Truffles and Mushrooms


Truffle lovers will find Le Lot home to an wide array of truffles and truffle products, from the expensive black truffles hiding under oak trees in the limestone cracked soil of "Le Causse" to truffle oils and truffle salts. The Lotois also take advantage of the market for "Summer truffles" which grow on oak vines nurtured over many year. The prime season for truffle hunting runs from December to March. Join truffles hunts or visit the villages of Lalbenque (Tuesday at 14:00) and Limogne (Friday mornings) to find your perfect truffle.  Regional pasta and omelette specialties also present a must-have culinary experience.


Regional Specialties


Tourists will find no shortage of reasonable to upscale establishments to sample the region’s traditional gastronomy. Expect pâté, fois gras or charcuterie in entrée, côte d'agneau or magret de canard for the main, and a local cabécou (goat) and/or cantal entre-deux (cow) cheese followed by dessert. Truffles, girolle and cèpe mushrooms abound. Although the days of workmen breaking for prix fixe lunches and wine in villages restaurants that could be confused for homes are almost over, hidden gems remain for those who know where to go. Don't forget the local markets. Regional specialties include:


  • Truffles and mushrooms
  • Goat cheese
  • Cahors wine
  • Lamb, duck and country ham 
  • Paté and Foie gras
  • Saffron

FOOD AND WINE

Wine


Those hoping for the refinement of a Bordeaux or a Côtes du Rhône grape need not order a bottle of Cahors wine. The Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) requires that the dark Malbec grape make up a minimum 70 percent of a vintage with notes added usually of Merlot and Tannat. Cahors' winemaking tradition dates all the way back to Roman times when the city's vineyards were renown for producing a "black wine". That tradition survives to this day. Day trips or organized tours to the surrounding vineyards of Cahors provide tourists an opportunity to discover the subtler vintages of this enduring wine.     

Saffron


Homegrown saffron is a staple in many households in Le Lot and an important part of the regions culinary tradition. Larger scale production is led by a cooperative group of farmers surrounding the village of Cajarc, whose rich soil bordering the Lot River is well suited to Safron cultivation. The 48-hour picking season for saffron blossoms takes place in October.  Cajarc's fall festival during the last week of October offers visitors not only a unique variety of the spice but saffron cheeses, jams and pates. Saffron in Le Lot is approximately EURO 30 a gram.

Paté and foie gras


Paté and foie gras are among Le Lot's best known products. Known as a luxury product outside of France's producing regions, the area's foie gras tradition reflects a very high quality at reasonable prices. Restaurants offer preparations ranging from foie gras on a Salade Quercynoise to pan-seared on high heat with toasts finished with sweet fig marmalade and coarse salt. Paté is a staple on the dinner table of every home as a traditional entrée before the meal. The Lotois pride themselves on home made pate but it may also be found at every charcuterie or market. Pâté de champagne (rustic preparation) and rillettes (rich and stringy) are the local specialties.  

live le lot

Lamb, Duck, Veal & Ham 


The Lot benefits from an abundance of local farmers (agriculteurs) raising livestock with open air best practices. The Lotois enjoy a diet rich in lamb (Côtes d'agneau or gigot), duck (Confit or magret), veal (Generally grilled on an open flame) and ham (Jambon de pays or blanc). Dishes are often served with a potato dish and parsley (Often pommes de terre sautées). Continue here for a listing of Le Lot's best butcheries. 


Regional Cheeses 


Although Le Lot is home to several specialties, the region is best known for the (339 tons in farm production and 732 tons in artisan production). goat cheese. The most recognizable variety of the cheese takes its name from a producer association surrounding the cliff city of Rocamadour. Restaurants and vendors offer Cabecous ripened to different ages. Young Cabecous (two to three weeks old) is generally paired with salads or toasts. The stronger tasted of aged Cabecous is generally paired with country bread as part of the cheese platter at the end of meals.