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Culinary specialties of the Aveyron in southwestern France

Aveyron is a department of the Midi Pyrenees region of southwestern France. It is an area rich in local products.

Aveyron is famous for its roquefort, the fragrant blue cheese made of sheeps’ milk. The region is also famous for its Marcillac wines. Vineyards can be visited on a “wine road” through the region.

Other local specialties are “aligot,” “estofinado” and “gateau a la broche” (cake on a stick). Aligot is a version of mashed potatoes combined with a little cream, a little garlic and loca Laguiole cheese. The melted cheese gives the mixture a delectable “stringiness.”

Estofinado is a traditional dish served at festivals and combines dried salt cod with potatoes, garlic, parsley, cream and hard boiled eggs.

The cake on a stick, which could also be called a “tree cake,” resembles a cake available at Christmas time in Bavaria and there called “Baumkucken” (tree cake). It is sliced horizontally and is baked in layers that look like rings on a tree. Legend has it that the cake was brought to the Aveyron region by Napoleon’s army, which could explain its connection to Germany.

Another delicious local cake is the “fouace,” a yeast breakfast style cake similar to a brioche with a sprinkling of sugar on top.

No far outside the Aveyron department is the region specializing in foie gras. Foie gras appears on many menus in this part of France and can be purchased at local markets. It can be served seared with a fruit glaze, or as pate, or, as the French call it "half cooked." In all its forms it's delicious.

As in all regions of France, towns and villages of the Midi Pyrenees area have weekly or bi-weekly markets where the beautiful produce, cheeses, meats and fish of the region can be purchased. In some, as in the market at Rodez, ready-made dishes are also available, such as the regional specialty of "aligot."

There’s a wonderful variety of food and local dishes in this beautiful region of France. Try them; you’ll like them.

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