In the Lot region there is a wealth of culinary specialities, with recipes that borrow their origins northwards from Périgord and south from Gascony, though all having much in common. This is the land of black wines, Goose & Duck, Foies Gras, Walnuts, Goats’ cheeses, wild Mushrooms and Truffles ~ the larder of the chef who aspires to the étoiles of Michelin and the highest echelons of gastronomy. A gourmet voyage for the ‘affaires de table’…
The Wines of Cahors
Daubed ‘the black wines’ for centuries, the AOC of Cahors are masculine with dark ‘inkiness’ in richly-layered tannins. The Malbec grape, workhorse of the apellation (no less than 70% to qualify) structures a wine of strength and opulence. However, in recent years harvesting riper grapes with less tannins, plus gentler winemaking, harnesses the depth of Malbec without the level of extraction that once made these wines so brutally tough in their youth!
The styles of Cahors fall into three categories. TRADITION ‘Tender and Fruity’ ageing up to 5 years. PRESTIGE ‘Feisty and Powerful’ to keep for up to 10 years and SPÉCIALE ‘Intense and Complex’ (almost always 100% Malbec), ageing for 10 years plus.
Walnuts and Prunes
Many local apéritifs are based on the walnut, alongside gastronomic marriages with Roquefort and Cabecou, chicory, orange, beetroot & cured meats. Don’t forget the unctuous caramel ‘tarte au noix’. The celebrated Pruneau d’Agen is king of our dried fruits. Appearing in breads, stuffings for pork and goose, within foie gras terrines and distilled into ‘La Vielle Prune’ liqueuer, made in nearby Souillac.
Ducks, Geese, Foie Gras
Farms abound with these noble birds, prized not only for their rich steak-like suprêmes and meaty legs (often served confit in their own fat) but also for their fattened livers ~ the prestigious Foie Gras. Either served pan-seared or packed into terrines and savoured cold with toasted brioche. It is the diamond of the region’s gastronomy.
A speciality of the region, appearing as cylindrical ‘crottes’, triangles, pavés, plain or ashed, served either hot or cold in salads, the fromage du chevre ranges from creamy through to savoury-soft, oozing and crumbly-firm. The ‘Cabecou’ family of Goats’cheeses, has accorded the Rocamadour style its own AOC.
Wild Mushrooms and Truffles
Each season (with optimum conditions) will bring a gastronomic fungal offering to the table. Springtime Morels, Summer Girolles and Cèpes, Autumn and Winter offer Trompettes, Pied Moutons and the prized Périgord Truffle. The perfect garnish to all things savoury!