Midi-Pyrenees Gastronomy - Meats
Quercy Farm-raised Lamb
If you travel round the countryside around Figeac or Rocamadour, you will find that the local sheep (which have black rings around their eyes) look like they’re wearing glasses ! Here in the paradise that is the Causses du Quercy Regional Nature Park, the ewes lovingly raise their lambs. Quercy Farm-reared Lamb offers a delicious and subtle meat for discerning palates. It is reared according to principles of respect for animal welfare and the cycles of nature, and is thus the ultimate symbol of family-run stockbreeding. Quercy Farm-raised Lamb has held a Label Rouge quality mark since 1990 and earned IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) status in 1996.
Allaiton D’Aveyon Suckling Lamb
It is the Lacaune breed’s ewe that gives birth to the Allaiton d’Aveyron lamb. This fine creature also provides the milk used to make Roquefort cheese.It is also a ewe with strong maternal instincts. Thanks to its tenderness, combined with the care lavished on it by the 250 Aveyron breeders who raise these sheep, Allaiton lamb is a meat produced for the gastronomic end of the market. So much so, in fact, that it has its own fan club comprising around thirty French chefs, including top Midi-Pyrenees chefs like Michel Bras and Michel Sarran.
Allaiton d’Aveyron suckling lamb has held a Label Rouge quality mark since 1993 and has enjoyed IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) status since 1996.
“Sélection des Bergers” Lamb
Now we head for the high Pyrenees and their foothills where, since the dawn of time, pastoral farming has been an art. Add the shepherd’s wisdom and the breeder’s know-how into this extraordinary natural environment and you get ‘Sélection des Bergers’ farm-reared lamb. This is obtained from five typical breeds of the central Pyrenees (the Tarasconnaise, Barégeoise, Lourdaise, Aure and Campan, and Castillonaise breeds), which roam free, grazing on summer pastures and around their sheepfolds. The meat is famed for its texture, tenderness and color. “Sélection des Bergers” lamb has held a Label Rouge quality mark since 1993.
Aubrac Farm-Raised Beef
Nurtured on the thousand varieties of flowers that spring up in the summer pastures of the delightful Aubrac district, the quality of Aubrac Farm-reared Beef is acknowledged by leading connoisseurs, including Michel Bras. This is what the top Midi-Pyrénées chef, the proud holder of 3 Michelin stars, has to say about this animal, which is the flagship of the Aveyron livestock-farming industry: “Our pastures nurture animals with black rings around their eyes, offering a reassuring alternative regarding the future of proper meat with flavor. This is a ripe meat that strikes a chord with our childhood memories. It looks good, smells good, and it’s delicious…” Aubrac Farm-reared Beef has held a Label Rouge quality mark since 1999.
With its light-grey coat and black eyes, its powerful build and sturdy and robust hooves, the Gascon beef cattle breed roams free across the summer pastures of the Pyrenees. It likes to climb up to high altitudes. Herds of Gascon beef cattle are often observed dawdling on the roads leading up to the Col d’Aspin, the Col du Louron and other major Pyrenean cols. A local breed that has been carefully bred for its meat for more than a hundred years, the Gascon is a magnificent example of the intimate and inextricable relationship that can exist between a terroir, an animal and the farmers who rear it. Gascon Beef has held a Label Rouge quality mark since 1997. See the website of the Institut Régional de la Qualité Alimentaire : www.irqualim.net
Gers Farm-reared Poultry
A symbol of Gascony’s values (independence, courage and loyalty!) in its own right. Gers Farm-reared Poultry demonstrates the commitment of an entire industry which from egg through to plate guarantees a product of the extremely reliable quality. All types of Gers Farm-reared Poultry (laying hens, meat chickens, guinea-fowl or capons), are raised for 81 days (i.e. twice as a long as ordinary poultry) under free-range conditions. They feed on grain and are cosseted by producers who, by their own admission, have never had a ‘factory-farming’ mentality. Gers Farmer-reared Chickens have held a Label Rouge quality mark since 1977 and have enjoyed IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) status since 1996.