Apricot or Abricot - Apricot. The Apricot in French cuisine.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman



Apricots are a cherished part of French cuisine and have been grown in France for thousands of years, though their origin is South-Eastern Asia. Apricots were brought to France by the Romans who for six hundred years made France their home. Wherever they went, apart from cluttering up the landscape with boring stadiums, aqueducts, roads, temples and mosaic floors they brought trees including apricots, walnuts, peaches, and cherries. Since then France has made the apricot its own and if you are visiting France in the apricot season, June through August, look out for the dishes made with fresh apricots.
Apricot blossoms

Where apricots grow in France

France’s apricot growing regions include Occitanie, Provence, and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes; then in season fresh apricots will appear on all local menus all well as all over France.  In the regions where apricots are grown few restaurants will have less than two or three dishes that include fresh apricots.
(Occitanie and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes are two of  new super regions created on 1-1-2016 when France reduced the number of mainland administrative regions from 22 to 13 and at the same time changed some names. For the link with more information about these changes click here).
Dining on Apricots
During one French apricot season, I was traveling a long way away from France; in Japan. To make me realize the error of my ways a friend brought me a copy of a superb apricot-centric menu that he and others had enjoyed in the south of France.  I  love Japanese cuisine; nevertheless, after seeing this menu I knew that that year I had lost out. In this menu, from the Languedoc-Roussillon part of Occitanie, the chef had really honored the French take on apricots.

A menu designed around the Apricots of Languedoc-Roussillon.
To begin:

Vin de Pêche et Abricot – A cold peach and apricot scented wine; the apéritif.    
An aperitif of cold peach and apricot wine.
The hors d'œuvré:
Bouchées de Brie aux Abricots – Mouth sized bites of apricot stuffed with brie cheese; the hors d'œuvrés.
The entrée:
The French first course.
Salade de Magrets Fumés, Abricots et Légumes d'Été –A salad of smoked ducks’ breast, apricots, and spring vegetables


Jus d'Abricots Frais – A small glass of fresh apricot juice; a change from a sorbet:

Le Plat Principal
The main course

Médaillons de Veau aux Abricots – Round, or oval, cuts of veal. Prepared and served with the apricots in which the veal was cooked.
Apricots and veal

In France, a small green salad will often be served after the main course.

Salade – A small mixed green salad.


Sorbet d’Abricot – An apricot sorbet
Fine Tarte Sablée aux Abricots et Amandes, Sorbet Framboise – An apricot and almond tart made with a disk of shortcake pastry and served with a raspberry sorbet.                 

Apricot tart.
Fromage - The cheese course:
Un Plateaux de Fromages du Terroir avec Abricots Secs – A plate of local cheeses served with dried apricots.
The fruit course:

Plateau de Fruits Frais, Abricots, Pêches, Raisins Blanc – A fresh fruit plate including apricots, peaches and white grapes.
Coffee or herb tea:
Coffee ou Tisane de Arômes d'Abricot et de Pêche –Coffee or herb tea; the herb tea offered is an apricot and peach tisane. A tisane is an infusion, often translated as a fruit tea.
Petit Fours

Petit Fours aux Abricots – Those little pastries often served with your coffee; here they all were made with apricots.
Apricot petit fours
Le dôme à l'abricot de Jonathan Blot
Le dôme à l'abricot de Jonathan Blot

The after-dinner drink.
Liqueur d'Abricot –An eau-de-vie d’abricot, an apricot brandy

A Lejay-Lagoute Apricot Eau-de-Vie.

According to my friend, who, together with all his fellow diners enjoyed and survived this meal; it was served over a period of three hours. The only wine they drank during this dinner was a dry Cremant de Limoux AOC/AOP, a sparkling white cremant from the region of Languedoc-Roussillon, (now part of Occitanie). A meal like this is part of France’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Cremant de Limoux
Cuvee Royale Cremant de Limoux.
 Outside of the French apricot season

Fresh apricots are still available nearly all year round as out of season apricots come from the USA and Turkey. For France importing apricots from the USA is practically an obligation as many of the original cuttings planted in the USA came from France.
Apricots in the market
French chefs choose to wait for the French apricots season before including them in their menus. They consider, with a degree of certainty that French apricots are better than any other. Then, with a once in a lifetime menu like the one above who could forget the French apricots season? Apart from fresh apricots, dried apricots, and, of course, French apricot eau-de- vies, there are many locally made apricot brandies, and of course, French apricot conserves, jams, will be on many breakfast menus all year round. 

Angelic Apricot Conserve

Dried Apricots.
Abricot Sec – Dried apricots. The Armenians passed the art of drying apricots to the Greeks and Romans; that was long before refrigeration and the Romans or possibly the Greeks brought that art to France. I was told that drying apricots removes some of their vitamins. However, dried apricots are still an important addition to the French kitchen.
Dried apricots.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman




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1 comment:

  1. Thks for your msg @ Flickr & your interest in Limpets, The Poor Man’s Abalone!

    Sorry, just saw your msg & replied. Very informative blog you've got here! Thks & let me know when the pix is up!


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