The orchard of the Midi Pyrenees !
A veritable paradise of fruit, nicknamed the orchard of the Midi Pyrenees, kingdom of foie gras and duck, vineyards stretching as far as the horizon, garlic so typical of the region and not to be missed odorous truffles...the Tarn-et-Garonne is unique in its combination of flavours and culinary arts.
With a rich diversity of landscape, agricultural land and a moderate climate, the Tarn-et-Garonne possesses a unique culinary heritage which includes the Chasselas grape from Moissac, saffron, truffles, Quercy melon and garlic from Lomagne, not forgetting the museum of 'Arts de la Table' in Belleperche Abbey and the association of restaurant owners.
With its guided tasting and farm visits, as well as its typical markets, the Tarn-et-Garonne is a "not to be missed" tourist attraction crying out to be visited by discerning gourmets and gourmands alike!
Wines to titillate the palate !
The Tarn-et-Garonne, in the South-West of France, possesses numerous grape varieties or 'cepages', offering a range of wines to accompany the local gastronomy.
There are 6 'appellations' : (AOC= appellation d'origine contrôlé)
- A.O.V.D.Q.S. Coteaux du Quercy,
- Vin de Pays des Coteaux et Terrasses de Montauban,
- A.O.V.D.Q.S. Saint-Sardos,
- A.O.V.D.Q.S. Lavilledieu,
- A.O.V.D.Q.S. Côtes du Brulhois,
- the wines from Côtes du Frontonnais are classed A.O.C.
The celebrated Chasselas
The Tarn-et-Garonne, orchard of the Midi-Pyrenees, possesses the famous Chasselas grape from Moissac. It was the first fruit to obtain the AOC label in 1971. With 298 producers for 598 hectares, the vineyards of Chasselas are the pride and joy of Tarn-et-Garonne. But today, its usage is no longer limited to table or dessert grapes, and new sectors have arisen with fresh juice..still or fizzy, jam and alcoholic drinks such as the aperitif "Le Quercy des Iles": a marriage of the golden Chasselas grape, rum from Martinique, perfumed with vanilla from Tahiti ...with a little kick added by chilli from Espelette!
Truffles, the black gold of Quercy
Although over 100 types exist, the most in demand is the black truffle called the Perigord truffle.
The truffle grows in the spring and is harvested from December to February. In Tarn-et-Garonne, fervent enthusiasts cultivate these "black diamonds". Jean-Luc Clamens from the House of Gaillard in Caussade, sells the Tuber melanosporum the world over.
Robert Losson, cutler and inventor, settled near Auvillar, has invented a knife and an amazing truffle peeler, the Rabot’Truf,whose amazing quality of blade has created a following amongst renowned and Michelin starred chefs such as Alain Ducasse, Michel Trama, Jean-François Piège, Michel Troisgros... in New-York, Tokyo and other capitals.
Foie gras, from ancient times to today
Force-feeding of geese dates back to ancient Egypt. Today foie gras inspires many a chef in Tarn-et-Garonne.
They combine unexpected flavours with traditional foie gras.
Saffron, known locally as red gold...
It is the most expensive spice in the world, because to obtain1 kg of saffron you have to carefully pick 200 to 250,000 stamens of saffron flowers. The largest production market of saffron is in Iran.
In the Quercy and Albigensian region, production of saffron dates back to the 13th century. Bruniquel in the Tarn-et-Garonne became rich and famous in the 14th century thanks to the production of saffron. Nowadays in various Tarn et Garonne markets, such asin Saint-Antonin Noble Val, Montalzat, Saint-Projet, local saffron producers offer not only a wonderful spice, but also products such as jams, syrups and cakes flavoured with saffron.
Garlic from the Lomagne region
The gastronomic jewel in the crown of the Mediterranean, garlic has been known since ancient times. Cultivated in Lomagne since the 13th century, garlic production in this area rose dramatically after the Second World War and today counts around 300 producers on about 350 hectares of land.
You can't leave the Lomagne area without having tasted the traditional garlic soup "tourin à l’ail" or fresh foie gras gently fried with a reduction of garlic cloves.