To the west of the Aude lies a district called the Ouercorb – a place of deep valleys, oak trees, acorns, pigs and fine jambon de pays. Pigs are often raised in the traditional way. Recently, forty or so farms producing their own mature and sizeable pigs as well as artisanal charcuterie have formed a co-operative. Look for saucissons secs and saucisses sèches labelled with the words ‘Aude – Pays Cathare’, and try the amazingly good fresh sausages – butchers everywhere here make the finest, all pure pork without any padding.
Roast pork in the Aude is sometimes cochon de lait or sucking pig, which is boned and rubbed inside with aromatic sage, wild thyme and savory – pounded in a mortar with salt or mixed with butter. I have adapted the idea for a loin of pork.