Bearn is a region well known for its enjoyment of good food and good wine. Local delicacies include foie gras, confit de canard, Ossau Iraty cheese (traditional Pyrenean cheese), piperade (a local version of ratatouille), cepes from the local woods and local wines such as Jurancon and Madiran. Many producers are happy to sell direct from the farm or vineyard, (complimentary tasting sessions often included) enabling you to take a little bit of Bearn away with you when you leave.
Many of the towns in the region hold weekly markets selling all that Bearn has to offer. You can find one almost every day of the week, especially in summer.
In summer guests are welcome to enjoy organic produce from our kitchen garden, where we grow courgettes, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, asparagus, onions, garlic, leeks (the list goes on…). Eggs from the free range hens in our orchard are also available, and egg collecting has proved to be a big hit with our younger visitors! The pot bellied pig, Piggle to those who love her, in the orchard however is not for eating, much to the amazement of our neigbours! Instead she enjoys the company of the chickens, and is always appreciative of an ear or tummy scratch.
For those occasions when you may not feel like cooking, there are three excellent restaurants within very easy reach:
Chez Labat in Araujuzon is just 10 minutes walk away. It specialises in sturdy family cuisine—lots of garbure, excellent crudités, omelettes and charcuterie, local fish on some days, steak, excellent duck and pork and outstanding roast chicken (on Tuesdays). In summer you can eat on the delightful shady terrace, in winter in the very traditionally French restaurant. You are always guaranteed a warm welcome by Françoise, Genevieve and their daughters. Lunches every day 12.00—14.00, dinners Friday and Saturday nights only except in July and August when dinner is served every night. It is advisable to reserve a table. Telephone 05.59.66.52.21
Auberge Claverie in Audaux is about 5 minutes drive away (10 minutes cycling and 25 minutes’ walk) across the Gave d’ Oloron opposite the house provides classic French cuisine in a traditionally French setting (front restaurant) or in a modern salle (second restaurant). Chefs Alexandre and Sebastien (who are brothers) are passionate about their food: Alexandre concentrates on meat and soup, Sebastien on desserts which can be out of this world! The whole operation is orchestrated under the watchful if not steely eye of their mother Madame Claverie with brilliant service being provided by their team. It is a wonderful experience to eat here but you need to book for the evening. The restaurant is open for lunch every day and for dinner every day except for Sunday and Monday evenings. Telephone 05.59.66.03.80
Restaurant Auberge de la Fontaine at Laas is some 7 minutes’ drive away and only opened under the present management in 2008 but has already achieved tremendous success and is considered by some to be the outstanding new restaurant in the area, indeed outside Pau and Bayonne. You are assured of a very warm welcome by the delightful Suzy and her ever cheerful husband Jean-Luc who is the chef. Cuisine is excellent classic French with some nice modern twists and the efficient team of charming waitresses, headed up by Suzy, ensures that you never have long to wait for service. In summer you can sit on the shady terrace to drink a long cold drink, eat lunch or dinner: the setting is idyllic opposite the very pretty church and there is plenty of room for children to wander off and explore in safety. In winter you can enjoy, and buy, the artwork displayed on the walls of the restaurant, all of which is the work of local artists. Usually very busy or full, it is essential to book. Telephone 05.59.38.20.20
Other local venues to try at this level include the Hôtel du Commerce in Navarrenx (05.59.66.50.16), LaBelle Auberge at Castagnède (05.59.38.15.28), L’Auberge de Roses at Monein (05.59.21.45.63), L’Auberge du Lausset at Hôpital Sainte Blaise (05.59.66.53.03) and Restaurant La Cancha in Oloron (05.59.39.57.41).