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Gastronomy

Charcuterie

Boucherie Charcuterie Béarnaise, located near the pharmacy on the high street in Bedous, draws upon the knowledge of three generations of the Lesponne family. It supplies Béarnaise specialties in meat, fresh and dried charcuterie and foie gras as well as salted meats prepared according to traditional family recipes.

Cheese

The sheep and cow herds live in the local villages during the winter, and are taken up to the mountain meadows in the summer. This pastoral tradition – called transhumance – is celebrated in early June with song, dance and food in Lourdios-Ichère.

It is estimated that 100,000 kilograms of cheese is produced from high altitude pastures each year in the Aspe Valley. Each kilogram of cheese requires five litres of milk. For local cheese, try Ferme Nouqueret. Situated at over 1000 metres, it has been operating for three generations. It currently houses Abondance cows and Béarnaise sheep. The high altitude pasture imparts a unique taste to the cheese which is sold as pure sheep, pure cow or a combination of both. The cheese is sold at the farm and also in Lescun village.

In addition, three producers of wine-soaked goat cheese near to the village of Aydius sell their terrific produce directly to the public. A festival of cheese is held each year in Etsaut. There is also a permanent exhibition at the Ecomusée in Accous.

Jurançon wine

In 1553, the future king, Henry IV, was baptised with a drop of Jurançon wine. The golden wine was then hailed as the “wine of the King and the king of wines”. Bijou vineyards are tucked away in sun-kissed valleys that stretch from the terraces of Pau castle to the Pyrenees. Situated at an altitude of 300 metres (1000 feet), the climate is an ideal combination of mountain and ocean elements. An over-ripening of the grapes provides Jurançon wine with its unmistakable mellowness. You can visit the Jurançon vineyards and taste the wine at several locations including Cave De Jurançon in Gan (75 minutes from Lescun).

Pastry & bread

People are known to drive over 160 kilometres (100 miles) from their homes to the Artigarrrede pastry shop at 1 Place de la Cathèdrale in Oloron-Sainte-Marie to pick up a cake known as Le Russe. This confection is made with almond paste, meringue and praline butter cream. The good news is that the drive from Lescun is only 35 kilometers.

Divine pastries and breads are made daily in Maison Constanti in Oloron, which was founded in 1923. Next door to Maison Constanti is an excellent little shop that sells cheese, meats, olives and other savoury delights. And just around the corner is the Lindt factory with its attendant chocolate store.