Gascony is regarded by many as the gastronomic heart of France, and its delights attract numerous visitors, particularly the French themselves. Ducks and Geese are certainly part of the Gascon landscape - it is said there are more ducks than people living here! Foie Gras dates from Roman times, it is delicious pan-fried with apples, or cold with grapes on toasted brioche accompanied by a local sweet wine.
Confit, another traditional dish from Roman times, is a preserve of the best parts of the duck cooked in their own fat. Magret an original Gascon term, describes the fillet of a goose or duck, and although a relative newcomer to the region it is one of the most delicious meals to savour. Canned or bottled varieties of all are available throughout Gascony at fêtes, farms and shops, and make ideal gifts for those at home - if you can bear to part with them.
Vineyards were present in Gascony long before the Gallo-Roman era. Madiran, traditionally the red wine taken during mass, is rich in tannin, full bodied and well constructed.
The dry or sweet whites exude complex perfumes of fruit and flowers. The quality of the red, white and rosé wines of Cotes de Saint-Mont and Cotes de Gascogne have now become wines of unquestionable quality. Other wines worthy of note are those from the Pau area, Jurançon, The Béarn and Buzet. Do visit the 'caves' to find your favourite.
Two aperitif wines have become very popular : Floc de Gascogne, a combination of malt from fresh grapes and Armagnac, prepared according to an old peasant tradition. Available in red or white, it is excellent with melons, foie gras, desserts and fresh fruit. A relatively modern favourite are the delicious Tariquet wines which are becoming very popular. A well known regional apératif is Pousse Rapier, which is wonderful as a cocktail with champagne.
The Gers is of course most famous for one of oldest spirits in the world Armagnac, the king of eaux-de-vies. Armagnac production is divided into three areas - Bas Armagnac, Armagnac-Tenareze and Haute-Armagnac. This now world renowned fiery drink is also used in many fruit based products, such as prunes-in-Armagnac, or in Gascon cocktails. Other well known products of the area are of course the famous Agen prunes and Lectoure melons. Then there is the 'Croustade' or 'Pastis Gascon' a heavenly dessert made up of many layers of golden, transparent, wafer thin petals of golden pastry over a filling of apples, prunes and Armagnac, ( a secret recipe pasted to generations)...utterly irresistible and a must!
There are many fine regional restaurants only a short drive from the villa, you will find a list of the best of these along with full information about events and activities, in your welcome pack. Everything is done to make the days, weeks and months go by in the shared pleasure of socialising together, and enjoying all the riches that the Gers has to offer. It is a perfect mixture of culture, history and country living.