* Najac *
Last years trip and blog post detailed my ten favorite foods from the South of France and this years trip consists of the same thing…. with rosé and mashed potatoes getting yet another shout-out! Our vacation included a visit to my boyfriend’s French “family” who summer in Najac, France and we spent the entire trip with them, eating Evelyne’s delicious four-hour long meals, dancing all night to french songs I don’t know (but loved), drinking rosé like it was going out of style, and enjoying the quiet life in the french countryside.
Simply put, it was heaven. We spend our lives in New York running around and this trip was the exact opposite. We had nowhere to be and nothing to do except spend time together and it was one of the most relaxing vacations I have ever been on.
Below you’ll find the ten favorite foods I enjoyed while once again exploring one of my favorite countries in the world. I can’t wait to go back next summer!
A dish from the Auvergne region of France (where we were), Aligot is basically mashed potatoes on crack. It’s made of potatoes, butter, creme fraiche or cream, garlic and one of the following french cheeses… tomme d’Auvergne, tomme de Laguiole or tomme fraiche. When mixed all together, you get something that tastes like mashed potatoes but is much creamier. The cheese brings a nutty flavor and the raw garlic gives it a little bit of bite to make something that is both filling and full of flavor. This was the highlight of Alain’s birthday party and it was served with fresh sausage and bread.
The French are masters at fresh bread and I devoured loaves of it at every meal. Not surprisingly, I gained four pounds in 7 days!
3. Ice Cream
Creamier than what we get in the USA….I ate nothing but pistachio ice cream (my favorite flavor) while in Najac. Every time I saw an ice cream sign, I headed for the door with a few euros in hand.
4. Fancy French Food
We treated ourselves to a few fancy meals which were all so relaxed and casual that I was a little bit weirded out. Meals like this in the USA come with crisp white tablecloths, expensive bills, and a dress code but in France you can walk in with shorts and a t-shirt on and have an exquisite three-course meal for just $50!
5. Baguette Sandwiches
Can’t go to France and NOT eat a baguette…this one came filled with lettuce, ham and cheese and a slathering of whole grain spicy mustard :)
6. Home Cooked French Meals
Evelyne, the Tachet family matriarch, cooked up four unbelievable feasts for our 15-plus people dinners with such ease. Above was my favorite meal she made, with two plump chickens (heads still on) cooked to perfection and served with sauteed ratatouille, and fresh foraged mushrooms (more on that later).
Soo much rosé! 120 magnums were consumed over the course of 6 days and we even managed to bring a few bottles back from the vineyard we visited in Caillac.
8. Fresh Sardines
Sardines aren’t my favorite, but when they’re served up just slightly grilled with salt, pepper, and a brush of olive oil, I cannot resist these little guys!
Every meal we had ended with a cheese course and I ate every piece that came within reach. I wish I had gotten a photo of the fresh chevre we ate many times but it was so good that it disappeared almost immediately after hitting the table.
10. Fresh and Foraged Mushrooms
While we were playing golf, a few went foraging for mushrooms (had I known I would have skipped the golf!), and that night we gorged on freshly roasted mushrooms of a variety I do not know and could not decipher in French!