There is a market somewhere near us nearly everyday. The most popular market is in Mirepoix on a Monday morning. We consider this market a ‘must see’ but there is a daily market in Carcassonne and Narbonne which has a splendid market hall and the Saturday morning market in Revel is renowned. Markets remain an important part of French life.
Of course, there are market stalls run by professional food vendors but markets also offer an outlet for small producers and organic farmers who offer choices that supermarkets can’t often match.
Comprehensive information on markets in both the Ariège and Aude departments are available to guests.
The cuisine of the south west of France centres on the produce of the farm. Apart from the beef and pork products this area is most notably associated with duck – duck breast (magret), slow-cooked duck legs (confit de canard) and the highly prized duck and goose liver (foie gras) as well as duck fat used for imparting a delicious flavour to roasted potatoes.
Probably the most famous dish to emerge from this area is cassoulet. It is a hearty wintry dish of seasoned beans, duck legs and thick Toulousain sausage. It is served at restaurants, sold by specialist producers and can be bought canned or in glass jars at any supermarket.
Toulouse, Castelnaudary and Carcassonne all fight over it, claiming it as their own either due to the superior quality of the local dried beans, the purity of the water, or the quality of the duck.
The cheese from the high mountain regions of the Pyrénées is also a specialty and the most famous of these is Bethmale (pronounced Bet-mahl). These Pyrenean cheeses exude character, strong on the nose, but delicate on the mouth.