These ranchers are the guardians of the black bulls of the Camargue, a breed of cattle reared in the wild salt marshes, prized for their meat as well as for their bravery in the bullring. Descended from the bulls of ancient Rome, they take part in the non-bloodthirsty French course de taureaux and the Spanish feria of the arenas of Béziers and Nîmes.
In the course, the bulls are heroes, entering and leaving the ring at a fierce gallop, usually, if they have been brave, to loud fanfares. They are not killed; the game is to remove cockades from their horns. They need no encouragement to charge the razeteurs – athletic young men dressed in white whose job is to snatch the cockades from their heads. The boys have to leap and twist out of the way to avoid the sharp horns, the crowd goes mad with excitement, the bulls do their best to get over the barriers and into the crowd and no one is badly hurt (although human blood may be drawn).
This daube is the traditional dish of these bulls’ gardianes, fine horsemen all. Elizabeth David suggested you add brandy and serve the dish with croûtons, but this is often served with Camargue rice.