The regional dishes of Auvergne tend to be simple, rustic food, nothing fancy just hearty tasty fare.
The region is famous for its Charolais beef, raised for its superior meat while beautiful Salers cows provide milk for cheese making. Auvergne is renowned for the quality of its pork products and the crisp mountain air is perfect for drying hams and curing sausages.
Most of the regional dishes of Auvergne combine pork with staples from the garden such as cabbage and potatoes reflecting the hard times of days gone by – dishes like Soupe au Chou, made with cabbage, pork, potatoes, and lard (salt pork). Potée Auvergnate is another traditional dish – a hotpot which includes cabbage and potatoes, leeks, carrots, turnips and pork meat. Tiny green lentils from Le Puy, grown on volcanic soil, have a distinctive and refined flavour. Other specialties include Aligot made from melted cheese blended into mashed potatoes, often with some garlic and usually accompanied by grilled, fresh sausages and Tripoux (or Tripous) – a dish made with small bundles of sheep tripe, usually stuffed with sheep’s feet, sweetbreads and various herbs and garden vegetables. There are a number of variations on this dish, but they generally all involve savoury ingredients held together with sheep tripe and braised over low heat.
Auvergne is also known for its cheese. The winters in the region can be particularly harsh and the cows are kept in protected winter quarters. When the warmer summer months arrive the cows are moved to the fertile mountainous pastures and it’s this lush grass and mountain flower diet that it said to make the milk the cows produce so good in the production of cheese with one of the best known being the Bleu d’Auvergne, which was created in 1854 by a producer of Fourme de Roquefort. After he noticed the formation of fungus on his bread, he tried to mix the same fungus with the cheese. He later pierced the cheese so that the air could enter into it and help the development of the blue mould. Nowadays the cheese is inoculated with Penicillin Roquefort.