Food and Cuisine in Bordeaux
Bordeaux wine is known worldwide, but what about the Food and Cuisine of Bordeaux?
Is it a match for the fine wines?
The answer is a resounding YES!
With its Atlantic ocean coastline, fish and shellfish abound, but Bordeaux is carnivore country and its most celebrated dish is entrecôte marchand de vin, also called entrecote a la bordelaise, a world-renowned dish of rib steak cooked in a rich gravy made from Bordeaux wine, butter, shallots, herbs and bone marrow. Certainly a great match with a hearty Bordeaux red. And you are going to find excellent hams, tasty succulent lamb, terrines and pates that will surprise and desserts and cheeses that are in a class of their own.
So let's pour a glass and start doing some serious wine and food matching in Bordeaux.
About Bordeaux Food
When it comes to shellfish, the region has outstanding mussels, oysters, shrimps, crabs, cockles, clams, whelks, scallops and a lot more. Try a plateau de fruits de mer, a plate of mixed cold shellfish or seafood, then move on to a merrine, a terrine of lobster, cod or scallops. You will find a huge range of fish including ray, cod, hake and eels.
But if it is beef you have come for then indulge in the region's signature dish,entrecôte marchand de vin, or if you want to try the best, boeuf Bazadais, beef raised near Bazas. Lamb lovers will enjoy agneau de Pauillac, meat from lambs raised on the salt marshes round Pauillac, and often served with truffles, or try mijote d'agneau aux mojettes, lamb cooked with white beans. Snails are popular and are often served in a casserole with wine, tomatoes and cognac.
Sweet treats include cannelles, caramelised brioche-style pastries, and the famous marrons glacés, candied chestnuts or noisettines du Medoc, roasted hazelnuts rolled in sugar.
The traditional Bordeaux specialty cake or pastry is the chewy, sweet cannelle, which is really a caramelised brioche-like pastry - and somewhat difficult to make!
Eating out in Bordeaux
The French love of food is known universally and if you are looking for real fish and shellfish prepared in a traditional manner follow Rick Stein’s advice and look no further than a village restaurant filled with locals - you will not go wrong.
Escargots avec le beurre d'ail Snails with garlic butter
Plump snails fed on grape leaves and served in garlic butter with a dash of crème fraîche, on toast
Soup aux moules Cream of mussel soup
A rich, thick soup loaded with mussels, saffron, wine and cream served with garlic chilli bread
Maquereau avec les poireaux Rochelle Mackerel with Rochelle leeks
Perfect fusion cookery balancing the flavours of fish, leeks and Dijon mustard
Figs avec le jambon Poitou et le fromage de chèvres Figs with Poitou ham and goats cheese
A class act of ripe, luscious, firm figs straight from the tree combined with ham and goats cheese
L'égouttoir recouvert de jeune chèvre avec la sauce bordelaise Crusted rack of young goat with bordelaise sauce
Sweet succulent rack of goat served on a bed of scalloped potatoes and with a bordelaise sauce
Entrecote a la Bordelaise Rib beef in red wine sauce
Entrecote literally means "between the ribs" and this is a tender prime-cut beef cut served with the classic Bordelaise sauce of red wine, herbs and bone marrow
Eclade (Mussels cooked on the beach)
Bordeaux has its own special beach barbecue in the form of Eclade, mussels cooked on the beach. With this dish, a water-soaked board is covered with mussels, heaped with pine needles or hay, then set on fire. When the fire is doused tasty hot mussels are ready for eating. Serves 2 to 4
1.5 kg mussels
1 - baguette French bread
1 chilled dry white Bordeaux wine or Pineau
Freshly ground pepper
A large wooden plank, pine and water-soaked
4 large nails
1 sack dry pine needles or hay
A bucket of sea water
- Soak the plank for one hour. Set up on the beach on rocks and make level.
- Knock on 4 nails approximately 25 mm apart on a square. Take 4 larger mussels and place between the nails with the hinge end up and the convex side facing outwards. Between each of the 4 mussels place 4 more mussels and using the larger mussels first work gradually outwards forming a large rosette.
- Carefully cover the mussels with a 130 mm thick layer of pine needles. Set fire to the needles in various places and leave to burn - it should take about 5 minutes..
- Fan away the ashes and douse with a bucket of seawater. Discard any mussels that have not opened.
Transfer to plates and eat with lots of French bread and chilled wine.
- Do buy the super large grade of mussels - the taste is a worth the price
- Don't be tempted to build a bigger heap of pine needles - 150 mm is max!
- Be prepared for a delightful slightly smoky sweet taste