Flavors of the Midi-Pyrénées Region > Gers
Gimont, Seissan, Samatan, Fleurance – from November to March the covered markets in the bastides and villages of the Gers bring together producers of foie gras, farmers and aficionados who have come to buy whole foies gras or demoiselles (the carcasses of the duck with the foie gras removed). These marchés aux gras (foie gras markets) are unique in France.
The Gers is also known for its marchés de nuit (evening markets) in summer which combine local products, open-air meals and music, in an irresistible combination which helps keep villages alive.
The Gers is a strong hold of foie gras – its foie-gras markets are famous – and for other top-class products originating from corn-fed ducks and geese raised naturally outdoors. The tradition of excellence can be appreciated in the subtle flavours and amazing inventiveness of Gascon cooking which often incorporates a ray of sunshine in the shape of the orange flesh of a Melon de Lectoure. The almost-secret production of the melon is illustrative of pride in a job well done.
The Volaille Fermière du Gers carries a Label Rouge, whichguarantees that the poultry is the result of a careful chain ofproduction, from the egg to the plate, a sure sign of the highestquality. Whether chicken or guinea fowl, farm bred poultryfrom the Gers is raised for 81 days (i.e. twice as long as astandard chicken). It enjoys the freedom of the open air, andfeeds at will, while being pampered by producers who wouldn’tdream of using industrial methods.
A bride’s veil crumpled by two little angels on a bed of warm apples flavoured with vanilla and Armagnac is the heavenly effect of the Pastis Gascon, also called croustade. Supposedly introduced during the Arab invasions in the 8th century, pastis demands an unusual level of dexterity to manipulate the lightand airy pastry which is so fine as to be transparent.
Lively, supple and subtle, Côtes de Gascogne wines qualify the Gers as premier producer of local white wines. The Gers is also talented when it comes to aperitifs. Introduced four centuries ago, AOC since 1990, the Floc de Gascogne – red or white –is the result of an elegant union between fresh grape juice and young Armagnac produced on the same property. Anotherr esolutely Gascon aperitif is the Pousse-Rapière, a unique creation which blends sparkling white wine and orange-flavoured Armagnac liqueur.
Armagnac, which originated in Gascony in the 14th century,contributes to the reputation of France as a land of luxury andgood living. The main Armagnac regions are the Ténarèze around Condom, and the Bas-Armagnac based on Eauze. This remarkable brandy is still produced in family-run establishments, and has developed a vast aromatic range from cranberry tovanilla via candied fruits, pepper and cinnamon.
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