LE PUY LENTILS
These small slate-green lentils are highly prized for their peppery flavour and the way they hold their shape during cooking. They have been cultivated in the volcanic soils around Le Puy en Velay in the Auvergne for more than 2000 years. This town is a starting point for pilgrims, and the lentils are traditionally cooked with pork sausage.
CABECOU FROM ROCAMADOUR
This distinctive and highly aromatic soft goat cheese is one of the most famous foods of the midi-Pyrenees region. A speciality of the ancient pilgrimage town of Rocamadour, it is served very young (after 12-15 days) and is generally eaten hot on toast or as part of a crisp salad, sometimes drizzled with honey. Best enjoyed with a local red wine.
MADAME MURAT'S DUCK CONFIT
This section of the French Camino is the duck and goose region of France. Restaurant Chez Jeanne, which has been operated by five generations of women in one family for 115 years, specialises in this crispy salt-cured (confit) duck served with mounds of potatoes sauteed in duck fat and a side of haricot vert (green beans).
The delicious black wine of Cahors is made from Malbec grapes and sometimes combined with d'eau de noix (walnut liqueur) and creme de cassis (red current liqueur) to make a popular pre-dinner drink. A sweet drink before the first course is customary in rural France.
WALNUT TART, CAHORS MARKET
Throughout history, walnuts were a protein mainstay in this area, and the covered market in ancient Cahors (Wednesday and Saturday) has several stalls selling homemade walnut treats. The traditional tart has a buttery crust and a chewy, caramel filling over a bed of fragrant walnuts. See tourisme-lot.com
ALIGOT WITH TOULOUSE SAUSAGE
This rich and delicious ancient recipe was served to pilgrims on their way to Santiago. Mashed potatoes are whipped together with garlic, cream and lashings of grated local cheese (Cantal or Tomme De Laguiole) and served with regional sausage or roast pork.
WHOLE MENU, LE GINDREAU IN ST MEDARD CATUS
The menu of local chef Pascal Bardet shines in this recognised rural restaurant, set in an old schoolhouse with spectacular views. Trained at Louis XV in Monaco, his signature dishes include farmhouse poultry "grattons" (slow cooked crunch morsels) with caramelised onions and saddle of lamb with savoury and tender aubergines. See legindreau.com
Experience the culinary highlights of the Way of St James on a 12-day guided "Food Lovers' Walk" with Mary Moody in May and September 2018. It costs from $6190 a person.
Phone 1300 303 368. See utracks.com