Wherever we travel, HOB and I try the local specialties. I can tell you the reason is because it’s a great way to participate in the culture, which is true. Also, it makes local people happy–we’ve had people gather around us in approval when we’ve sought out an unusual regional delicacy at a shop or market. But really, we do this because we are gigantic chowhounds greedy for great food and new taste experiences.
We tried two versions of farci poitven, a specialty of the Poitou-Charentes region of France, one from the market at Poitiers and another from a deli in Chauvigny. We had one hot and the other cold, since it could be served either way–I preferred it hot. Think green pâté: it has that gamey fatty pâté feeling going on, but with a green vegetable taste. For sure the base flavor was cabbage, with maybe chard or spinach or some other strong greens and probably eggs. Yum! Savory and decadent at the same time. I want more.
And for dessert: tourteau fromager de chevre. I’ve been waiting all my life to find the proper use for “ambrosial” and that cake from Poitiers market was it: burnt on top, crisp on the outside, both creamy like cheesecake, and airy like an angel food cake, but with a funk to it, from the goat cheese. A second tourteau fromager de chevre, purchased from a bakery in Chauvigny, was merely very good.
Note we didn’t go to a restaurant for these foods (in fact, I doubt that farci poitevin is even available at a restaurant) and that the tastiest were from the market. Markets are always the best for the freshest, most ambrosial, local treats.
When I was growing up in the area, the farci poitevin was more of a cabbage leave stuffed with meats, egg, and vegetables, tied up and cooked in broth. Haven’t had it for years – the last time was at a wonderful restaurant called La Treille in nearby Vivonne. What I see now is what you describe, which is like a vegetable paté. Our dear friend, a chef herself, took us to La Treille so we could experience the farci in what she called its authentic form. thanks for the memory!
Thank you Dennis. I did get the sense that the farci poitevin is a sort of catch all dish that probably varies from cook to cook. When the time comes that I have a larger traveling budget, I plan on visiting wonderful restaurants like La Treille.
La Treille is long closed, unfortunately, the chef passed away. We still find a few of the great old regional restaurants, but the number dwindles each year.
Ah, that is a shame.