Our evening in Castelnaudary was capped off by dinner in our hotel's restaurant. The specialty was, of course, cassoulet, that hearty, yummy stew made with white beans and duck and such. Castelnaudary claims to be the true home of cassoulet, named for the terre cuite cassole that it's traditionally cooked in.
According to the legend, it was during the 100 years war that the residents of Castelnaudary came up with a single-pot recipe of hearty food to reinforce its soldiers. The cities of Toulouse and Carcassone also claim to be the true home of cassoulet and each recipe varies a bit. A little rivalry helps the legend along, I suppose.
There might have been a couple other folks in the restaurant, if memory serves. It was certainly not full, but it was a nice room and the staff were very welcoming. We ordered the cassoulet de Castelnaudary and the waiter recommended a local wine from Fitou. We told him we were in his hands. Fitou is an appellation in the southern part of the Corbières area and it was quite tasty.
The cassoulet was everything it promised to be. Succulent, full of flavor. Saucisses de Toulouse, a duck leg that just melted in your mouth, tender white beans. We don't have any photos, just memories; this was in the days before digital cameras.
The waiter noticed that we were really enjoying ourselves - c'était un vrai régal - and seemed real happy about it. He brought us two armagnacs after dinner and offered them to us on the house ! A perfect ending. And all we had to do after was climb upstairs and fall into bed.
The next morning was quite foggy, but just before we checked out of the hotel the sun started to burn the fog away. We walked around to capture a few images before heading on to Toulouse.
Chard, tender and green
31 minutes ago