Jul 11, 2017

Gastronomic Specialities of Bordeaux


The stunning city of Bordeaux in the south-west of France is of one of my favourite French destinations.

The town has a thoughtfully planned centre with wide boulevards and charming back streets, very friendly to pedestrians. The oldest section, with its magnificent classical architecture, shines on the banks of the majestic Garonne river. My wife and I enjoyed a memorable cruise with Scenic on the Garonne in the late summer of 2016.

A short walk in the heart of town soon establishes that Bordeaux is a serious wine capital and gourmet stopover, where dozens of wine shops display the rich regional varieties. Of course, Bordeaux has for centuries enjoyed a well deserved reputation for its world-class fine red wines made with blends of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and a few other less familiar red grapes.

What are less known are the very good dry white wines made from sauvignon blanc and semillon grapes. These same grapes are used to make the famous local sweet wine of Sauternes.

You could be served a luscious sauternes wine as an aperitif with duck liver paté or with desserts made with almonds and fruits, such as the delicious local apricots and peaches.

One of the most popular coastal specialities on Bordeaux restaurant menus are the tasty oysters of Arcachon that are always opened at the last moment so as to retain their outstanding sea freshness.

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One of the region's well-kept secrets is the production of a very good local caviar in the Gironde estuary which links the Garonne and Dordogne rivers to the ocean. The local Atlantic fish, like sea bass and sardines, are featured strongly on menus and offer a great opportunity to sample the delicious white wines.

With a glass of red bordeaux you can't go pass the entrecôte à la bordelaise, a grilled sirloin steak served with a delicious shallot and red wine sauce.

The local lamb, named after the wine village of Pauillac, is also outstanding and best tasted during the spring months with a minted béarnaise sauce.

Due to the large network of rivers in the Aquitaine, as the region around Bordeaux is called, they grow plenty of beautiful herbs and vegetables. The local wild mushrooms, called cèpes, are cooked 'à la bordelaise' with shallots, parsley and breadcrumbs. It's a great autumn treat you must try.

A visit to one of the city's glorious pâtisseries will show you the amazing regional sweet specialities. It's hard to make a choice but you must at least try the unique cannelé de Bordeaux - a small fluted cake with a unique spongy texture, a rich rum and vanilla interior and a lightly caramelised exterior. Delicious!

I love the canelés from the specialist Baillardran Pâtisserie that has several shops in the centre of town.

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