With its 740,300 acres (2,996km2) of vineyards, the Languedoc-Roussillon region will surely always be associated with some of the world’s finest wines. However, it should come as no surprise that this routinely goes hand in hand with truly great food.
Whether you tuck into a beautifully prepared Fruits de Mer at Grussian or a “bouillabaisse” fish stew or head to one of the local markets to pick up some Mediterranean fish, meat, vegetables and poultry, among a host of other options, you certainly won’t forget your eating and dining experience in this part of the south of France.
There’s always delightful new-season produce on show in the colourful open air markets where you can perhaps best appreciate the locals’ “fresh is best” philosophy towards country cuisine. Olonzac Market on Tuesday mornings is a must and St Chinian Market is great fun too on Sunday! . This is also a corner of France where goose fat is regularly used, instead of the olive oil favoured in nearby regions.
It won’t take long after you have arrived at your bed and breakfast in Languedoc for you to learn the names of some of the region’s most popular dishes, from cassoulet to l’anchoïade, la morue and langouste à la sétoise to gigot à l’ail, tians de legumes and civet de lapin et lièvre. Rural and coastal specialities are complemented by the finest fruit, honey, cheeses and wines, all helping to make a sample of the Languedoc’s culinary delights one of the best ways to discover the region.
Livestock breeding centres, vineyards and farms all yield the produce that has become so markedly associated with Languedoc-Roussillon. Herbs of the Provencal garrigue (scrubland) like savory, bay, rosemary and thyme are used to flavour all manner of garlic, basil and olive oil based recipes.
Head to the local ports of Agde, Marseillan and Sete on any day, and you’ll probably see the fresh fish being caught. Indeed, it was Mediterranean fishermen who first used what is now known as “bouillabaisse” as a simple soup. Today, this dish is flavoured with some of the region’s most typical condiments, including garlic, leeks, onions, olive oil, tomatoes or herbs.
Plus, of course, don’t forget to visit the numerous vineyards in Mirepeisset and surrounding villages. From red, white and rose varieties to sweet, sparkling and varietals, there’s a little something for everyone in the region’s wine offering – so take your time to revel in it all.