Summer pork

This recipe was inspired by a feature in the French Télématin about the black pig of the Pyrenees. This pig, porc noir de Bigorre, is an ancient breed which was saved in 1980’s. This pig is not suitable for mass rearing methods because it needs a lot of space to roam freely and it grows slowly. The meat has excellent flavour and is in demand in top Parisian restaurants.

The dish was cooked in open air in Hautes- Pyrénées. Because fresh black pig’s meat is not available in our supermarket in Nice, I have replaced it with lean pork tenderloin, filet mignon de porc.

2 servings

About 300- 400 g pork tenderloin, cut into 4 x 4 cm cubes
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8- 10 green asparagus spears
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. crème fraîche, 15 % fat
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh herbs to decorate

In a large frying pan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Fry the pork cubes until nicely browned on all sides.

Meanwhile peel the asparagus, discard the tough bottom parts and cut into about 3- 4 cm long pieces. Add the asparagus, shallot, and garlic o the pan and continue sautéing about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the pork is cooked.

Add the black pepper and crème fraîche and mix.

Decorate with fresh herbs and serve with new potatoes or red quinoa.


Arvieux: La Chalp to Cabane du Plan du Vallon

Cabane du Plan du Vallon

After two strenuous hiking days, and in the hassle of the day before the Tour de France, we just wanted to make an easy walk, starting directly from our hotel in la Chalp Arvieux (1685 m). Following the GR58 to the picnic area at Cabane du Plan du Vallon seemed like a good idea.

Well, we got a bit more then we wished because the trail down from Crête de l’Echelle (1934 m) was fairly steep and delicate. So never leave for your hikes without hiking poles!

From the parking in la Chalp, we descended a bit, then crossed the dry riverbed and headed south about 100 m, then forked right along a path that soon merged with the GR58.

We continued along GR58, passing a dirt track and a crossroads (Torrent du Combe Bonne 1770 m), then ascended in a magnificent larch forest to Crête de l’Echelle along a good soft trail.

Descending from the Crête along its southern flank, the trail became narrower, rockier and steeper. We passed some rock slides.  We came to a crossroads next to the dirt track that went up the valley. Still following the GR markings, we continued ascending along a wider trail for a while, then again along a forest trail, passing a small lake before reaching our goal today. The cabane turned out to be just a tiny hut next to a forest clearing.

On the way back, we used the same trail to the intersection by the bridge, then followed a wide trail towards Arvieux (a GR58 variant trail). At a signpost before Arvieux, however, we forked left, taking the path to le Coin, walked through the village, then ascended back to la Chalp along a track that followed the river.

The image below shows our itinerary.

Distance: 10,6 km

Duration: about 4h 45

Climb: 690 m
Plan du Vallon hike from la Chalp