Another example of the French passion for their food, the villages of Arrens Marsous (65 Hautes-Pyrénées, Midi-Pyrénées) in the Val d’Azun in the high Pyrenees celebrates the return of the local sheep and shepherds from the high summer pasture so that Autumn and Winter can be spent in the lower level sheltered valleys (transhumance).
The “Foire aux Côtelettes” takes place on 14-15 September 2013 and includes a party with local barbecued lamb chops, cheese tasting, music, cattle market, sheep shearing and the inevitable market. The festivities finish late at night with the sounds of a banda and dancing.
For more info see www.valdazun.fr
Generally too high for vines, the area does however produce good Pyrenean cheeses – often sheeps milk cheeses which are semi-hard and a little lighter on the palate – such as Ossau Fermier and Brébis Pyrénées. The nearest wines are those from Irouleguy and Madiran which are big meaty reds; dry aromatic whites from Jurancon, and sweet wines from Jurancon and Pacherenc-du-Vic-Bilh.