The region’s position at a geographical crossroads between mountains and sea, France and Spain is reflected in its diverse cuisine.
Traditional ingredients in the south and east feature olive oil, tomatoes, aubergines and Catalan cuisine.
Try delicious ‘Rouille a la Setoise’ - cuttlefish in tomatoes and saffron. The Catalan dish of meatballs made with onions, and olives in a tomato and herb sauce known as ‘boles de Picoulat’ is popular, and ‘crème catalane’ flavoured with lemon peel, fennel seed and cinnamon bark. Some wine bars in Roussillon offer tapas-style dishes.
Pork, wild mushrooms and truffles, dried beans, lentils and chestnuts are common ingredients in the north and west. Cassoulet, ‘invented’ in Castelnaudary, - a slow cooked casserole of white haricot beans, goose, duck or sausages - is a staple in Languedoc.
The Mediterranean provides a tempting variety of fish from anchovies to sea bass and salt cod. Enjoy shellfish from the Basin de Thau, red rice from the Camargue, and honey, strawberries and herbs from the garrigue. Fruit and figs are on sale by the roadside in June, grapes arrive in September, along with wild mushrooms, chestnuts and walnuts from the mountains.
Taste cheeses such as Pelardon des Cevennes - a rich goats’ cheese - with one of Herault’s good table wines, soft Fitou from the coast or sparkling Balanquette de Limoux.