La fête du cassoulet

Last weekend was the annual ‘fête du cassoulet’, in Castelnaudary. This year, we weren’t able to go as we were back in the UK, avoiding the heat – haha! Epic fail…

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Castelnaudary is known as the capital of cassoulet and credited with inventing this dish. However, Toulouse and Carcassonne may well dispute this fact! I’ve written previously about this French style ‘sausage and beans’

https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/cassoulet-or-sausage-and-beans-french-style/

The cassoulet festival takes place during the last weekend of August. Not the ideal time for eating a hearty casserole containing duck, goose, sausage and beans, in my opinion! I do love a cassoulet, and cook them myself, I just prefer eating this dish when it’s cold and I need comfort food.

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We have attended the fête du cassoulet before and it was great fun! The sleepy, little town of Castelnaudary really comes alive. Of course, it’s full on holiday season and the Canal du Midi is awash with tourists.

The festival is organised by the ‘Grand Confrérie du Cassoulet de Castelnaudary’. Confrérie translates as ‘Brotherhood’ but probably equates more with a guild. The Castelnaudary Cassoulet Brotherhood was founded in 1970 to protect the quality and standard of cassoulet.  I hasten to add that there are also women in this Brotherhood! They all wear special robes and a hat which is shaped like a ‘cassole’, the dish in which Cassoulet is cooked and served. They even have a hymn to praise cassoulet which is sung in the local Occitan language.

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This is a screenshot of their website. Do go and have a look if you want to find out more and even listen to the Cassoulet hymn!

Although we didn’t make it to the ‘fête’ this year, we were able to glimpse the essence of the celebrations through this video:

Have you ever eaten Cassoulet?

If you do happen to be anywhere near Castelnaudary, next summer, I recommend that you go along to celebrate the twentieth Fête du Cassoulet!

 

13 thoughts on “La fête du cassoulet

  1. Last time I had cassoulet was in Carcassonne almost two years ago at a restaurant suggested by a friend from Montpellier. It was so hearty I had to stop eating in order to save room for dessert! I’ve only had it one other time, and it wasn’t particularly memorable. I’ve also occasionally seen it sold in large jars in the rest stops along the autoroutes, but I imagine it’s not at all the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They are the “holy trinity,” with Castelnaudary the father, Carcassonne the son and Toulouse the holy spirit. I am not making this up.
    I do not make cassoulet myself because it takes two days. I have several friends who make heavenly cassoulet, plus there are many good local restaurants serving it (and some tourist traps to avoid), so we get plenty. We do keep a few cans on hand for a quick meal when we come home famished without time to make dinner. Not as good as homemade, but OK. Get a brand made in Castelnaudary, not one of the industrial ones. La Belle Chaurienne is our favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well that is really strange. I can’t leave a comment when using desktop, but it’s ok now I’m on my iPad. Anyhow, I love a good cassoulet. I make it with Linda McCartney red onion vegi sausages. Not authentic but very tasty!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello June
    Sorry I’ve been absent all summer, I discovered Instagram! Anyway just had a mammoth catch up with your blog, loved your Barcalona and Fete posts. La Fete looks a big affair and great fun (jeux d’eau)… I’ve cooked James Martin’s Cassoulet recipe (not v. authentic but hearty) and have one of those tins in my cupboard in France as I read on Taste of France that they weren’t too bad, yet to try though. Hope you’ve had a good summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Fiona! Glad you’re back. Ah yes, Instagram; relatively recent to me too. Glad you enjoyed those posts. I’m definitely going to try one of those tins; after all it is produced where I live. Had a great summer, thanks. Back to France this weekend. Hope yours was good, too!

      Like

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