As I have often in the past been quite rude about the local food, perhaps the time is right to redress the balance a little, after all credit is due to an area where people have always managed to make much out of very little (sometimes in more ways than one!)
I have already mentioned aligot, “the king of foods” as my brother has called it, a rib clinging mashed potato dish certainly designed to keep you going through a cold winters day. But the great advantage in Aveyron is the care and “heart” obvious in so much of the produce.
There are many small scale producers, the landscape, tradition and the shallow soil, has meant that large scale production has always been difficult and the lack of an efficient transport network led to a certain amount of insulation from the rest of France. This means that now there are lots of small producers still sticking to traditional methods and producing some great quality products.
There is a proliferation of “bio” (organic) suppliers and small farms producing local duck, goose and pork to make the traditional local dishes, all found at the “Marchés des Producters de Pays”
Some enterprises have also got together to form “Drive-Fermier”, where a variety of foods (pork, duck, ice cream, cheese…..) can be ordered on line direct from the producer and then picked up from a central point.
Specialities include Goose and duck confit, foie gras, Estofinado, made with salted and dried cod “stockfish” Cheeses such as Bleu des Causses Laguiole, Roquefort cheese or Cabecou (goat’s milk cheese) local wines, local honey,
Cakes include Fouance, a bit like Madeira cake, gateau à la broche, a batter based cake cooked on a spit in front of the fire.
As well as an abundance of walnuts, chestnuts and mushrooms.