So, outside the fancy cheese shop in my neighbourhood, Androuet, last Saturday was a woman involved in an intriguing and possibly delicious activity. On approach, I saw a large cauldron of elastic, doughy material, and learned that it was a mixture of potatoes and Cantal cheese. The other shopkeepers and wait staff on the street would rush out of their stores and ask what was going on, and put in an order. I couldn’t resist either.
The tradition of Aligot de L’Aubrac comes from the Midi-Pyrénées where the dish was apparently prepared for pilgrims heading to Santiago del Compostela. All the cheese and potatoes (and cream and garlic) come together in this lovely gummy mixture, a bit like uncooked gnocchi, I suppose, or really, really good mashed potatoes. It was delicious with a glass of red wine for lunch…
The person preparing all of this explained how hard work it was to stir the cauldron and then told the woman who was first standing there when I approached that the explanation for having the strength to do this was that she was obviously a man.
‘Or a woman that’s stronger than a man?’ I asked.
‘No. Definitely a man,’ was the reply.