Flavors of the Midi-Pyrénées Region > Ariège
The exceptional Boeuf Gascon, celebrated for its delicate flavour and tenderness, was awarded a Label Rouge in 1997.The cattle, identified by their light-grey coats, reside in thef oothills of the Pyrenees in the Ariège. The breed has existed for over a hundred years and is a splendid example of symbiosis between the land, the animal and man. The cattle is raised in family concerns which put an emphasis on quality control.
The Ariege has a wide variety of old recipes such as Azinat, a variation on a stew based on cabbage and flavoured with conserved duck. Or there is the Coco de Pamiers, anexceptionally good small white bean which is enjoyed as the tender basis of a moujetado (the local version of cassoulet).
The Couserans region is at the centre of the production of Tomme des Pyrénées, where the morning’s milking is transformed, according to the high standards set for cheese made from fresh (un-treated or un-pasteurised) milk, innumerous cheese-making cellars in the area. An initial smoothand supple consistency is achieved, which is matured for two tosix months. In the Pyrenees ,the Tomme is sold under manyl abels, as each valley, village or farmer has a particular way of producing the cheese which can be made from cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk, although the common pastoral tradition of the mountains links them all
The wine of the Ariège, which Henri IV enjoyed, had in fact disappeared from view but a group of enthusiasts are in the process of reviving it. Their tenacity and know-how combined with the chosen varieties of grape (Cabernet Sauvignon,Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrrah) suggest that the new Ariégeois wine has some surprises in store.
Hints & Tips