Mountain pleasures: 6 specialties to try in the Pyrenees


PyreneesFood and Wine

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Reading time: 0 minPublished on 23 November 2023

It's hard to watch your figure during a stay in the Pyrenees! Cheeses, cold cuts, desserts... this region celebrates French gastronomy in all its forms. Let's zoom in on six local culinary specialties not to be missed.

The black pig of Bigorre

© REMI GAZEL / Consortium Noir de Bigorre
© © REMI GAZEL / Consortium Noir de Bigorre

Famous breed of the Pyrenees, you may have already come across the black pig of Bigorre which lives in freedom between the lands of the Hautes-Pyrénées, the Gers and the Haute-Garonne. It feeds exclusively on acorns, chestnuts and grass from the meadows and undergrowth of the region. It is this healthy and varied diet that gives its unique taste to Bigorre black ham, now protected by a PDO (protected designation of origin) since 2015. It is one of the most famous culinary specialties of the Pyrenees in the world.

Pyrenean tomme cheese

This pressed or semi-hard, uncooked cheese, made from pasteurized cow's milk, is distinguished by its golden or black rind, recognizable from all others, and has had a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) since 1996! Do you feel like you have to choose between the two? Don't hesitate any longer and try a little of the golden one and a little of the black one, it will be easier!

The spit cake

© Hautes-Pyrénées Tourisme Environnement
© © Hautes-Pyrénées Tourisme Environnement

This festive cake with an unusual look, traditionally made for weddings or baptisms, is one of the sweet culinary specialties of the Pyrenees. It owes its name to its preparation. Liquid dough is poured into a conical mold which is spit over a heat source. As it solidifies, the dough forms a ring with outgrowths, like stalactites. A preparation that almost reminds us of our science classes, right? For the anecdote, there is even a Brotherhood of the spit cake, in Arreau in the Hautes-Pyrénées, which organizes every year, in July, the Festival of the spit cake! We bet that you will participate next year...

Ossau-Iraty sheep's cheese


Made between the Basque Country and Béarn, in the Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques, this uncooked pressed cheese made from sheep's milk has had a PDO (protected designation of origin) since 1996. Appreciated since the time of the Romans, Ossau-Iraty cheese is now exported all over the world, and more than 4,000 tons are produced every year. We bet you're one of its biggest fans, right?

The Béarnaise garbure

Typical winter dish, the garbure béarnaise honors the Pyrenean peasant cuisine. This complete and generous dish is composed of vegetables (leeks, potatoes, carrots, onions, turnips, garlic, green cabbage and corn beans) and ham heel. The recipe evolves according to the seasons, but also according to the leftovers that are added. Small appetites, pass your way! The garbure is a copious dish, reserved for gourmets.

The sweet onion of Trebons

© Chambre d'Agriculture 65
© © Chambre d'Agriculture 65

Cultivated since the 18th century in Bigorre, a region nestled between the Pyrenees and the Adour Valley, the sweet onion of Trébons owes its fame to its soft and sweet flavor, just irresistible. It is recognizable by its elongated white bulb and its iridescent green stem, which make it an exceptional product. Easy to digest, the sweet onion of Trébons also has the particularity of being little tear-producing. The good deal! You can thus cook it easily, as well raw as cooked. Moreover, it is consumed all year long. This culinary specialty of the Pyrenees almost disappeared, and was finally saved by enthusiasts. Phew!


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