Aubrac Beef

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‘Let your beef come from prehistory, your geese from the sky, kill your own pig; those are the fundamentals.’ So thought Joseph Delteil, witty author of La Cuisine Paléolithique (Prehistoric Cooking), whose belief in a return to simple peasant values went as far as living in a woodland cottage without electricity or telephone. Pity his poor wife!

A suitably ancient breed of cattle, and one he would have approved of, is the Aubrac race from the Aveyron – glossy-coated animals, chestnut in colour, with black-tipped crescent horns. They provide fantastic beef and rich milk, but they are also resilient, have ancient survival instincts, and do well on difficult terrain or marginal grasslands.