Aligot, Le Laguiole, La Fouace, Aubrac Beef, Roquefort, Foie Gras, Tripous, Confits, Stuffed Cabbage, Estofinado, Marcillac Wine
Aveyron is the major food producer in the south of France such as Roquefort, Jeune Montagne; Raynal et Roquelaure, Valmont, SACOR, Moly.
Traditional Aveyron dishes, which must be tasted if you are living here or just visiting, include aligot, le Laguiole, la fouace ,Aubrac beef,foie gras, tripous, confits, stuffed cabbage, Estofinado, thrush pâté with goose liver, lamb, feuilleté au roquefort, ewes’ curds and the inevitable Roquefort accompanied by wines from Marcillac, Estaing or d’Entraygues.
The Aveyron producers make it a point of honour to produce traditional regional products of impeccable quality which you can find on the markets or in specialist shops.
The Aveyron is a must for the food connoisseur and has everything from your local little auberge to Michelin star restaurants featured in international guides. Traditional local cuisine is simple, hearty and served in large quantities.
The newer generation of chefs have embraced the movement towards lighter dishes and newer flavours. Cyril Lignac, who comes from the Aveyron, is a great example. If you are a fan of Jamie Oliver, it may be worth having a look at one of Cyril Lignac’s books or TV programmes.
The type of food you can find by each area of Aveyron is described below.
In the north of the Aveyron, on the Aubrac volcanic plateau, the pure air sharpens the appetite and you will find a large range of different specialaties. Tripoux (a dish made of veal belly, tripes and gut),Beef of Aubrac with Aligot (potato puree with fresh tome cheese), Laguiole (cheese with dried rind made with full-fat unpasteurized cow milk cheese), Fouace of Laguiole (cake flavoured with orange-flower water and sometimes with dried fruits) and Cailloux de Valon (speciality with almonds and chocolate). At least during winter, you can always go and ski in the Aubrac to work up an appetite!
On the Carladez plateau, which is the most secret and unspoilt part of the Aveyron , the local specialties are picaussels (savoury cakes with pears and dried prunes) and the Encalat tart (pie with curds).
The Lot valley offers a whole range of dishes carefully crafted such as goose and duck confit, Estofinado, from the Decazeville plains, (a pie with salted and dried cod from Norway – stockfish, potatoes, walnut oil, egg, garlic and parsley). Cheeses such as Bleu des Causses (blue cheese made in a similar way as Roquefort but with cow’s milk) or Cabecou goat milk cheese which can be served with the local Wines VDQS d’Entraygues and d’Estaing. For the sweet tooth, strawberries,(which after the phylloxera epidemic replaced the vines in St Geniez), and the local honey, Fouace, are worth trying.
In the Villefranche area, you may start your meal with a cheese and onion soup or an Oulade (Aveyron soup with chicken stock and vegetable and anything else the cook can find in her fridge). Goose and duck confit or Tripoux or Estafinado may follow. You may finish off with a Gâteau à la Broche (a cone-shaped cake cooked for several hours on a stick by the fire for celebrations) or Masse-pain.
In the Aveyron valley, you may have Charcuteries du Pays (plates of cold meat) to start with. This may be followed by game meat or sauteed chicken. The sweet specialties are Pompe a l’huile (bread dough with oil, eggs and sugar), Cake Soleil de Marcillac and Echaudes . Wines of Marcillac have gained the AOC status.
LAKE AREA OF LEVEZOU
In the lake area of Levezou, there is a wide range of ham and country saucisson (dried sausage) as an appetizer. Then fish such as zander or pike or game meat and ceps are a favourite. Local sheep milk cheese (tome or Le Perail) are served with the Régalou (bread of the Levezou).
On the Segala hills, you may also find ceps or chestnuts while hunting for game or fishing for trout. For those who want to become true locals, try Tripoux of Naucelle for breakfast. But the Segala is above all reputed for its veal.
ROQUEFORT, MILLAU AND SOUTHERN AVEYRON
In the Millau area, it is worth trying the local dishes such as rabbit with Roquefort and thyme. It would be sacrilege to go to this area without trying the king of cheese Roquefort. Roquefort cheese can be simply sampled with a glass of red wine of the Gorges and Côtes de Millau. But it is very versatile for cooking and you can cook many dishes with Roquefort (feuilleté, salads, beefs, truits, ceps, soufflés, omelette etc). There is also a wide range of by-products such as Gatis (brioche with melted Laguiole and Roquefort cheese) or Flône (sort of cheese cake with sheep whey).
Many local producers, such as Marcillac AOC wine makers, the Roquefort caves and various farmers are happy to receive visitors and share their know-how.
© FrenchEntrée Tarn & Aveyron
By David Bolton
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