Discovering traditional French cuisine in the medieval city of Carcassonne

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  1. I live in SW France and often eat cassoulet. It is much more complex in flavour than beans & meat, there are variations throughout the region too. Duck, pork, ham & sausage are the most popular. If you are down here, try it, share it with Langedoc wine.

  2. I was not going to leave a comment but when I saw the swastika someone posted I decided to add a few words. I have been to Carcassonne, many years ago now, and out of curiosity tried a dish of cassoulet. I was not alone on this trip, we were four and all of us burst out into merry laughter as we tasted the Sabbath food of our grandmothers: "tcholent" (or "cholent) which is navy beans, potatoes, chunks of beef and stuffed derma, all placed in an oven proof dish, covered with water and placed into a hot oven for a period of 24 hours. In the old days when people did not have an oven in their homes these covered containers were taken to the local baker's oven, where they bubbled away for the requisite time. Since it is forbidden for Jews to "work" on the Sabbath, hot food was always a problem. This dish, placed in the baker's oven was the solution. No householder lit a fire, nobody worked…all had been pre-prepared and was stashed in an oven which had been lit well before the advent of the Sabbath, to be removed at the appropriate mealtime on the day itself. This dish, it is said, was invented in Spain, and when the Jews left that country in 1492 they crossed over into France, many remaining there or eventually moving to other countries. But they brought their Sabbath meal of beans and meat with them across the border, where it caught on and was renamed "cassoulet"

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