Bethmale & Bamalou
Two of the best-known local French cow's-milk cheeses; made near Foix, Ariège.
Cabrioulet & Cabécou
Goat's milk cheeses from the same area as above.
From Lleida province in Catalunya. Made from goat's milk and quite similar to Camembert.
Other local French offerings include: Palomières
from the spa/ski resort of Bagnères further west; and Pic de la Calabasse
from slightly further afield in the Midi-Pyrénées.
The most famous regional speciality cheese, from the village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, north-east of Toulouse. A full-fat, unpasteurised and unhomogenised ewe's-milk soft blue cheese, matured in ancient caves and underground cellars in Roquefort for at least three months.
It features on Andorran menus in sauce for steaks and, most usually, crumbled over chicory salads.
Definitely the most distinctive Catalan cheese: sold in jars, it is basically a Vall d'Aran type cheese (see below), but matured in a wooden container along with garlic and aiguardent
spirit; delicious, but somewhat of an acquired taste.
Urgellet & Serrat
Two other local Catalan offerings, the latter being an ewe's milk variety.
A smokey cow's-milk cheese; the best known local Spanish speciality.
Ham (called pernil
in Catalan) and cured sausages are staples of the Pyrenean diet because they are an excellent way to preserve meat for the long winters.
Many older Andorran homes have an airy natural cold store in the basement for hanging hams and cured meats.
The most popular ham is the famous Jamón Serrano
, a cured mountain ham, similar to Parma ham; salted, dry-cured, and served in wafer-thin slices as a tapa, or topping the almost ubiquitous appetiser pa amb tomàquet
As for cured sausages, there appear to be as many varieties produced throughout Catalunya as there are choices of cheese in France. They are eaten cold as tapas and in salads, added to reinforce stews, or simply grilled. The most popular include: