Aligot d'Aubrac - Recipe - History - Aveyron
Aligot of Aubrac, the legend
The origin of the Aligot is linked to a legend that takes us back to 590AD!
Once upon a time, there was a king called Eulalius who reigned over Auvergne, a vast region of ancient volcanoes.
One day, Eulalius had an argument with his irascible wife Trétédia.
The three clergymen therefore agreed to meet on the high plateaus of Aubrac, the place where their dioceses came together.
However, the talks dragged on as the bishops couldn't find a solution.
Time passed, lunch time arrived and the fresh air of the mountains triggered their hunger!
But the bishops had only brought with them a light snack thinking that the discussions would be short ...
The bishop of St-Flour had brought potatoes, the bishop of Rodez some fresh tome cheese, milk and butter, and the Bishop of Mende had brought salt and garlic, a plant recently imported from distant lands!
However, what to do with these ingredients?
So they asked one of the cooks, Raginwald, to improvise a all the ingredients, "something edible" as they said.
Our man began to work, however, lacking inspiration, combined all ingredients in a large pot.
He then served the mashed potatoes mixed with garlic and cheese to the three bishops.
And the three men invoking their patron saints...
"By St-Flour", said the first bishop "it is not so bad!"
"By St-Hilaire", said the second "with a touch of garlic, it is even famous!"
"By St-Felix", said the third "it is rather good!"
The three bishops ate and ate some more!
Soon all that was left at the bottom of the pot was a small bite...
And so our bishops began to bicker over who would keep the left-overs...
"I'll take this bite to inspire my cook on a day without meat!" said the first bishop.
"Excuse me" said the second, "This unusual mash will allow my monks to sell the large quantity of cheese that they produce".
"Sorry" said the third bishop, "I think of my pilgrims, and such mash would put them on their feet again!"
Each bishop, a spoon in hand, tried to divide the remaining portion.
However, the more they cut it the stringier it became, and the stringier it became the more it stuck to the bottom of the pot!
This was a sign!
The three bishops eventually saw sense.
They indeed decided that the mash belonged to the high plateaus of Aubrac.
However, the new dish had to have a name...
They named it Ailligot for the garlic and stringing quality, and an amalgam of ail for garlic and ligoter meaning to bind.
Is this true? is this legend? Nobody really knows!
Croix des Trois Evêques
The monks from La Dômerie erected La Croix des Trois Evêques (Three Bishops' Cross) in order to commemorate their council.
The cross stands 5km from the village of Aubrac on Puy de Guidette (D15 to Laguiole), at the junction of the current departments of Lozère, Aveyron and Cantal.
However, this is only a replica as the 300kg original cross that was stolen in 1990!
Aligot of Aubrac - Recipe
1kg potatoes (preferably old!)
200g dairy cream
350g Tome of Laguiole (you can substitute mild Cantal cheese which has a taste close enough as it is not always easy to find genuine cheese of Aubrac in store)
Garlic (the amount varies with individual tastes)
Salt and pepper
Cook the potatoes and mash them
Add butter and dairy cream to the hot mash
Work the mash with a wooden spatula
Stir until smooth
Add grated cheese
Add crushed garlic
Salt and pepper
Place this mash on high heat
Important: Stir constantly in one direction while slightly raising the mash.
The Aligot is ready when the mixture is very elastic; however, be careful as the thread will break if the aligot is kept too long on the heat.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons: Laguiole cheeese CC BY-SA 3.0
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