The Auvergne region – a volcanic, richly lush and rustic oasis in the very heartland of France – is known for many things in culinary circles. It has a burgeoning reputation for high-end dining, and its AOP-labelled cheeses (Saint-Nectaire, Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert, Salers and Cantal) are fit to adorn the finest of cheese platters. Similarly, its famous Puy lentils enjoy a mighty reputation as a satisfying filler that is full of flavour.
But there are other products made with great skill, and no little passion, that are worth seeking out. Charroux Mustard, for one. Created in a mill in this Plus Beau Village de France, this fiery accoutrement is made by blending mustard seeds, vinegar and white wine from Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule, made with a local grape variety known as Tressallier. A wide range of mustards is available, including purple mustard made with Saint-Pourçain red wine.
Talking of which, Auvergne is also enjoying a boost in its reputation as a producer of this notable tipple. The wines of this appellation are considered by some an extension of the Loire Valley wines, with 640 hectares of vineyards spread over 19 towns. Whites are largely Chardonnay-based while reds are made with Gamay and Pinot Noir.
For further tasty details on Auvergne, visit www.auvergne-tourism.com
From France Today magazine