Something that Brits find when they get here is their sudden elevation in the baking stakes. It must be said that locally there is not a great tradition of cake making and the famous French patisserie is not in great evidence. Even in the bigger towns you have to search out anything that departs from the Aveyronnaise. I have a friend who is from Alsace; a region that combines the best of German and French cake making, who also bemoans the quality of the local offerings. So a simple victoria sponge gets great praise. Around here English baking has a great reputation, although many are still convinced that we have problems getting bread, unless it’s white sliced.
Local food based specialities include: fouace , an extra dry madeira style cake, served with white wine at morning events sometimes saved by the addition of yeast and therefore more like brioche. Soupe de fromage, which is a kind of mixed up savoury bread and butter pudding, tripoux, stuffed stewed tripe, tête de veau, slow cooked calve’s head (I actually quite like that one!). The last two are traditionally served at celebration breakfasts, and the soupe de fromage in the early hours of a party or wedding to keep you going.
Soupe de fromage
Bakers, even those also calling themselves patisseries have limited selections; for example mixed fruit tart, which is basically a tin of fruit salad on a pastry base, or the prune pasty…….why? This means though that in my middle years I have suddenly become a great cake maker!
Before people get the idea that Aveyron is a gastronomic desert, think again, because you can eat very well here. I’m already working on that for the next post!