or tiring and kids will feel like wizards ready to brew their magic potion.

Come experience the real mountain in immersion with a true local plant enthusiast.

Val d'Isère embarks you in its art of living

Val d’Isère is keen to keep its authentic and pioneering spirit and to give you the real mountain experience.

The Col de l'Iseran is open   The Col de l'Iseran is open  
☀️Summer season: June 29th to September 1st, 2024 ❄️ Winter season: November 30th, 2024 to May 4th, 2025
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