One cannot talk about food in the Gironde without mentioning its wines – some of the world’s best vineyards can be found in the area. Bordeaux is the perfect base for discovering some of the best wines France has to offer, being surrounded by vineyards such as Medoc, Saint-Emilion or Entre Deux Mers. The perfect way to accompany a fine dinner, the cuisine of Gironde having no trouble matching the quality of its wines.
For starters, how about oysters from the Bay of Arcachon with a crisp dry white Graves, foie gras with a good Sauternes, or the season’s first asparagus from Blaye with just a little French dressing?
Gironde’s long Atlantic coastline, and 100km shoreline of the Bay of Arcachon, make it hardly surprising seafood figures prominently on most menus.
Choose between shrimps from the Gironde Estuary, king prawns from the Medoc (almost 50% of France’s total supply comes from here), grilled sea bass or a local speciality “anguilles a la medocaine” – eels cooked with prunes in wine. Have fun oyster-tasting “degustation” in the “cabanes” of picturesque fishing villages such as L’Herbe and Piraillan on the Cap Ferret Peninsula. The locals sometimes steam them over beds of pine needles!
If you tire of fish, there’s tender Pauillac lamb marinated in red wine and herbs, “entrecote marchand de vin” – rib steak in a rich Bordeaux wine gravy – and grilled spiced wood pigeon in season. Local patisseries everywhere stock the little Bordeaux cakes known as “caneles”. Crunchy outside and moist within with a hint of rum, there’s nothing better with your coffee.