Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Foods typical of the Auvergne area of France

One of the reasons we so enjoy traveling in France, is because this small country, slightly smaller than the state of Texas, offers a variety of foods typical to each region. No other country is quite so diversified, in my opinion. The Massif Central part of France, or the Auvergne as it is known, had foods we have not tried before and were very anxious to get our knife and fork into.

Above you see a typical dish known as Truffade. One might surmise that it contains truffles, from the name, but it does not. Along side a salad and the typical ham of the region, Truffade is a potato dish, and by the looks of it, they are not shy about serving a large portion. I would compare it to a glorified scalloped potato dish. The one ingredient that puts it over the top is the cheese. They use a local cheese, Tomme Fraiche de Cantal. I saw it at the grocer's and it was sealed in a plastic wrap. It was very squeezable and soft, more so than a fresh mozzarella. I have not seen it at Whole Foods in the states and I am sure, if it would be available, it would be in large, metropolitan cities.

The Truffade was wonderful, but too much. The amount on my plate could have fed a family of three. I could not eat it all, but I could eat some right now if it was at all possible.

Here is another potato dish regional to the Auvergne. This is called Aligot. We had to search quite a few restaurants to find this, but once again, the journey was worth it. From what I have read, it is tricky to make this dish. It takes years of watching grandma and mama before the young women tackle this. It is mashed potatoes and then this same Tomme cheese is beaten into the potatoes until the right consistency is achieved. It also has lots of garlic, but then, some villages omit the garlic. Like any other recipe, the cook rules.

It tasted wonderful, thick, very cheesy and once again, the portion was overwhelming. Lots of double cream and butter are added to the mashed potatoes and yes, I could eat it right now. We truly ate more potatoes in our week in the Auvergne than we have in the last year. It is a good memory and we are working to get the residual off our bodies!!

" Petit sale' aux lentilles," or salt pork with lentils is a classic Auvergne dish. These are la lentille verte du Puy, or lentils from the town of Le Puy-de-Velay. They are small and so very tasty. A small bag accompanied me home!! I love lentils and this dish brought them to a whole new height. I will be on the search for these small lentils in the future.

This dessert takes me back many years. In all the years we have traveled to France, this dessert in some shape or form is available on any restaurant menu. It is called "Ile Flottante" or Floating Isle. When I was in Home Economics class back in high school many years ago, we learned to make this dessert. That was the one and only time I ever made it or ate it. Until...we started traveling to France. I was curious why this was so popular. Well, there are so many variations, but they all start with the basic concept; a creme anglaise topped with islands or meringue.

In the photo above, you see this one was glorified. It contained orange slices, orange sorbet and it was topped with a chocolate cup filled with Grand Marnier. Yoo Hoo!! It was also decorated with these little orange fruits in the paper thin shells and for the life of me, I can't think of what they are called. Sort of tasted like a kumquat. Also note the added color of the violet.

Once again, we have great memories of our meals and wine. Not only do we love the sights but the experiences in the restaurants stay in our memories forever.


  1. That's the wonderful thing about travel ~ the memories are as precious as the experience itself. Love your posts, Susan. Thanks for taking us along on your adventure.

  2. It all looks delicious, especially the Truffade! It looks like one mighty large portion but bet it was delicious with the cheese. I will be looking for the cheese, it sounds great!

  3. Yummy! It looks like your are having a great time!

  4. Hallo Susan,
    das hört sich ja lecker an. Und sieht auch noch verführerisch aus. Ich finde die Idee toll, in jedem Land auch die typischen Gerichte zu kosten. Das Aligot wäre was für mich. hmmm - dein Post ist sehr interessant - danke dir -
    lg. Ruth

  5. Such wonderful food! Wouldn't it be nice to be able to take the leftovers home and have them be as good a few months later! Ha!

  6. Both of the potato dishes look so rich and delicious! I bet it would be hard to stop eating! :)

  7. Wonderful again. Now I'm thinking I should try making my own sausage...

  8. Oh my--delicious! I'd have to pack a size larger (or more) wardrobe to travel in France. I'm anxious to look up recipes for some of these dishes.


  9. That sounds so very good both the dessert and the potato dishes. I could eat it all right now.

  10. There was a time that I would have loved that potato dish. Today I would have had only a taste, but I would have savored it. I adore potatoes, perhaps a bit too much (to the chagrin of my waistline.)

    Amazon has the the French lentils on line and I've heard Whole Foods has them too. I haven't had floating islands in a long time. My late mother-in-law used to make them. They are fabulous and so are the little thin fruit things. Maybe I'll look up a recipe for them.

    I've sure enjoyed your vacation Susan. Thanks for taking us along.

  11. Susan, Thanks for the food tour. It is fascinating. Now I have to go back and read a few of your previous posts. I have been away from the computer lately.

  12. All these dishes looked so delish!!! Loved the look of the last one, the dessert...lol...I thought that was a dark chocolate in the cup, I guessed wrong.

    I didn't realize potatoes were so popular over there, how interesting. And so many ways to fix them.

  13. I think these little fruits are called Cape Gooseberries Susan - I have had them as a garnish with pigeon breasts in a restaurant once or twice before . . . I am now off to look them up!