The inhabitants of the Tarn-and-Garonne area take a lot of pride in their home grown produce and traditional cooking knowledge. This is reflected in the amount of nearby food markets and quality of the local restaurants.
If you'd like to sample some of the traditional delicacies of the region why not purchase some specialties such as truffles, crepes, wild boar, duck, veal, pink garlic, echaudés biscuits, jambon de lacaune, pumpkin pancakes and cheeses all of which can be accompanied by gaillac wines. To find out what markets run on what days click here.
* A comprehensive list of the nearest and best restaurants in the area can be found in the property.
In the North on the limestone plateau around Cordes and Castelnau-de-Montmirail the truffle oaks grow. The forests of Grésigne, Sivens and Bouysse are good places to pick up mushrooms (ceps) and great for hunting wild boars. Le civet de sanglier (wild boar stew) is a local specialty here. There a great number of goose and duck farms in the area providing top quality meat.
Head west if you are a chocolate lover. In the main square in Lisle-sur-Tarn you will find the Museum of the Art of Chocolate, where sculptor and chocolatier work together to create astounding pieces of art.
The Midi-Pyrénées is widely known for its blend of French and Spanish cuisine which combines to create beautifully rich dishes.
In Central Tarn, in the Tarn and Agout valleys, fruits and vegetables grow easily thanks to the wet and sunny climate. The specialties here are strawberries, cherries, apples, onions and garlic. Lautrec is also famous for its flour mill and bread. The Gaillac vineyards are devoted to Gaillac wines. But a little north some Eau-de-Vie and Liqueurs are distilled in the traditional way in Villeneuve-sur-Vere and served in the best French restaurants.
In the South-east, on the Monts de Lacaune, pork breeding is highly developed. The most famous high-end product is La Bonheta and Jambon de Lacaune (Label Rouge: a guarantee of quality).
Ovine and bovine farms allow for the production of cheeses such as Blanche d'Oc, Mont de Saint-Pierre, Mont de Lacaune and curd cheese.
The Midi-Pyrénées region is famous for the rich diversity of wines produced in the area. The three different climates dictated by the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts as well as the Pyrenean Mountains have allowed the vineyards to cultivate multiple types of grapes which go into the numerous varieties of Midi-Pyrénées wines.
The diversity of the grapes has allowed the wine of the Midi-Pyrénées region to develop its magnificent reputation for original rich aromas with distinctive taste and character.
The history of the area is inexplicably tied to the production of wine. In the Middle Ages the Catholic Church set up many abbeys and monasteries throughout the region. The Monks who lived in the Abbeys practised viticulture as a part of their monastic lifestyle. The monks were responsible for much of the vineyard development and shaped the landscape that remains to this day.
If you're a wine enthusiast and would like to dedicate part of your trip to tasting and discovering the different wines of the Midi-Pyrénées make sure you visit the official tourist board website where you can find details of festivals and events, suggested wine tour routes and information about some of the most prolific wine producers in the region.
Other than tasting the myriad selection of wines and visiting the vineyards, one of the best ways to appreciate the vine planting is by air. Several operators offer such tours in hot air balloons, helicopters and gliders. Visit the Midi-Pyrénées pleasure flights page for tour operator information.