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Gascony: more than just a region: a country - a gastronomical way of life


Looking at Gascony’s rich and diverse countryside throughout the seasons with its sweeping valleys and pure, clean air; it is little wonder that the area is widely known as French Tuscany. The region distinguishes itself from any other, not just through its beauty but also its local produce, be it the traditional foie gras, melon, garlic, Gascon wines or Armagnac, Gascony’s reputation is legendary. This is an agricultural area and proud of its local farmers. This sense of well-being is reflected in the traditionally warm and friendly nature of the locals. How could there be anything but such a sense of bien-être in an area where one lives and eats so well!


Gascony’s best kept secret, the longevity of its inhabitants, must surely owe much to the regional diet; yet another French paradox. Taste its local foie gras, magret de canard, confit de canard, “garbure” a local soup, patis or croustade a type of crusty apple pie, local melon (from Lectoure, of course !) or garlic from Saint Clar, the area’s largest producer. The area’s year round markets are a doorway to its culinary heart. Not that one would forget, but some mention should be made of the region’s wines and liquors: Gôtes de Gasconge, Madiran, Saint-Mont, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, Floc de Gascogne and of course, Armagnac itself.


The notion of time is very different here than anywhere else in France. It takes time: time to discover the region, time to taste and savour the flavours of the earth, time to fall under the spell of a new region, a whole new way of life. People are drawn here in search of tranquillity, in summer its population doubles, but the only real interruption to the region’s peace and quiet are the many summer festivals.


An area steeped in history throughout the centuries, each village has carefully preserved its own architectural and religious identity. Historically the gifts bestowed upon the land, were the many castles, dungeons and fortified buildings which the ancient Lords bestowed upon the land and which will stand out proudly on the horizon on any tour of the area. Last but not least, let us mention Gascony’s most famous hero, whose statue proudly graces the famous city steps of its capital Auch: Charles de Batz de Castelmore, better known as D’Artagnan.