Story and Photos by ITN European Reporter Herve’ Rebollo.

Salut à toi American rider,

I hope you spent a good time at the Sturgis bike week 2023 and you got a blast at the Buffalo Ship.

I was lucky enough last May to spent somedays in Deawwod. It was so strange to see all the region so empty: no bikers, no tourists, no-one at the Buffalo Ship. Unreal!

As you may remember, I’m not currently really lucky with my brand new Road Glide. These two last months I got 2 major breakdowns and at the time I’m writing this post my lovely bike is still under examination at my dealership’s workshop.

It means that in this early July i really worried about my capacity of having my traditional summer ride 2023: I didn’t have motorcyle anymore. Poor me!!!!

But thanks to my wonderful dealership, BORIE since 1946, (Harley-Davidson Borie à Villiers sur Marne ( who asked Harley Davidson France to exeptionaly lend me a bike from its press park, I’ve been able to go back on the road with my blond. Thank you so much guys, you saved my summer vacations.

So, in this late July, we took the road for a long trip of ten days all around France.

The idea was to try to see a maximum of nice places and some friends…

… have good party times …

… some naps …

  … and good traditional French food. This is why we especialy made a stop in at the “Relais des Lacs”. This restaurant is located at 1343 meters(4400 feet) above sea level (in the middle of nowhere) … … on the edge of the D52 road (Route des lacs) in a former relay which served as accommodation for the shepherds of the transhumance of sheep. It is made up of two rooms, a bar and a terrace. You can taste the unique menu and only on reservation: raw ham, sausage, confit of pork liver (pâté), Aligot (served at will) local cheeses and fruits. A must see!!!!  And of course, some local biker friends joined us for a very good time between old road mates. But, what is Aligot, the France’s cheesy winter (or not) dish ???!!!!

This dish was prepared for pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela who stopped for a night in that region. According to legend, Aligot was originally prepared with bread, and potatoes were substituted after their introduction to France. Today, it is enjoyed for village gatherings and celebrations as a main dish. Aligot is still cooked by hand in Aveyron homes and street markets. Aligot is traditionally served with Auvergne red wine.


If you haven’t come across Aligot before, it’s basically a superior form of cheesy mash – it’s made by mixing mashed potato with butter, garlic, cream and cheese. The traditional cheese used is Laguiole but you can also use Tomme or any cheese that goes stringy when stretched. The stretchiness is important, and we’ll come back to that later.

Aligot (pronounced alley-go) is a traditional dish of the Aveyron department in southern France, but it’s also popular in the Auvergne area and is pretty widely available across France, particularly in the centre and south. As well as being served in restaurants it’s also a staple dish for sale at France’s various Christmas markets and winter festivals, where it’s often served with a sausage. It’s generally served in the winter (but it works at any seasons). There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule on this, but mashed potato in general tends to be more of a winter comfort food and as we mentioned Aligot is a popular offering at Christmas markets. Some sports grounds also sell it as a pre-match snack.

It goes with most things but is often served as a side to meaty dishes like a bœuf bourguignon, while a Toulouse sausage is also a classic accompaniment. And before you eat it, you should see how far you can stretch it – just for fun.  As we mentioned, the cheese you use needs to be one that goes stringy when heated and this means that a classic Aligot is a very stretchy foodstuff indeed.In fact, festivals in central and southern France often include a stretching competition to see who can produce the stretchiest mash. The preferred technique for this seems to be a vertical stretch – the contestant mounts a ladder or cherry-picker and works in a team with the person on the ground next to the pan of aligot to keep stretching it upwards until the string finally breaks.

The world record for the stretchiest aligot was set in 2020 by four brothers who managed to stretch theirs for 6.2 meters, getting it as high as the roof of their house. I’m not sur you’ll find Aligot outside of France, so the best wat to taste it is to come to me, I’ll take you for a ride to the Relais des Lacs restaurant … simply get ready to bulk up a bit, weight gain is guaranteed.

Hervé your French biker friend