In a recent New York Times article, David McAninch asks the question “Is Gascony the most delicious part of France?” To which Ariane answers, “Of course it is!”
For Gascon food is richer than the sunny cuisine of Provence. It is unabashedly, defiantly rich. Duck fat, not olive oil, is the local currency. Everything gets cooked in it: potatoes, sausages, eggs, and — in the case of confit, that pillar of Gascon farmhouse cooking — duck itself. Gascons consume foie gras, which is made on family farms all over the region, with casual regularity, and consider the delicacy about as decadent as a pork chop.
Everything we do at D’Artagnan – including the inspiration for the name itself – goes back to Ariane’s deep roots in this region of France. When she came to the United States, Ariane brought the best of Gascony with her, and started D’Artagnan to recreate the foods typical of her area. As a result, Americans have enjoyed those Gascon flavors – most grown here in the United States – since 1985.
Her father, Chef André Daguin, is recognized in the article for his role in innovating and promoting Gascon cuisine at the Hôtel de France, the hotel-restaurant he owned for many years. Ariane grew up in the kitchen there, and learned many skills, including how to make pâté, confit duck, and how to select the best foie gras at the market.
This splendid article will give you a better understanding of Gascony – its food, people, character, and landscape. Perhaps it will inspire you to take a trip to the “other South of France.”
For those looking to dive a little deeper, order McAninch’s book Duck Season, which is all about his 8-month adventure living in Gascony. It’s on our reading list!
If this article is making you hungry, you can order duck confit, duck magret, foie gras, duck fat, and all things delicious at dartagnan.com. We will happily deliver a box full of Gascon-inspired foods right to your door.
Featured photo, Chefs of Gascony: Ariane with Chef Laurent Manrique, his mother, and other genuine Gascon grandmothers.