One of the pleasures of travelling in a new region of France is the opportunity to sample (indulge in?) the local foods. Are you familiar with l’aligot? Fouace? Farçous? La flaune? Roquefort? I wanted to share information about some Aveyron specialties and restaurants that I especially enjoyed and recommend. One thing you will notice is that the prices are quite reasonable.
5 Aveyron Specialties To Try
Aligot d’Aubrac is an Aveyron specialty and is also known as “ruban de l’amitié” (ribbon of friendship). It is basically mashed potatoes with butter, cream, garlic, and an Aveyron cheese, such as tomme of Laguiole. It originates from the Aubrac area of the Aveyron region.
I had aligot for the first time at Le Coq de la Place in Rodez. I didn’t have an appetite so I just had aligot plus a salad and a glass of wine.
Is aligot incredibly rich? Yes. And a bit salty, but delicious. It used to be served as a meal but is now served on the side, often with a local sausage such as a Toulouse sausage.
In the Aveyron, farçous can often be found at markets and often with meals. They are deep-fried fritters made with vegetables and herbs and can have meat (pork). Farçous was served with my meal in Rodez and I saw many people purchasing a half dozen at the market, perhaps to be a meal on its own.
Orange blossom water is the key ingredient in this brioche-like sweet bread called fouace. It can be served with Roquefort cheese on top where the mixture of salty and sweet flavours make for an interesting flavour. It is also served on its own, perhaps at breakfast. You don’t have to buy a whole loaf either. I bought a slice of fouace at the Maison Demur bakery in Najac. The boulangerie, Du Pain et Des Idées in Paris also had it for sale, by the slice.
4. La Flaune
La flaune originates from the Larzac area in the Aveyron. It is a flan and similar to cheesecake; however, two of the main ingredients are from the Aveyron: recuite—whey cheese from sheep’s milk (annealing) and orange blossom water. Those ingredients plus eggs and sugar are mixed and put on top of the shortcrust pastry (which is not as sweet as shortbread). It is then baked and served. I had this for dessert in Brousse-le-Château.
5. Roquefort Cheese
It goes without saying that when you visit the Aveyron you’ll constantly encounter Roquefort cheese at your meal, whether it be as a sauce, in a salad, or on a burger (as mine was at La Cave des Saveurs in Roquefort-sur-Soulzon).
You either love Roquefort or find it way too pungent and strong. I think it’s an acquired taste and when it’s eaten alone, yes that’s when it’s the strongest. So if you want to experiment, try the cheese as part of a dish. You may be pleasantly surprised.
6 Aveyron Restaurants To Consider
1. Rodez: La Gargouille
Located just behind Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption de Rodez is La Gargouille (The Gargoyle), a highly rated restaurant where I ate on the terrace. I had the “L’Assiette d’Aveyronnaise” which consisted of local specialties of Tomme cheese (prepared as a gratin) and farçous served with duck brochettes, seasonal vegetables, salad, and foie gras.
I also paired it with a local rosé wine, (VIn L’Estaing AOC). Excellent service and food.
- Highly recommend.
- Cost for dinner: 27.20 €
La Gargouille: 1 Pl. d’Estaing, 12000 Rodez
2. Rodez: Café Bras
If you’re going to visit Musée Soulages, make a reservation to have lunch at its restaurant, Café Bras. It was recommended by my Airbnb hosts and others and it did not disappoint. Owners and creative chefs Michel and Sébastien Bras wanted Le Café Bras to be a natural extension of the Musée Soulages. Their dishes are inventive and they use local ingredients. Café Bras is considered a branch of their (very expensive) 2-star Michelin restaurant, Le Suquet, located in the north region of the Aveyron in the village of Laguiole.
This very modern, chic restaurant is spacious but has separate rooms to make it cozier. I had a table with bar stools all to myself and ordered the Menu du Jour: Pea Tart, braised beef cheeks, and an eclair for dessert. The entrée and main course may sound weird but they certainly were not. There are mixed reviews with some saying it’s overpriced and others saying it’s innovative. I personally thought the food was very creative and delicious.
