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One of the most important food regions in France the Dordogne Valley is known for produce and farm products of extremely high quality.
Two of its most famous, the local free range veal and lamb are food specialities feted for their adherence to strict rearing regulations and ecologically informed farming methods. The result is a superior quality product, mouth-watering, highly desired and found on the menus of good restaurants throughout and beyond the Dordogne Valley.
Quercy Lamb - L'agneau du Quercy
An AOP (Appellation d'origine protégée) and Label Rouge accredited food label, delicious Dordogne Valley lamb is nurtured and grown with strict regulations on animal welfare and geographical protection guaranteeing the quality and authenticity of the lamb you will be eating.
L'agneau du Quercy as it is known, apart from being a delicious food speciality of the region is renowned for the authentic conditions in which the lambs are raised. Free range (of course), the lambs are breast fed and reared by their mothers for almost their entire lives. As you drive around the Dordogne Valley you may notice them eating grass in amongst a walnut grove or more likely grazing on the sunny limestone soils of the Causse (in the surrounds of Rocamadour and Gramat).
In and around the Regional Natural Park of the Causses du Quercy, these arid plateaus with low level stone walls are full of sheep that are the majority form of agricultural production here. It’s a tradition of farming that goes back to the 1700s and one that today respects the highest levels of ecological farming, ensuring the biodiversity of the region.
Black Eyed Lambs
The some 40 000 lambs raised here yearly are of the Caussenarde du Lot breed, noticeable for their black ears, and circles of dark black colouring around their eyes. According to local legend, a shepherd took some charcoal and coloured around their eyes in order to offer protection from the sun - they continue to be born looking like this to this day!
This high end food delicacy is a staple in good restaurants everywhere in the Dordogne and you should not hesitate to sample this delicious and tender lamb on your travels throughout the Valley. Accompany it with a fine red to appreciate the delicate and tender taste of the L'agneau du Quercy.
Another foodie’s delight to discover in the Dordogne Valley is veal. Following the exact same principles that apply to lamb rearing, baby cows are nurtured and breast fed, staying with their mothers for almost their entire lives. Le veau élevé sous la mère is a category of veal raised in this way, predominantly in the Corrèze, and is also accredited with a Label Rouge. This label is given out only to French food products that meet strict standards and guaranteed for their exceptional quality. This has immensely tangible benefits for the meat and your taste buds! A delicacy not to be missed, the pink and succulent veal is cooked in in a variety of ways here.
How does caramelised veal with shallots and truffle potato purée sound ? Bon Appétit !