Food Of The Week: France

Regional cooking is alive and well in France. You won't get served the same old global menu, says Andy Lynes
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Culinary ideas can circle the globe with the click of a mouse. Some would say we are in danger of hurtling towards globally uniform restaurants - different country, same menu. So it is good to know that the rich regional heritage of country cooking is alive and well in auberges dotted throughout France.

Local snails are cooked in champagne at Abbaye de la Bussière, La Bussière-sur-Ouche, Dijon, Côte d'Or (00 33 3 80 49 02 29; abbayede, a converted 12th-century Cistercian abbey set in its own park in the heart of Burgundy. Its young Alsatian chef Olivier Elzer works magic with Charolais beef, pigeon and scallop dishes.

Chef Jacques Thorel creates refined versions of Breton specialties such as local lobster with ceps served on traditional buckwheat pancakes at Auberge Bretonne, 2 Place Duguesclin, La Roche-Bernard (00 33 2 99 90 60 28;

Accompany Mediterranean influenced dishes with Languedoc-Roussillon wines, including Clos Marie from the nearby vineyards in Pic Saint Loup, at L'Auberge du Cèdre, Domaine de Cazeneuve, Lauret (00 33 4 67 59 02 02;

Star of the film Gigi, Leslie Caron swapped the silver screen for silverware when she opened L'Auberge la Lucarne aux Chouettes, Quai Bretoche, Villeneuve-sur-Yonne; (00 33 3 86 87 18 26; lesliecaron-auberge. com). You'll find the local Burgundian guinea fowl on the menu.

Of course there's a special truffle menu at Auberge de la Truffe, Route Nationale 21, Sorges en Périgord (00 33 5 53 05 02 05;, but the region is known for more than just the world's most expensive tuber. Breast of duck served with foie gras and ceps is made from locally sourced ingredients.

Superstar chef Alain Ducasse converted a master-potter's house to create his provençal country inn La Bastide de Moustiers, Chemin de Quinson, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie (00 33 4 92 70 47 47;, where the daily changing menu might include young pigeon poached in bouillon with foie gras and celery.

Watch Munster cheese being made on the farm, and then enjoy it melted over potatoes and washed down with the local Riesling in the restaurant of Ferme-Auberge du Christlesgut, Breitenbach, Alsace (00 33 3 89 77 51 11;

Built in the Napoleonic era, La Ferme du Vert, Wierre Effroy (00 33 3 21 87 67 00; was converted from a farm into a hotel in the 1980s. Stay over in a former cow stall or hayloft and enjoy scallops with endive risotto and beetroot juice or roast pork with celeriac purée and parsley cream.