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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Bœuf de Chalosse, Label Rouge, IGP – The Chalosse, Red Label, Beef Cattle. Bœuf de Chalosse on French Menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
The Bœuf de Chalosse.

The origin of Chalosse.
The Bœuf de Chalosse comes from the ancient province of Chalosse that historically was part of the Dutchy of Gascony and since the French revolution is included in the department of Landes. (Landes was in the region of Aquitaine and is now part of the new super-region of Nouvelle Aquitaine; since 1-1-2016 this new super-region includes the regions of Aquitaine, Limousin, and Poitou-Charentes).

The logo of the Bœuf de Chalosse.

The IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) is the Pan-European Indication of a unique geographic area where a food product or wine of a high standard is produced.  in English the IGP is the PGI, the Protected Geographical Indication. The IGP/PGI label protects the farmers who raise the cattle from unfair competition and protects the consumers from unregistered producers. No one in the European Union is allowed to claim they raise the Bœuf de Chalosse outside the defined area. An example of an unregistered product is Cheddar cheese; today 99% of the Cheddar cheese produced is made miles and countries away from Cheddar with different tastes.



      The English PGI                  Look for the label.               The French IGP      

The Bœuf de Chalosse have been grazing the area for decades and was known to France’s gourmets since the early 1900’s. The beef passed all the requirements for the Label Rouge, the red label, for their continued high standard in 1991.  (The IGP was awarded in 1996). The Chalosse cattle are surprisingly not a particular breed; rather, this group includes beef cattle from the Blonde d'Aquitaine, the Limousine, and the Bazas breeds and, rather obviously, the progeny from these three strains. The successful nurturing of mixed breeds is also behind the Bœuf Fin Gras du Mézenc AOC.
The Chalosse Beef
© PL. Viel / V. Drouet pour Qualité Landes
The Bœuf de Chalosse on French Menus:

Entrecôte de Bœuf de Chalosse à la Bordelaise An entrecôte steak from the Bœuf de Chalosse prepared à la Bordelaise. À la Bordelaise in this menu listing indicates that the steak will be served with that excellent Sauce Bordelaise. To order a steak, in France, cooked the way you prefer it click here.
Sauté d'Onglet de Bœuf de Chalosse aux Petits Légumes et au Gingembre  - A lightly fried, flank steak, from the Chalosse beef, served with young vegetables and flavored with ginger.
Bœuf de Chalosse en Croûte, Sauce au Poivre.
The Chalosse beef en croute in a bread cover with a pepper sauce.

Paleron de Bœuf de Chalosse Braisé au Vin de Tursan.– A Paleron is a cut from the shoulder used for many of France’s best stews. .Here the paleron is braised in the Tursan AOC/AOP wines that include red, white, and rosé wines from the departments of Landes and Gers.

Pièce de Bœuf de Chalosse à la Plancha, Pommes Grenaille au Poêlon - One of the unique and tasty French cuts from the rump, prepared on the plancha and served with small new potatoes prepared in particular frying pan. In French restaurant tradition, the pots and pans used in preparing various dishes are often noted in the menu listing

Filet de Bœuf de Chalosse en Croûte aux Herbes – Fillet of beef from the Chalosse, (a cut from the tenderloin in the USA) cooked, “en croute”, in herbs.

A fillet from the Bœuf de Chalosse served with a shallot confit (jam).
 The Chalosse Beef with the Label Rouge

To be awarded the Label Rouge the nurturing of the cattle is carefully controlled. The calves must be reared by their mothers until they are weaned, and no antibiotics or growth hormones may be used.  For two years the animals graze freely, and during the winter, in barns, they are fed the grasses from the same area where they grazed in summer, mostly wild grasses and wheat with vegetable supplements of alfalfa and flax. In the third year in the six or twelve months before going to market, they are fed mostly a diet of corn (USA maize). The result of the feeding and aging is a dark red, marbled, and tender meat with a hint hazelnuts and parsley in the taste. The meat must be aged for at least ten days before being sold.

While the commercial center of Chalosse is the spa town of Dax, the seat of the Beef Association of Chalosse is located in the small village of Lourquen. There are about 370 farmers, with the average farmer sending 40 animals to the market every year; so there is a very limited supply.  The beef is sold by less than 80 artisanal butchers throughout France; consequently finding this very special beef on a restaurant’s menu will be a special occasion.
The Trophée Bœuf de Chalosse 
If you are in the area of Landes close to the end of July, do not miss out on the Trophée Bœuf de Chalosse; this is a one-day exhibition and fete held every year on the last Saturday in July in the small town of Montfort-en-Chalosse. The exhibition shows off the best of the years' cattle along with culinary demonstrations and tastings.

Bulls on show at the Trophée Bœuf de Chalosse.

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Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2017
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

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