The Languedoc region of France is the birthplace of the famous dish cassoulet. As a foodie traveling here, I have to try out this local specialty. I had it before in northern France and loved it, although it's not something that I want to eat daily as it's quite heavy.
The name Cassoulet came from its cooking container, the round casserole pot. Usually, it contains duck, sausages, pork skin, white beans, and sometimes goose or mutton depending on the recipe of a certain place or cook. The ingredients are slowly cooked into a rich hearty stew. If you are also interested, here's a video of how to make cassoulet by French Cooking Academy.
I read that the town of Castelnaudary claimed to be the birthplace of cassoulet. It's said that when the town was under siege by the British during the Hundred Years War, the locals gathered all the ingredients they could find to make cassoulet to serve their defenders. And of course, the magic power of cassoulet helped them defeat the enemy... A local organization called The Grand Brotherhood of the Cassoulet of Castelnaudary even organizes annual cassoulet fairs and competitions. However, like other famed dishes, the exact origin is always under debate. We first planned to try out cassoulet in Castelnaudary, but the restaurant was closed then, so we bought a canned one from the nearby Maison du Cassoulet, where a variety of cassoulet is offered.
这家酒店餐厅叫Le Tournedos，从我下面的照片里可以看到。卡酥莱和烤大虾都很棒，强烈推荐！这里的砂锅炖菜是以油封鸭肉和图卢兹香肠为主料的，我以前写过油封鸭，是法国西南地区的特产。图卢兹香肠有黑胡椒调味，我觉得很好吃。谷歌地图上有人评论说这是镇上最好的砂锅菜，希望如此吧，反正也没尝试过镇上其他家的XD…… 餐厅外观虽不起眼，内饰环境却很宜人，供应的自酿红酒和咖啡品质也不错。小镇位于Corbières葡萄酒产区，有个葡萄酒博物馆。这家酒店餐厅前的小环岛上还立着一座葡萄标志的石头雕塑。
Their lovely business card says: "Don't insist, you won't get my recipe!" Haha:
Cassoulet is also popular in other towns of the same region, such as the well-known bigger ones Toulouse and Carcassonne. I once thought cassoulet is from Carcassonne for some reason XD. We also got canned cassoulet from the supermarkets in these places. While the restaurant where we had cassoulet and gambas is located in Lézignan-Corbières, a commune on the way to the coast.
The hotel restaurant is called Le Tournedos, as you can see from my photos here. We ordered gambas from their chef's suggestion menu, as well as the star stew cassoulet. Normally, you will need to wait for about half an hour before the cassoulet is ready to serve. So, we first enjoyed the huge grilled gambas. Both of them tasted divine, highly recommended! Here, the cassoulet used duck confit and Toulouse Sausage as the main meat. Someone on GoogleMap commented that this is the best cassoulet in town. I haven't tried other ones in town, but I hope so. :)
The house wine and coffee served here were also top quality. In fact, it's in the Corbières wine region and there is a Vine and Wine Museum in town. I saw a sculpture featuring grapes at the roundabout in front of this hotel restaurant.
图文 by Donica