live le lot

Lamb (Agneau)

​An Agneau is a young male sheep less than a year old. The Quercy is among the few French regions to earn the "Indication géographique protégée (IGP) label for lamb raising, a European Union level label signifying a product benefiting from specific traditions or culture within a geographic region. Quercy lamb is raised "under the mother" (breastfed naturally) for a minimum 70 days. The lamb is born, raised, fattened and slaughtered primarily in the Lot. Adjacent cantons of Corrèze, Aveyron, Tarn-et-Garonne, Lot-et-Garonne and Sarlat in the Dordogne carry the IGP label as well. Look for the Red Label designating superior quality of Quercy Lamb.

Pork (Porc)

​Although perhaps less popular than other regional meats and poultry, pork is commonly served as chipolata "Chipo" white sausages. Chipo's are made from moderately chopped pork encased in a natural casing. The Lotois generally pair thyme and sage seasoned chipos with merguez, a spicy lamb sausage, at barbecues. Roasted piglet and spring vegetables sometimes finds its way onto restaurant menus. Pork pâté, country ham, white ham and dried pork sausages are also ubiquitous in the region as a staple of Lotois gastronomy.  

Veal (Veau) et Le Beuf (Beef) 

Cattle raising is a significant part of the agricultural sector in Le Lot. Over 1,700 farm hold cattle for milk or meat production. Approximately 100,000 cattle are sold a year. Calves sold for veal and beef together comprise almost a fourth of Le Lot's agricultural product, more than 100 million euros. The farms are primarily located in the northeast of the department (Le ​​Ségala) where the cool and rainy climate of the mountainous terrain supports the grass needed for cattle raising.

Other duck products such as smoked duck breast and preserved duck gizzards and stuffed duck's neck are also paired in Quercynoise salads (Salade Quercynoise) for a light lunch.

The shepherding of lambs in one of the region's oldest traditions, dating to the beginning of the agricultural era and evidenced by the low rock walls that crisscross Le Lot. The Quercy's weather and terrain resulted in the development of a unique breed of sheep surnamed "Causses du Lot" with strong legs suited to the weather and terrain. Hot summers and cold winters led to the development of sheepfolds, protecting the lambs from the elements while their mothers graze. The region's rugged terrain favor high -egged ewes with the ability to graze on steep slopes with arid growth. Farmers also rely on the breed's rustic ability to clear growing undergrowth from junipers and pubescent oaks.

Both veal and beef abound at local butcheries and stores for reasonable prices. Veal chops (Côte de veau) and rib steaks (Côte de boeuf) are staples of the local diet and gastronomy, often grilled on a barbecue or plancha. The more adventurous should seek out restaurants serving traditional sweetbreads (Ris de Veau) recipes with veal thymus (throat) or pancreas (belly). 

Traditional Meats and Poultry 

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). Vegetarians will find navigating lunch and dinner in Le Lot a challenge.


Duck (Canard)

Although the area is perhaps best known for its duck pâté and foie gras, duck is a staple in the Le Lot diet. Regional specialties include duck confit (Confit de Canard) and grilled duck chest (Margret de Canard).

Confit de Canard is a centuries-old tradition of preserving duck (usually the leg) cooked in its own fat with a salt rub. Once ready, the confit is kept in canning jars, tin containers or vacuum sealed packs. Most local recipes fry the confit duck leg to a healthy crisp paired with potatoes fried in the duck fat (à la sarladaise).

The cut of duck chests used in Magret de Canard come from breast of a duck that has been force-fed in the gavage process during the production of pâté and foie gras. The gavage results in a breast weighin approximately 450 g, enough to serve two people. Most local recipes fry or grill the magret with its skin to rare or medium-rare (pink or rosé) preparation, relinquishing a significant amount of fat but not so much to render the breast dry. This fat, where recovered, serves as a healthy monounsaturated alternative to butter and trans fats. Recipes often pair Magret de Canard with fruits to balance a taste far closer to meat than poultry.

The most common cut and recipe for lamb in Le Lot is côte d'agneau, a lamb rib usually served with a side of green beans or garlic fried potatoes. Other traditions include gigot d'agneau à la ficelle (a leg of leg hung by a string over a fire and slow-cooked as it spins for a number hours) or brochettes d'agneau (chunks of lamb grilled on skewers with peppers and other vegetables).