The Cuisine of Auvergne
Auvergne: Farming Tradition
Fed by the terroirs of Auvergne, Cantal and Haute-Loire, Auverge cuisine is steeped in farming tradition and is famous for cabbage, which is served stuffed, marinated in a soup, or even in hotpot stewing with different pork preparations. Pork is the meat most often found on tables in Auvergne: dried ham, sausage, breaded or grilled pig’s feet, salt pork with green lentils from Puy. Auverge cuisine is also rounded out by the melt-in-your-mouth Charolais beef from Allier and Salers beef from Cantal. Often "truffade" (potatoes with fresh tomme cheese from Cantal) or aligot (another tomme cheese and potato dish) are served with these dishes, making the whole even more delectable.
Springtime fishing adds magnificent gems to the already large variety of local foods: wild trout, salmon, char, pike, and zander. Come the fall, strong meats such as venison, wild boar, waterfowl, and other game pepper local menus. This season also means Sunday afternoons spent exploring the forest for tasty mushrooms and berries. Regional cheeses include Saint-Nectaire, bleu d'Auvergne, Fourme d'Ambert, Cantal, and Salers, and should always be enjoyed with one of the five local Côtes d'Auvergne crus (vintages) available in red, white, and rosé.
Aligot, truffade, green lentils from Puy, Auvergne hotpot, stuffed cabbage, Auvergne-style oxtail, blackberry caramels, and galets de la Cère (chocolate-covered almonds) are just a few specialties that you must discover.
Cheeses to enjoy here include bleu d'Auvergne, bleu des Causses, Cantal, Fourme d'Ambert, Gaperon, Murol, Saint-Nectaire, Salers, and tomme d'Auvergne.
Wines and Spirits:
The region produces vins de pays wines such as:
- Vin de pays du Bourbonnais
- Vin de pays du Puy-de-Dôme
Auvergne Hotpot (serves 6)
Preparation Time: 12 hours
Cooking Time: 3 hours
- 1 pound (500 g) salt pork
- 1 pound (500 g) pork shoulder
- ⅔ pound (300 g) slab bacon
- 1 ham bone
- 1 1-pound (500 g) garlic sausage
- 1 large cabbage (3 pounds/1.5 kg)
- 6 nice-looking carrots, peeled
- 6 turnips, peeled
- 6 medium-sized potatoes
- 1 handful dried beans
- 3 whole garlic cloves (not peeled)
- 3 bay leaves
- Place the meat in a container filled with cold water and let soak for 12 hours, changing the water 2 or 3 times.
- Soak the beans overnight starting the night before.
- Remove the wilted leaves and stalk from the cabbage. Cut it in large pieces and blanch it in a large pot of boiling water for 5 minutes with the garlic cloves. Strain and set aside.
- Drop the meat and ham bone in a braising pan containing 3 quarts (3 liters) of boiling water.
- Skim the water from time to time and let simmer over medium heat for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, add the cabbage and garlic, whole carrots and turnips, dried beans, and a few peppercorns. Simmer for 1 ½ hours.
- Next add the sausage and potatoes.
- Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes more.
- Serve on a large platter, placing the cut meat at the center and surrounding it with the drained vegetables and sliced sausage.