French onion soup recipe from the Cévennes

French onion soup recipe from the Cévennes

It does get cold up in the Cévennes and this French onion soup recipe is what they eat to warm themselves up and keep going until the summer comes back round. The Cévennes are a range of mountains in the southern area of central France, covering parts of the départements of Ardèche, Gard, Hérault and Lozère. One of the products of the terroir is the Onion Doux des Cévennes, the only onion awarded AOC status – the type of onions that you typically associate with ‘true’ French onions.

If this traditional soup works for them, it could help us through a cold winter too… so here we serve you a delicious French bistro staple.


Onion soup is a traditional dish served on evenings after summer and winter festivals, because it is light and nutritional. Here is a regional recipe for four people.


10 sweet Cévennes onions
1 litre water
2 tablespoons olive oil
125g grated Gruyère
salt, pepper, pink peppercorns
4 slices of stale bread


Peel and dice the onions.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion until slightly golden.
Meanwhile, bring the water to boil with a pinch of salt.
When the onions are very golden, add the water and leave to cook on a gentle heat for 15-20 minutes. Season to taste.
Take four ovenproof bowls and place the slices of bread in them, and the grated cheese on top of the bread.
Pour the soup into the bowls and place under the grill for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Photo Office de Tourisme Mont Aigoual, France

Onion Harvest in Mont Aigoual, France

The sweet onion from the Cévennes was awarded an AOC in 2003, and AOP in 2008 and is the pride of the area. Perfectly white, their taste is unique, both fruity and slightly peppery. The bulbs are cultivated by hand following age-old traditions on sandy slopes of the Cévennes. You can find them in the markets from August. They can be eaten raw as well as cooked or grilled. Look for bulbs with stems that are well attached. If the stem is too dry the bulb is already quite ripe.

Onions are good for your health!

Rich in phosphorous, the Cévennes onion enhances intellectual activity, and the sulphur content gives it antiseptic qualities. It also contains vitamins A, B, and C, iron, potassium and iodine. These onions have been included in diets for medicinal purposes for decades.

With thanks to Helen Jennings
Photo by Hotel du Vin & Bistro via Flickr

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