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Tastes of winter

There’s nothing more comforting in winter than enjoying Languedoc’s many flavours and products!

In winter, you naturally look for elegant products of irreproachable quality, such as will delight any gourmet and, whatever the occasion, make a perfect match with the great wines of Languedoc.

Truffes - Hérault, le Languedoc © Photothèque Hérault Tourisme - Martine Le Guen

Bouzigues Oysters

Bouzigues oysters- © Photothèque Hérault Tourisme - Mathilde Bavoillot

In winter, Languedoc oysters are the queens of local gastronomy! Bouzigues, Mèze and Marseillan are three villages on the Etang de Thau Lagoon that are famous the world over for their shellfish. The tasty oysters of Bouzigues delight all shellfish fans.
They have been grown in the same way, fixing themselves to ropes hung from ‘tables’ or ‘parks’, since the beginning of the 20th century. You can listen to the whole story on the spot during a tasting visit, guided by one of these ‘Sea Farmers’, or else at the Etang de Thau Museum.
The flavour of Bouzigues oysters goes naturally well with a dry white wine, such as Picpoul de Pinet, produced on the nearby slopes.

Olives

Olives, Vallée de la Buèges - © Photothèque Hérault Tourisme - Eric Brendle

Just like the vine, olive growing is an integral part of Languedoc’s heritage and wealth. The olive harvest takes place between autumn and winter and needs much careful work: the fruit must not be damaged, especially if it is to be preserved. This is why traditional methods are still widely used.
The Hérault area produces many varieties of olives: ‘Lucques’, ‘Verdale’, ‘Picholine’, ‘Amellau’, as well as ‘Clermontaise’, ‘Rougette’ and ‘Olivière’.

Olives play a part in many dishes in Mediterranean cuisine. However, they also form the basis of very specific products like the famous black and green tapenades or the oils that are so sought after by connoisseurs, such as one named  L’incomparable Violette, with its hint of globe artichoke,
which is made at the Domaine de l'Oulivie.

Lo Moulinet in Puisserguier also has a speciality to offer: ‘moulinade’. It resembles tapenade, but without the capers, and also contains various mixtures of other products of the terroir, such as chestnuts from Olargues, brandy from St-Jean de Minervois, spiced tomatoes, etc.

Useful tip: every December, the Clermont l’Hérault Oil Cooperative
organises a special "Christmas oil market".

Pardailhan Turnips

Pardailhan Turnips - © Photothèque Hérault Tourisme

These turnips are cultivated on the Pardailhan plateau, at an altitude of around 500 metres, in the west of the Hérault area. They originally had their heyday between the two world wars, but since 200 this product, a symbol of the quality of local produce, has been experiencing a renaissance.
It is harvested during the winter, providing a vegetable with a tender, melt-in-the-mouth texture, combining mild, slightly sweet flavours with hints of hazelnut and almond, yet no trace of bitterness.
All of this makes it an excellent vegetable that goes particularly well with meat dishes.

Truffles: black diamonds

Truffles of Languedoc - © Photothèque Hérault Tourisme - Martine Le Guen

In the Hérault area, from mid-November to mid-March, the truffle has its high season, a time to delight your palate and your eyes. Let the charm and authenticity of the truffle markets and festivals work their magic as you discover this much sought-after product.
Black gold, black pearl, black diamond, or even devil’s mushroom! All of these are alternative names for truffles, an exceptional product that delights every true gourmet.
You only have to take a walk down to the market at Saint-Jean de Buèges to feel enveloped in the mystery and perfume of the truffle: an intoxicating aroma that imparts its flavour to brouillade, a truffle omelette enjoyed by true fans of the black diamond.
At the start of the year there are many days when truffles are celebrated throughout Languedoc.

Noilly Prat

Noilly Prat - © Photothèque Hérault Tourisme

Since 1813, in Marseillan, Noilly-Prat has jealously guarded the secret of the manufacturing process originally created by Joseph Noilly. Long and unusual in flavour, there is nothing like it anywhere. The ‘blancs de blancs’ wines are aged for long months in the cellars and then, for another year, out in the open air. This aging process, followed by assemblage and slow maceration with herbs from five continents, is what gives Noilly Prat the powerful taste and delicate bouquet that make it the preferred aperitif of connoisseurs and the secret of the greatest chefs right around the world.
Tours of the site can be arranged and include, amongst other things, a visit to the herb room or chamber of secrets. And if you’re lucky, you might even have the Master Cellarman himself as your guide!

Muscats: our naturally sweet wines

Muscats on a Languedoc beach's - © Ville de Frontignan

Four of the six French muscats designated as ‘vin doux naturel’ (naturally sweet wine) are produced in Languedoc.
Enjoy these AOC wines as an aperitif, with foie gras, or with dessert.

- Muscat de Frontignan:
Golden in colour, bright, with a taste of ripe fruit, it has a powerful bouquet. Its famous twisted bottle is another facet of the legend.

- Muscat de Mireval:
With a bright, crystalline appearance, just like its neighbour from Frontignan this wine is produced between the Gardiole Massif mountains, the lagoon and the Mediterranean. It is full-flavoured with hints of honey and flowers.

- Muscat de Lunel:
The AOC area covers four communes. Muscat de Lunel is a fine, mellow wine with lots of fruit and a bright appearance.

- Muscat de Saint-Jean-de-Minervois:
A straw-coloured, full-flavoured wine with a powerful, aromatic bouquet that  has hints of honey, quince and apricot.

Legal note: Alcohol abuse is dangerous to health. Drink in moderation.

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