Culinary Specialities and Regional Wines
Fresh Vegetables

French cuisine and its wines are highly respected and have a well deserved reputation as the finest marvel of the 'hâute cuisine'. The term 'French cuisine' however is a rather undifferentiated turn of phrase, since every region produces its own specialities, delicatessens and quality wines. In this regard, the Roussillon proves particularly interesting, as the Catalan influence imparts its special flavour to many dishes. Also, thanks to the very favourable climatic conditions of intense sun and mild temperatures, fruit and vegetables are characterized by the incomparable flavour of sun-blessed freshness. The tempting fruits, everywhere on display at the colourful markets, really do taste as good as they look!

Fresh Fruit de Mer

Local specialities focus particularly on fresh fish and 'fruits de mer', which here truly do still come straight from the sea and into the kitchen. Also, goat and ewe cheese play a significant role; they are offered in all sizes, shapes and degrees of maturity and are sometimes enhanced with aromatic herbs. Another fabulous speciality of the region are the fresh truffles, which are best enjoyed during their season from October to February. Some villages even hold special truffle-fêtes in their honour. Another famous speciality is the 'Cassoulet', a hearty bean-stew cooked with chunks of pork, duck or sausages, which is said to have originated in Castlenaudary. During hunting season from October to February one can regularly find wild game specialities on the local menus. Wild boar roast tends to be the absolute favourite among gourmets. But by far the most treasured speciality in the entire Languedoc is the world famous Foie Gras, an especially delicate goose liver pâté, which not only French food lovers relish with passion.

There are several recommended restaurants in the surrounding neighbourhood of Relais de Laval that know how to bestow honour on these local specialities by serving them as delicacies.


vineyardsOne could easily write a whole book about the wines of the region. Connoisseurs have come to consider them a cherished secret. Until recently most of the wine produced in the area was destined for export to Bordeaux to fortify the aroma of the wines produced there and to make them more enduring. But recently local wineries have turned to producing their own quality wines, which by now are barely secondary to their Cousins from Bordeaux. The immediate vicinity of Relais de Laval comprises of several superb 'Appelations' whose wines certainly deserve to be sampled. There are even some excellent wineries in Caudiés de Fenouillèdes itself - a tour of the regions wineries can begin right within the village.

The Corbière, which borders directly onto the Fenouillèdes, is the largest growing area of the region and offers an almost unfathomable range of full-bodied, aromatic wines reminiscent of the Garrigue herbs of their homeland. Wine tours through this region are particularly rewarding, not just due to the enormous range of delicious wines, but also because of the wild, romantic scenery, which reveals itself anew around each turn of the road.


Vin Doux A highly distinctive wine speciality of the region is the naturally sweet wine known as 'Muscat', which makes an ideal Aperitif- or Dessert wine. The secret of its natural sweetness lies in the method of production: high percentage alcohol is added in order to prematurely halt the fermentation process, thus preserving the natural sweetness of the grapes in the resulting wine. Only very few region produce wine in this manner. Two of the most famous growing areas are in the closest neighborhood of Relais de Laval: Maury and Rivesaltes. Though one should refrain from overindulging in these sweet treats, a well-cooled little glass of Muscat with a bit of pungent blue cheese and fresh fine olives simply is an irresistible temptation.


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