Languedoc-Roussillon may not be known as the gastronomic centre of
France but it has some regional specialities and the quality of food is
generally good. Perhaps the best known regional dish is Cassoulet, from
Castelnaudry, a rich pork, duck and white bean stew. Nîmes is famous for
its salt cod dish, Brandade de Morue, Pézenas for its Petits Pâtés, Sète
for its cuttlefish Rouille a la Sètoise, and Collioure for its
anchovies. Due to its history, and its position on the trade routes from
east to west and north to south, various foods have been adopted and
assimilated, such as Italian pizzas, Spanish rice and seafood dishes and
Local ingredients are fresh and readily available in markets around the
region which reflect the seasonal nature of the produce.
Local fish from the Mediterranean include tuna, sardines, anchovies,
bream and sea bass; seafood includes squid, octopus, and cuttlefish.
Oysters and mussells are cultivated in the Étang de Thau, between Sète
Local cheeses include world-famous Roquefort blue cheese as well as less
well known local goats cheeses, such as Pélardon and Crotin. From the
Lozere and Pyrenées a variety of mild Tommes sheep milk cheeses are also
readily available. Going north into the Auverge one encounters cows milk
cheeses such as Cantal and St. Nectaire.
Olives and olive oil are widely produced in the Languedoc. The Lucque is
native to the region and is a good eating olive. Oils are light in
flavour and good for salads. Sea Salt (Fleur de Sel) is produced in
Aigues Mortes, located in the Camargue, a region which is also famous
for its beef. Herbs grow wild in the low mountain areas known as the
Garrigues, and honey is also produced here. Fruit is grown in Roussillon.
Languedoc has its share of Michelin starred restaurants, like the two
star Jardin des Sens in Montpellier specializing in Mediterranean
cuisine. Its interesting modern architecture and stunning interior,
combined with its innovative food has won many fans. However it is the
small local restaurants that surprise, and the ambiance, location and
friendliness of service can be equally important factors when assessing
the overall pleasure of a dining experience.
Here we will be adding descriptions of some of the smaller restaurants
we enjoy in the Languedoc which, hopefully, will capture the ambiance
that makes them successful. These restaurants may not appear in the
Michelin Guide, though one or two may appear in Gault Millau. I hope you
enjoy the descriptions and come away with a sense of the pleasure of
lunching and dining in the Languedoc, which is not always just about the food.
Le Petit Nice
Auberge de la Croisade