Foster mother ewe
The Grands Causses without the ewe, well, it’s rather like the Australian outback without the kangaroo, or China without the panda, or Bengal without the tiger, or the Andes without the llama – quite unthinkable. The ewe, previously the Caussenarde variety (from the Causse) and then the Lacaune breed, is the foster mother of the inhabitants of the causse, whom she has been feeding tirelessly for centuries:
her milk which makes Roquefort, Pérail and all those cheeses with their such distinctive taste
her milk which, when turned into whey, is used for baking flaune, the traditional dessert
her milk which also makes the best fouaces (brioche) in Aveyron
her meat for making the best legs of lamb, racks which are so much sought-after by the top chefs
her offal for making powerful trenèls (haggis-like tripe) and subtle ris (sweetbreads)
her skin for making the finest and most elegant gloves in the world
her wool for dressing mankind and keeping houses warm.
Glory be to the trenel and its gourmet followers!
A little request for all you unitiated gourmets: please don’t confuse trénels and tripous! Both are of course traditional regional dishes made from tripe, but the former are made from mutton tripe, whereas the latter are made from veal tripe. The former are exclusively from Millau, whereas the latter come from Northern Aveyron and Southern Cantal. Strawberry, amourette, ham… It’s not just exquisite tripe flavours that can be found in these little parcels of stuffed pluck cooked in white wine. There is also a little touch of poetry best enjoyed as a piping hot main course or, better still, for an early breakfast, after a night out on the town.
Bêtises from Cambrai, melons from Cavaillon, quenelles from Lyon, violets from Toulouse, cassoulet from Castelnaudary and Trénels from Millau... For over twenty years now, and thanks to the passion of the Rabelais Guild of Trénels Tasters, the trénel has become the standard-bearer for Millau gastronomy.
It carries in its wake the other Southern Aveyron specialities: flaune dessert, pérail cheese, gatis, gimblettes (dry cakes) and melsat (dried pork meat), as well as lamb sweetbreads and fried gudgeon…