France is home to the concept of terroir – the taste of a specific place – the combination of geography and season, history and culture, tradition and food that give each region it’s unique specialities. Chef Chantal Véchambre combines her study of the history of French cuisine with decades of experience in the kitchen to offer this fourth installment in a series exploring regional French cuisine.
This meal showcases Limousin, “the land of trees and water”, a rustic county nested in the center of France, surrounded by Aquitaine, Perigord and Auvergne. Limoges, the main city of Limousin, is very famous for supplying stained glass to many great French cathedrals, and also for their fine porcelain. Limousin is also known for many savoury dishes and traditional foods. At this time of the year, Limousin recipes perfectly fit the colors and flavours of fall: mushrooms, apples, saffron, and such…
In particular, Limousin is well know for their chestnuts (châtagna), which have played a very important role in the history of French cuisine, so they can be found almost anywhere on a Limousin menu, from soup to dessert. They are also renowned for their beef, a rustic red-brown breed of cow known as “Limousine”, whose linage go as far back as the ancient cave paintings in Lascaux. The butchers of Limousin are celebrated every October at La Frairie des Petits Ventres on la Rue des Bouchers (Butcher’s street).
Dear gourmets, for this evening at the Depanneur, Chabatz d’entrar (“Please, come in!”) and enjoy a taste of this authentic culinary heritage!
A small crêpe of black wheat, topped with goat cheese, lightly roasted
Velouté de Châtaignes
Smooth chestnut soup topped with grilled porcini mushrooms and roasted bacon crumbs.
A traditional one-dish farm meal, combining savour and sweet flavours; an oven-baked gratin made with bread, eggs, prunes, greens and fresh herbs. Served with a green salad with hazelnuts.
Beef slowly cooked in a red wine and brandy marinade, with onions, lardons and bouquet garni, served with a red cabbage and chestnuts stew.
Clafoutis aux Myrtilles
This rich flan with fresh fruits is traditionally made with un-pitted cherries, but blueberries (myrtilles) are commonly found in Limousin and are a perfect match for this recipe.
Pommes “en Chemise”
Whole apples stuffed with dry fruits and chestnut honey, slowly baked in the oven and topped just before serving with “red gold”: real Limousin saffron syrup
Chantal Véchambre, originally from Paris, is a chef certified in both French cuisine and pastry-chocolate. In 2005 she moved to New Brunswick where she began her own business as caterer. Her independent research in culinary history led her to the Fortress of Louisbourg (Nova Scotia), a National Historic Site of Canada, where she developed new recipes for the site’s restaurant, and culinary workshops to the public, inspired by the 18th century recipes. She wrote the award-winning book French Taste in Atlantic Canada, 1604-1758, A gastronomic history (CBU Press), featuring ingredients and recipes of the colonial period. Now established in Toronto, she pursues food writing and cooking ventures about French cuisine: supper clubs, events, private and corporate catering, as well as ongoing research into Canadian and French culinary history.
Every weekend The Depanneur invites an amateur or professional guest chef to host a fun, informal dinner party.