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The food of Burgundy
France > Burgundy > Food

The cuisine of Burgundy is known for its richness, due in large part to two factors: the region's heavy red wines and its possession of one of the world's finest breeds of beef cattle, the Charollais. The wines are used in the preparation of the sauces which earn a dish the designation of à la bourguignonne. Essentially, this means cooked in a red wine sauce to which baby onions, mushrooms and lardons (pieces of bacon) are added. The classic Burgundy dishes cooked in this manner are boecuf bourguignon and coq au vin. Another term which frequently appears on menus is meurette, also a red wine sauce but made without mushrooms and flambéed with a touch of marc brandy. It's used with eggs, fish and poultry as well as red meat.

Snails (escargots) are hard to avoid in Burgundy, and the local style of cooking them involves stewing for several hours in the white wine of Chablis with shallots, carrots and onions, then stuffing them with a butter of garlic and parsley and finishing them off in the oven. Other specialities include the parsley-flavoured ham (jambon persillé); hams from the Morvan hills cooked in a cream saupiquet sauce; calf's head (tête de veau, or sansiot); a pauchouse of river fish (that is, poached in white wine with onions, butter, garlic and lardons); a poussin from Bresse; a saddle of hare (rable de lièvre à la Piron); and a potée bourguignonne, or soup of vegetables cooked in the juices of long-simmered bacon and pork bits.

Like other regions of France, Burgundy produces a variety of cheeses. The best-known are the creamy white Chaource, the soft St-Florentin from the Yonne valley, the orange-skinned Époisses and the delicious goat's cheeses from the Morvan. And then there is gougère, a kind of cheesecake, best eaten warm with a glass of Chablis.


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