Bordeaux in Aquitaine is considered by most French people as the greatest wine producing region in the world and the premier red wines from here are held up as a standard to the rest of the world. The wine growing area is huge and varied and although most people are aware of the most famous names such as Pétrus or Mouton-Rothschild, they may not be aware that the vinyers of Bordeaux have developed the wine world’s oldest (and extremely complex) hierarchy. Wines which carry the appellation Bordeaux AOC are considered ordinary, within this area are wines with their own appellation. There are also appellations linked to just one village or one plot of land even. The individual chateaux, the wine estates, are the truest indication of a good wine. The chateaux are divided into 5 divisions of crus classes, and the higher the classification the higher the price of the wine. Around 2000 of the chateaux open their doors to the public for wine tasting and buying direct from the growers.
Aquitaine is a region rich in agriculture and famous for its wines and this is celebrated throughout the villages of the area where celebrations are held in honour of local products throughout the year. Bayonneham is feted at Easter in a festival that goes back almost 600 years. Périgord black truffles are famous through the world – there’s even a truffle museum and you can attend a festival and market dedicated to the truffle in January. In the summer oyster festivals abound on the beautiful Bay of Arcachon.
Other regional cuisine favourites from Aquitaine include top quality lamb from the Pyrenees such as “Agneau de Pauillac”, fish from the Bay of Biscay, oysters from Arachon and cheeses. As if that weren’t enough the region is also famed for its beef cattle including Blonde d’Aquitaine, Boeuf de Chalosse, Boeuf Gras de Bazas, and Garonnaise. Armagnac is also from this region, and high quality prunes from Agen are known throughout France and often used in dishes from the region.
Gascony and Périgord cuisines includes high quality patés, terrines, confits and magrets. This is one of the regions notable for its production of foie gras or fattened goose or duck liver. The cuisine of the region is often heavy and farm based. A local dish, Garbure – a thick soup with cabbage, beans, salted meats and goose conserve – will leave you full!
Check with local tourist information offices for regional food tours in the area and special food festivals.
You can find here more information about Aquitaine