To celebrate the most indulgent time of the year, La Gourmet Box has pulled out all of the stops for an extra special box this month which contains a range of the finest food and drink sourced from local artisans in the Les Landes, Gascony in southwest France. This region is world famous for many of its delicacies, and La Gourmet Box have curated an exceptional box to give your Christmas holidays a luxury French twist.
As always, the box arrived via courier to the UK and came beautifully presented, wrapped in tissue paper, with lots of cushioning to protect the glass items. The boxes themselves are huge and would make a fantastic gift for anyone who enjoys the finer things in life. La Gourmet Box sell a range of French-themed boxes, so it’s worth checking out their website for more gift ideas!
Back to this month’s Landaise box, I discovered the following products:-
La Dame de Brassempouy, IGP Landes Côteaux de Chalosse, Moelleux – Sweet White Wine (75 cl/11% vol)
The star of the Gourmet boxes for me is always a bottle of high-quality French wine, and this one from Les Viticulteurs Landais de Chalosse winery is described as being perfect for the Christmas holidays. It’s a special kind of sweet white wine called ‘Moelleux’ and features two grape varieties that are native to southwest France; Gros Manseng and Arriloba. It’s been a while since I enjoyed a sweet white wine and I absolutely loved this one. It has delicious fruity notes of Candied Orange, Honey, Peach and White Blossoms and is something that I’d serve after Christmas dinner – a lovely discovery!
Berthon Conserverie Artisanale Salmis of Quail, stewed in Wine Sauce (349 g)
The next product is one that my sister tried as it’s meat based (I’m a vegetarian), was this huge can of Salmis of Quail, which is stewed in a rich wine sauce. Made from locally sourced ingredients, Berthon Conserverie are a famous artisan in this region who pride themselves on creating products from authentic recipes. Their Salmis of Quail is a ragout-like dish that is well known in the Landes area and my sister thoroughly enjoyed it! She said that the quail was tender and the sauce was exceptional – rich and juicy, which made a warming Winter dinner. This large tin provides a generous portion size for two people and can be served with baked potatoes or a side of vegetables.
Kiwi Délice Homemade Adour Kiwi Marmalade (250 g)
Kiwi marmalade isn’t something that you find readily available here in the UK, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever come across it here, but it is a revered favourite in southwest France, thanks to the region’s kiwi plantations. These are located in the very heart of Landes in the Valley of Adour which has protected geographical status. The artisan Kiwi Délice has been producing these products for over 40 years and their Kiwi Marmalade is packed full of flavour! It’s tangy, fruity and absolutely delicious on toast or crackers.
Les Cadets de Gascogne Artisan block of duck Foie Gras (130 g)
It wouldn’t be a French Gourmet Box without Foie Gras and this one celebrates Gascony’s famous Foie Gras which comes from farm-raised Landes ducks with the Label Rouge quality seal that ensures outdoor living and guaranteed traceability standards. My mum has eaten foie gras on a number of occasions when she’s been in France, so I gave this to her to try out. She said it was incredibly rich, buttery and smooth – an acquired taste and one best kept for special occasions such as Christmas.
La Maison Bignalet Chichon Landais with Duck Confit and Duck (130 g)
Chichon is eaten like a pâté, but is seen as more of a speciality snack food in southwest France. It’s made from a blend of melted Duck and Pork Fat, but when the meat is roasted, the pure fat is discarded to make the famous Chichon Landais. My sister was a little unsure of trying this, so it was my mum who mostly tucked in and said it was very rich and flavourful. Not something that you can eat a lot of, but she said it would be perfect for a small Christmas snack or appetizer.
Château Garreau VSOP Armagnac (6 cl WIT® bottle)
Armagnac is a distinctive kind of brandy produced in the Armagnac region in Gascony, southwest France. I’ve been fortunate enough to try it in the past and it is a real treat! This Armagnac from Château Garreau was the winner of the gold medal at the 2014 Concours Général Agricole in Paris, and is special kind of brandy that’s made from a combination of different distilled wines which are aged in oak barrels for at least 4 years. It has a beautiful sweet vanilla aroma and has a slightly spicy finish to it. A perfect after-dinner drink!
Château Garreau Traditional brandied fruits in Armagnac (2 individual glasses)
Also from Château Garreau, I was pleased to discover these two glasses of desserts; one contains Cherry and the other Plum, both preserved in delicious Armagnac for a truly special after-dinner treat! I have to say that these two tasted amazing and can be served with vanilla ice cream for an even more decadent foodie experience.
La Maison du Chocolat Chokilas Dark Chocolate Truffles with Prunes and Armagnac (70 g)
To finish off this Gourmet Box of Landaise delights, I found a bag of exquisite dark chocolate truffles from La Maison du Chocolat. Renowned for the quality of its sweets and artisanal savoir-faire throughout southwest France, these luxury truffles are called Chokilas and are made with a dark chocolate ganache base that is flavoured with Agen prunes and a generous splash of Armagnac. Quite different from thicker chocolate truffles, they still have a melt-in-your-mouth consistency and they’re incredibly moreish!