Gastronomic Delights and Mouth-Watering Meals in Midi-Pyrénées - Al Fresco Holidays
The region of Midi-Pyrénées, France’s largest in terms of geographical area, is a seemingly endless rural idyll, with lush countryside, dramatic Alpine scenery and verdant farmland.
Amidst all this incredibly fertile land, it’s hardly surprising that Midi-Pyrénées should be the gastronomic epicentre of France. French specialities and world-renowned delicacies abound in the region, and food enthusiasts are unlikely to find anywhere more inspirational to tempt and tantalise their taste-buds than here.
If you’re on holiday in Midi-Pyrénées, here are just a few of the gastronomic treats that you can expect to enjoy whilst in the region.
Taste-bud Teasing Treats: A Selection of the Finest Foods in Midi-Pyrénées
The remarkable food of Midi-Pyrénées is due, for the most part, to the incredibly rich soil in the area. Not only is it perfect for growing crops, but also for raising livestock, some of which contribute to the fine cuisine. Here are just a few of the tastiest treats to enjoy whilst staying in the region.
Midi-Pyrénées’ most famous export is undoubtedly the deliciously pungent Roquefort cheese. Named after the village of Roquefort in Aveyron, this strong flavoured blue cheese is a firm favourite of many cheese connoisseurs throughout the world, and isn’t called the ‘king of cheeses’ for nothing. When staying Midi-Pyrénées, try some of the excellent Roquefort-based dishes on offer in the restaurants, or try it in its purest form, with just an accompanying cracker or two (and a glass of the local red wine …)
Admittedly, Foie Gras has come under considerable scrutiny in recent years. However, the region is undeniably synonymous with this luxurious, rich delicacy, and gastronomes across the world travel from far and wide to sample this dish in its native environment. The flavour of these specially fattened goose livers is very intense, and you’ll often see it available pan-seared in restaurants, with nothing else but a simple relish to detract from the fierce burst of flavour.
If you thought Foie Gras was impressively decadent, then prepare to be impressed some more! Midi-Pyrénées is home to the Quercy Black Truffle, one of the most high-end culinary delights in the region, and if you want to sample one of these ferociously flavoursome fungi, head to Quercy itself, which is one of the most prolific truffle producing areas in Midi-Pyrénées. The truffles, which are located in the ground (and are generally unearthed with the assistance of a truffle hound or pig) are used to add intensity to many local dishes.
Quercy doesn’t just play home to the famous Black Truffle. It’s also renowned for its excellent saffron, which grows in the fields and flourishes in a sea of pretty purple flowers every October. Saffron has grown in the region since the Crusades, and if you’re looking to buy some to take home, you’ll find that it isn’t sold as a powder, but as whole stigmas, which provide a more intense, sweet flavour.
Of course, many of France’s most popular dishes are flavoured with garlic, and it is a national favourite. However, the pink-bulbed Lautrec Garlic offers a far milder taste than its white-bulbed relative, and as a result, provides a much more subtle flavour to food. It also stores exceptionally well, so make sure to stock up and take it back with you!
Unsurprisingly, given the amount of livestock in the region, ham is particularly good in Midi-Pyrénées, and each area boasts its own speciality. Of particular note are the Biggore Noir Ham, which comes from the black pigs in Hautes Pyrénées and offers a very moreish, melt-in-the-mouth texture, and the Lacaune Cured Pork, which has a really interesting, complex flavour, with plenty of aroma.
The warm, sunny climate and excellent soil offer ideal conditions for flourishing vineyards, and when you stay in Midi-Pyrénées, you’ll discover a whole range of extremely quaffable wines. Bergerac wines, although traditionally considered inferior to Bordeaux, have recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, and Toulouse wines are also gaining ground for their excellent quality.
Once again, it’s the region of Quercy that offers another speciality of Midi-Pyrénées: the melon. Forget watery, insipid melons, the melons grown in Quercy offer a surprisingly intense flavour, with a strong taste of honey in each mouthful.
Where to Stay in Midi-Pyrénées to Enjoy a Holiday Filled With Fantastic Food
Le Lac des 3 Vallees holiday park is the perfect spot for holiday-makers who want to immerse themselves in the spectacular natural surroundings of Midi-Pyrénées. The holiday park is surrounded by beautiful country hills, whilst still only being a few hours’ drive from the city of Toulouse, and there are plenty of places close by where you can sample some of the local delicacies!