Tarte aux petits pois + crème anisée au chèvre salade de carottes fanes au cumin—-aka, a Pea Tart but it was much more creative and delicious than it sounds. The ingredients included peas, carrots, aniseed, goat cheese cream and cumin. They were placed on top of a puff-pastry-like base.
(b) Main Course
Braised beef cheeks. Ordinarily, I would stay away from “cheeks” but I decided to be adventurous and have to say the beef was delicious and very tender…like pot roast, but better. it was served with beans, kohlrabi, and braising juice. On the side was a warm grains and asparagus salad.
I had an éclair; however, this one had local Gariguette strawberries and white chocolate whipped cream. I could have eaten another one it was so good.
- Highly recommend. Note: Lunch is served daily but dinner is only available on Saturdays.
- Cost for lunch (with a glass of wine): 42.5 €
Café Bras: Jardin Public du Foirail, Av. Victor Hugo, 12000 Rodez
3. Millau: Côté Marché
The restaurant, Côte Marché faces Place Maréchal Foch, a quiet square where I watched swing dancers the day before. The entrée, plat, and a glass of wine were all very good. I started with a chèvre salad that had local goat cheese (cassolette de Cabécou de Causse), and perfectly cooked Sea bass that came with rice.
The service is friendly and the food is well priced. There are many local products and many people rave about the Moules Roquefort. I was lucky to get a table without a reservation, so if you want to dine here, make a reservation.
- Highly recommend
- Cost for dinner: 29.5€
Côté Marché: 10 Pl. Maréchal Foch, 12100 Millau
4. Peyre: L’Estival
The views and the food were top notch at L’Estival, in Peyre, which is just outside of Millau. I asked the owner what she recommended and she said to have the Assiette du Coin because of all the local ingredients. Good choice. It was comprised of a green salad with roasted potatoes, farçous, Roquefort cheese placed on top of a slice of fouace, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin seeds, and radishes.
For dessert I had a tarte meringuée framboise—-a raspberry tart topped with meringue.
L’Estival is not expensive, the salads are huge, and the views are to die for. Visit Peyre (one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France) after lunch to wear off the calories. There’s some climbing to do!
- Highly recommend.
- Cost for lunch: 23.5 € (Cash only)
L’Estival: Peyre, 12100 Millau
5. Brousse-le-Château: Le Relays du Chasteau
I had lunch at the lovely Le Relays du Chasteau in Brousse-le-Château, which is one of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. It is both a hotel and restaurant that sits beside the Tarn river and is by the bridge that leads you to the immense Château de Brousse. In fact, Le Relays is the only hotel in town and you can’t beat the location for lunch. Perfect views of the medieval castle and church perched on the rock.
I was fortunate to get a table for lunch as I had not made a reservation. The meal was absolutely delicious: goat cheese salad where the goat cheese was in phyllo pastry with radishes, tomatoes, and peppers. Honey was lightly drizzled on top. I also had a pichet (25cl) of rosé wine. Dessert was an Aveyron specialty: la flaune. Le Relays is known to serve many local dishes.
Do consider making reservations and having lunch here. You might as well because the castle is closed until 2 pm.
- Highly recommend.
- Cost for lunch: 23.60€
Le Relays du Chasteau: 12480 Brousse-le-Château
7. Roquefort-sur-Soulzon: La Cave des Saveurs
La Cave des Saveurs restaurant seemed to be the only restaurant open in Roquefort-sur-Soulzon when I was there (May). Roquefort Société runs a popular restaurant that, of course, has many dishes with their Roquefort cheese! Roquefort is known as the “King of Cheeses”.
Even though I had had my share of Roquefort cheese from my cave visits I did order the restaurant’s famous “Roq’ Burger”. At first glance, it looked TOO enormous to finish….but, I ate THE WHOLE THING and it was delicious!
Just what was in this enormous burger? In a brioche bun was Aubrac beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onion chutney, Aligot d’Aubrac, and Roquefort cheese. It comes with fries and a side salad.
- Highly recommend.
- Cost for lunch: 15 €
La Cave des Saveurs: Rue de la Créance, 12250 Roquefort-sur-Soulzon
Do you have any favourite Aveyron specialties and restaurants?
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