It is lovely to meet someone and share a good meal ! Enjoy local products and regional specialities of this area. Eating is also one of the pleasures of a holiday... Let’s be honest, we can enjoy looking at beautiful scenery, but we also enjoy all these new flavours at lunch and dinner times, whether at the restaurant or cooking with products from the local market !
During your holiday in the Tarn, the Tarn & Garonne and the Aveyron, you are spoiled for choice ! This may be the reason you came here... Let’s have a tour of all the delicacies of these three departments with which to tempt you !
In the Tarn & Garonne, they celebrate fruit. In these lands full of sun, sometimes rich in silt from the rivers and streams, or arid on the Causses du Quercy, orchards thrive and the farmers are kept busy ! Here there are quality products to be tried. As in the main part of the southwest, poultry is popular, as well as the savoury meat from various breeds, but above all fruit is king...
Here table-grapes are popular. It's not grapes for wine making which are important. The Chasselas de Moissac is a white grape AOP, with a thin skin. Its flavour is sweet with honey aromas. It is very juicy, has a golden colour and is exclusively harvested by hand by the chasselatiers, who must then 'chisel' it, ie. remove the damaged or very small berries from the clusters before selling them to the demanding consumers that we are ! They can be eaten as they are, for the pleasure of their flavour. This is a grape that has various uses : for juice, for aperitifs (such as the Quercy des îles, with rum, vanilla and spice, yum), and for jams and jellies. It is best served with oysters, with quail, in desserts and tarts, Nages de fruits! It is up to you to eat it as you wish.
Chasselas Grapes in Moissac
This sweet melon benefits from the limestone and mixed clay soils of the region. Thanks to the water supply lying in the clay soil, the melon benefits from the sun's heat while its roots stay cool in the soil. The Quercy melon has a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) and provides a living for small producers. Choose it with care in the markets, hold it in your hands and to choose a ripe, sweet melon, check the stalk, which must be slightly crackled. The skin is green, turning yellowish. It has a sweet and fruity smell. To enjoy it simply slice it. You can also make small balls of melon and serve them with a dry white wine (local!), yum, it is delicious !
Lomagne is a region stretching across the Gers and the Tarn & Garonne. Its capital is Lectoure, in the Gers. Big, fleshy white garlic comes from Lomagne. It has a strong rich flavour. In the markets it can be found in the second half of the year. It is sold either as a garlic braid, individually or in a net. It is a condiment that can be cooked in many ways. Did you know that garlic is known for its antiseptic properties ? Legends saying that it keeps away vampires were not only based on stories for disobedient children. In southwestern cuisine, garlic is often crushed and emulsified to make sauces like garlic cream, preserving all its properties.
Garlic of Lomage
Although the name of this spice evokes rich flavours and exotic pictures, it grows perfectly in the climate of the southwest. Safranières can be found in Tarn & Garonne. Besides, since the middle ages bulbs of saffron have been planted in the Quercy ! They are planted in July, they bloom in October and the flowers are delicately picked by hand to harvest the precious stigmas. The saffron is in fact the stigma of the flower, present in small quantities in each flower. This explains why it is the most expensive spice in the world. We use saffron in very small quantities (because it is expensive but also because it has a strong flavour) to flavour sweet and savoury dishes. It is added to delicate dishes, such as foie-gras, scallops... It is added to pasta water when cooking “Tagliatelles aux Coques” for example. It can be found in tajines, couscous, paëlla. In sweet food, it is used in syrups, jams, jellies. It can be added to scrambled eggs, creams, and brioches... Saffron is everywhere !
Saffron of the Tarn & Garonne
The Tarn & Garonne is the orchard of the Occitanie. With its three large rivers (the Tarn, the Garonne and the Aveyron), the alluvial basin is large and orchards enjoy the sun and super nutrients in the soil to grow ! Here, they produce more than 80% of pears, apples and plums in the region. The Tarn & Garonne is the premier French department for apple production. You can try some delicious apple juice and cider ! There is also the kiwi, table grape, melon, apricot and peach. It is a cornucopia of fresh fruit during the season. In summer, going to the market and being faced with such choices can be overwhelming ! Indulge yourself with fruit salads, each more delicious than the last !
Apple orchards of Tarn-et-Garonne
An ancestral tradition, a typical dish of the southwest, the Tarn & Garonne is also a land of foie-fras, goose or duck. Foie gras is often found on the tables of the great chefs.
The black hen is an ancient breed of poultry with a beautiful black and white zebra style feather. Its meat is not plump but thin and fleshy. The black hen is farmed for its eggs and its unusual taste. Originating in the commune of Caussade, you will mainly find it there. Poultry in Quercy dates back to the middle ages. Here chickens always peck the soil as they are free range and cereal fed. They have a “Label Rouge” (a red label is a quality assurance indicator in France).
In Tarn & Garonne, there are also cep mushrooms, Gascony beef, goats' cheese, lavender, honey, lamb... Find all the producers of the region in our section !
Chicken of Tarn-et-Garonne
The “croustade” (pie-crust), this dessert, made with a fine puff pastry, can be found everywhere in Gascony as well as being queen in Tarn & Garonne. It is an alternative to apple pie and is made with Armagnac or prunes.
Nut bread and cakes. There are walnut trees in Quercy and to make life better, the farmers used to sprinkle cakes and bread with walnuts. They are delicious with a good Cabécou goats' cheese, for example.
Cassoulet is a Toulousain dish that can also be found in Montauban and in the Tarn & Garonne. Made with tarbais beans, pork rind, tomato puree, sausages of course, it provides a hearty meal.
Foie-gras, prepared in mousse, pate...pan fried, “mi-cuit” (cooked at a temperature between 70 to 85 degrees), it can be eaten in various ways; as a starter, sometimes in risottos, in nuggets in a tart or served with a jelly of saffron...
Confit and duck magret are two dishes that can often be found on restaurant menus in the region.
Brioche or Coque Quercynoise is flavoured with orange blossom and traditionally consumed at Easter. Now it is available all year round in a ball shape, with a beautiful soft light yellow crumb and a golden top. It is very appetizing.
In the same way there is the Mountalbane which is a brioche found in the region of Montauban, created about twenty years ago by a pastry cook. It is sold in a lovely greaseproof mould of embossed paper giving a very pleasing shape to the top of the brioche. Vanilla, rum, orange blossom, fresh eggs, butter and candied fruits are some of the ingredients...