Since the Gard area of France is still an agricultural region of small farms, locally grown produce stars on menus that change daily to showcase the best of the season. Highlights include asparagus in spring; cherries, apricots, peaches and plums in summer; wild mushrooms in fall; and truffles and game in winter.
Le Grau-du-Roi is the second-largest fishing port on the French Mediterranean coastline, and Gard’s seafood, especially octopus, squid, tellines (tiny clams dredged from the delta of the Rhône), razor shell clams, sea bream and sea bass, is exceptionally fresh. Gard also produces excellent olive oil, notably that of Oliveraie Jeanjean in Saint-Gilles, just south of Nîmes. The most distinctive cheese is pélardon, a tangy goat’s milk cheese, served fresh, aged or marinated in olive oil with herbs.
Two traditional Gardoise recipes appear regularly on menus: gardiane de taureau is a stew of Camargue bull’s meat braised in wine, and brandade de morue, a specialty of Nîmes, is a dish of whipped salt cod and potatoes with garlic.