Aude

Increasingly famous wines

 Languedoc's vineyard in general and Aude's vineyard in particular are the oldest in the world since the culture of vine dates back to Roman times. It is also the widest vine growing area in France. Therefore Aude shelters no less than 7 AOC classifications: AOC Corbières, AOC Fitou, AOC Cabardès, AOC La Clape Quatourze, AOC Minervois, AOC Limoux, AOC Malepère. In AOC Limoux is grown Blanquette de Limoux southern counterpart to Champagne. Formerly of poor reputation the Vineyard in Aude now produces wines of good quality, and many of them can compete easily with Bordeaux wines.

Gastronomy

The most famous dish comes from central Aude, precisely in the Carcassonne area and Castelnaudary area. It is a rich stew of white beans, pork sausages and duck ‘confit’ called Cassoulet, ideal in winter! Even in coastal Aude, traditionally the local cuisine is made out of earth produce rather than seafood. Since the region was a marshy area, shores were not inhabited and there was no fishing tradition. Local gastronomy is still nowadays more relying on earth produce such as grilled meat (lamb, beef, pork, duck), mushrooms (cep mushrooms and truffles), chestnuts, and ‘charcuterie’ which is pork under different forms (sausage to be grilled, or dry sausage, or cured ham…). In autumn traditionally people gather to grill chestnuts and drink newly pressed wine (vin nouveau ou vin bourru). All through autumn and winter, there are a number of ‘Fat Fairs’ (Foire au Gras in French) where people can buy everything to cook their own duck or goose ‘foie gras’, or prepare duck or goose ‘confit’.
In summer cuisine is made out of grilled meat and locally grown vegetable such as tomatoes, eggplants, courgettes, peppers. Fruits such as apricots, peaches, melons, watermelons, and grapes of course are grown. The local cuisine is rather simple and unsophisticated but since it is made of good locally grown produce it is savoury.
Along the coast fish and seafood are now well represented and mussels and oysters are reared in the coastal lagoon of Gruissan near Narbonne-plage.