This department in the southwest holds a well-deserved gastronomic reputation. The quality and variety of the products combined with the skill of the cooks plays an important role in the flavours and diversity of dishes. The art of cuisine in the Lot and Garonne is a perfect blend of “land of Cockaigne” (land of plenty), exceptional products and culinary heritage.
The Lot and Garonne has a tradition of providing good food. Sitting round a table and sharing laughter and chat with family and friends is part of the way of life in the Lot and Garonne.
There is a great variety of fruit and vegetables with dishes that are well balanced for a healthy diet. Each dish can be served with the appropriate wine as the Lot and Garonne offers a great range of grape varieties.
First of all, let’s talk about the emblem of the departement: the Agen prune. The prune perfectly compliments sweet and salty dishes. Other famous products include the Marmande tomato; this has a fleshy pulp that can be eaten raw or cooked. On the fruit side, the Garriguette (a variety of strawberry) makes excellent strawberry tarts, strawberry charlottes and strawberry cakes. The “tourtière aux pruneaux” (prune tart), or Armagnac flavoured apple tart, is also a traditional dessert that will delight foodies. This delicious pastry has a very light texture thanks to the many layers of puff pastry and soft fruit. A real delicacy!
During summer, we stock up on low calorie, healthy products: asparagus, courgettes, green beans, melons… They may be the main ingredient in traditional recipes or simply act as excellent starters. On the meat side… how can we possibly talk of this southwest region without mentioning the fattened duck? Foie gras, which can be prepared in a variety of ways, awaken our taste buds; confits and magrets de canard (breast and leg of duck) are used in many exciting recipes which have been passed down through the generations. The “bœuf blond d’Aquitaine" is a savoury and tasty meat and can be eaten grilled, fried, stewed or roasted.
The Lot and Garonne cuisine is a gourmet cuisine. This region offers traditional cuisine of hearty and classic recipes but it also has a “new cuisine”, full of colours, just like their fruit and vegetables.
Make shortbread pastry
In a bowl mix the flour, butter and sugar. Add the egg yolk and water. Knead and leave to stand.
While waiting, prepare a custard cream:
Boil the milk and the vanilla pod. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until the mix becomes very light in colour. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk. Add the flour and pour in the milk while mixing gently. Return to the heat until the mixture begins to simmer. Roll out the shortbread pastry and line a buttered dish with it. Cover the pastry with non-stick parchment. Cook blind for 20 minutes at 180°C. Leave to stand. Pour the custard over the bottom of the shortbread crust and top with strawberries. Serve chilled.
Pit the prunes. Roll the bacon rashers round the prunes. Alternate duck sliver and prunes on the skewers. Season with oil, salt and pepper then grill the skewers. (You can vary the recipe by replacing the smoked bacon with rashers of smoked magret (duck), or replace the duck slivers with duck magret.
Remove the tomato skins by dipping them in boiling water. Remove the seeds and cut the tomatoes into dice. Cut the feta cheese into small cubes. Put the tomatoes and feta in a bowl, add the finely shredded basil, season with olive oil, salt and pepper and put in the fridge for 30minutes. Serve in verrine glasses.