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Where to eat in Aveyron

By Ann | November 21, 2013

vines

vache

Aveyron is known as la France profonde — deep France, in-the-sticks France — and, indeed, I’ve met many French people who have barely heard of it, let alone been there. Located about 350 miles south of Paris, the lack of high-speed TGV or direct train service means the region has remained relatively inaccessible.

Aveyron is a landscape of mountains that plunge to river valleys, twisty roads, and cows — the famous Aubrac race — grazing in high pastures. I’ve heard Parisians describe the local cuisine as “costaud,” or heavy (but you know how critical Parisians are), and indeed it’s hearty fare, famous for dishes like truffade (mashed potatoes mixed with bacon and cheese, fried into a golden pancake), farçous (herb-enhanced fritters), raw-cured sausages and ham, and aligot, a fine potato purée beaten with fresh cheese until it resembles molten lava. The rough and ready region is also home to the celebrated three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Michel et Sébastien Bras.

michel bras

aligot bras

Where to eat in Aveyron?

My suggestions focus in and around Laguiole, in the central part of the region.

Restaurant de l’Aubrac (17 allée de l’Amicale, Laguiole, tel: 05065 44 32 13) draws crowds of locals and tourists for its magnificent aligot, so gooey and cheesy that our waitress actually climbed on a chair to tame the molten lava-like strands so she could serve it to us. Choose from an array of Aubrac beef in various forms (steak, pot au feu) to accompany the potatoes.

Michel et Sébastien Bras (Route de l’Aubrac, Laguiole, tel: 05 65 51 18 20) continues to earn all of its three Michelin stars, with its beautiful, thoughtful, heartfelt, poetic food — food that tells a story. Of all the Michelin-starred restaurants I’ve eaten at (granted, there haven’t been many), this was my absolute favorite. (Check out this post for a detailed report of my meal.)

chez delbouis

farçous de cathy

mon assiette

Delbouis Les Bessades (Les Bessades Montpeyroux, tel: 05 65 44 40 11) is, to me, on par with Chez Bras. It’s a local farmhouse kitchen where Cathy Delbouis serves up recipes that have been passed down for generations. Most of the ingredients are produced on the farm and the food is honest and simple and true. There is usually charcuterie from a pig slaughtered and cured by Cathy’s own hands, and parsley-flecked fritters eaten with her homemade red current jam (see photos above), and some sort of roast — chicken, perhaps — local cheese and fruit. I’ve eaten some of my favorite meals in France here — then again, I’m biased: if you’ve read my book, you know Cathy is a friend. Make sure to call ahead for a reservation.

fromage de laguiole

cheese library

Coopérative Fromagère Jeune Montagne (Laguiole, tel: 05 65 44 35 54) is a factory producing fromage de Laguiole (a hard, sharp cheese like cheddar), and tome fraîche (squeaky and clean, used to make aligot), as well as frozen aligot, and other products, all sold in the adjacent store. (That’s me in the photo above, taking notes on the factory floor.)

Coopérative du vin d’Estaing (l’Escaillou, tel: 05 65 44 04 42) is where our friends, Didier and Alain (of Le Mistral fame), produce their wine.

cobwebs

*

Hungry for more? Today’s post is a companion to my new book, Mastering the Art of French Eating, a food memoir that Library Journal says “is sure to delight lovers of France, food, or travel.”

Curious? Order your copy here:
*Amazon
*Barnes and Noble
*Books-A-Million
*Indiebound
*iTunes

And more from the series, Where to Eat in France.

Topics: Mastering the Art of French Eating, Where to eat in France | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Where to eat in Aveyron”

  1. Robin Katsaros Says:
    November 21st, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Fabulous post, Ann! So descriptive and visually tantalizing, especially with the accompanying photos. Mouthwatering, all. The highest compliment! Thanks for sharing and being the “eyes, ear’s, mouth” for those of us who can’t quite make it to all four corners of France. With you as our guide, it’s a great plan B!

  2. Jill C (MadAboutMacarons) Says:
    November 21st, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Our most warmest friends are from the Aveyron and they’re so into their cheeses (read, don’t serve dessert!) With your book and your posts I so want to return and this time try out your addresses. Chapeau to you, Ann!

  3. Meg Says:
    November 21st, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    in my nearly 40 years in France, I’ve never been to the Aveyron. But now I know I have to get there! Thanks for the irresistible post, Ann.

  4. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) Says:
    November 22nd, 2013 at 3:16 am

    I need to check this region out – and of course, Michel Bras too. On the (neverending) list!

  5. Heather in Arles Says:
    November 22nd, 2013 at 10:48 am

    The safari tent that we rent in the summer is right on the border between L’Herault and the Averyron. We have had a hint of its beauty and really want to explore more. Plus the quiet! One day we counted the cars that passed because it was surprisingly busy…three! :)
    Bisous et Bon Weekend,
    H

  6. Sandy Maberly Says:
    November 22nd, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting la France profonde and didn’t know what I was missing. The food looks scrumptious, especially the salad with flower petals in it! Of course the cheese is always something to look forward to, no matter where you go in France. It’s not quite dinner time yet but my mouth is already watering!

  7. CK Says:
    November 23rd, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    This is a truly beautiful region. Go for the food, certainly, but there are some incredibly charming small towns, such as Conques, Entraygues and Estaing. Espalion has a very good Friday market.

  8. Parisbreakfast Says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I bumped into Aveyron two times this week.
    First the Aveyron chef at Les Climats serving maison Conquet saussison and then at le Salon des Coqs D’Or I got to buy directly from them!
    http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.fr/2013/11/poujauran-et-le-salon-des-coqs-d.html
    I wish there were captions under your pictures…
    Looks terrific

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