Food and Cuisine in Armagnac
The food of Armagnac/Gascony is depreciatively simple and always hearty, high in protein, fat and salt. Gascon cuisine is essentially wonderful peasant food based on duck and goose fat and enhanced with skill and passion. It has been of critical influence to some of the finest chefs working in Europe. This is foie gras country and eating is the region's number two pastime, second only to drinking Armagnac and wine. Some would claim that Gascony is the true home of foie gras. Hence goose fat figures in a lot of recipes along with garlic and onions.
The cuisine tends to reflect the agricultural nature and the local economy of the region with cereals, cattle, ducks and geese. The later are reflected in the Gascony preserves, pâtés and foie gras. This is the land of the long slow lunch that may start with de foie gras and can often stretch over a number of courses to finish in the evening with chocolate desserts, coffee and Armagnac.
The region is a gastronomic delight!
ABOUT ARMAGNAC FOOD
The region’s signature dish must be the Garbure, a thick soup or stew. The old winter dish is a combination of cabbage, potatoes, beans, vegetables, herbs, spices and meats such as duck, goose or pork, or a combination of all three. While everyone's grandmother has a special recipe including what pot to use and the correct sequence of preparation, the main criteria is that when the ladle is pushed in it should remain upright!
Another speciality of Gascony is Salmis de Palombe, a stew of wild dove/wood pigeon, where the portions are braised then slowly simmered in floc, onions and herbs to produce a rich sauce. Like other specialities in France, it can also be obtained in cans!
Pork sausages, saucisse de Toulouse, and ham, jambon de Bayonne, are to be enjoyed in Armagnac, while you can expect that everything is cooked in goose fat. When it comes to local patisseries look out for the puff pastry delight of tourtiere de Gascogne. And remember that Armagnac goes with almost any dish!
Eating out or dining at home in Armagnac
Hopefully you will come to this part of France to enjoy the food and cuisine, so get out into the little village cafes, visit the markets, plunder the wineries, and eat, drink and be happy, because you are in Gascony.
Le Potage aux Poireaux et Pommes de Terre Leek and Potato Soup
- the basic soup that every kitchen had on the stove during winter to which could be added meat leftovers and other vegetables - hearty and filling!
Saucisse de Toulouse au pate Margret (Pork Sausage with duck breast pate on puff pastry)
Tartlettes aux Champignons (Mushroom tart)
With autumn come the tasty field mushrooms, sautéed in butter and served on a golden pastry—perfect at anytime.
Abats de canard (Duck giblets)
A restaurant dish of grilled giblets on salad greens
Garbure (Pork, beans and vegetable soup/stew)
Garbure is a very old traditional thick soup recipe of ham, duck or goose along with beans, cabbage, onions, herbs and spices. Great on a winter's day and better still when it has been reheated.
Salmis de Palombe (Wild dove with red wine sauce)
A traditional autumn dish of wild doves/wood pigeons, lightly braised and gently simmered, with Bayonne ham, mushrooms, onions and a dash of Armagnac
La Poire un floc en la pate feuilletee (Pear and floc in puff pastry)
This decedent Gascogne dessert bring together pears of the region along with floc de Gascogne, cream, ice cream and a lashing of summer berries in a streusel pastry
500 ml red floc de Gascogne
1 sheet puff pastry (250 x 250 mm)
1 egg for glazing
50g icing sugar
50g powdered almonds
100g whipped cream
100g summer berries
- Preheat oven to 180ºC.
- Peel, halve and core pears. Place in saucepan, cover with floc and bring to simmer until soft. Remove and cool. Reduce the floc to a syrup.
- Cut pastry into 4 pieces. Remove a 10 mm strip from edge of pastry square and using egg wash place on top of the square forming an edge. Prick well.
- Mix the icing sugar, butter cut into small cubes and powdered almond, and then sprinkle over the top of the squares. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove, cool on cake cooler.
Split pastry to form base and top. Place sliced pears along the centre with cream and ice-cream either side. Top with summer berries in floc reduction. Place pastry cover on top.
- Try this dessert with melon marinated in white floc de Gascogne
- Change the berries for grapes
- Do not delay in serving once the dessert has been assembled