Aveyron: the Bezonnois, our daily bread

What could be simpler and more convivial than sharing a piece of bread. A still warm ball prepared by Alix with 100% local products…

Long before dawn. The callade blued by the returning cold. The kitchen lights spilling over into the night. Under the porch, the reflections of the oven through the glass roof. Long before the first birds. The mist still complicit with the stars, the amorous drizzle along the windows. The hum of machines. The jumps of Tom – a newcomer, still a puppy -, crouching in the hallway, busy watching the dawn with one eye. Long before the children wake up. The little one, taking refuge in the parents’ big bed; his brother, blessed, pope in his quarters. In the four corners of the house, already, the purring stoves. Provided early tonight with firewood just brought in. The flames, the heavy, dull breath, the tingling of the pipes. Long before the first picking in the morning, wet lips, boots up to the knees. In Cantamerle, in Bancalis, in Galaubie. Happy, by the way. The latecomers caught fleeing on the edge of the undergrowth – deer, owls, wild boars. The flora fallen from the clouds, still crumpled. Long before the first bells ringing. The shutters of the village, the roosters of the neighborhood, the greetings from one window to another, the “how are you this morning?” » and others « it’s refreshing, don’t you think? “.

Like babies in their cradles

Long before: Alix in the kitchen, now assisted. Hard at work so that at dawn, from the Place de l’Eglise to the surrounding hamlets, a few “Bezonnois” make their way onto the breakfast tables; still hot, freshly delivered, by bike, on foot, or picked up at the restaurant by a few fond followers as they pass by for a morning coffee offered by the fireside, paired with a chocolate or two.
So, two hundred and fifty grams of locality – flour from the Planesty farm and natural leaven, coiled in the old baskets offered by the Aubeleau friends, at the Cathedral, as a baker’s baptism.

Barely out of the oven, infused with the herbs of the day: hay, bay leaf, oregano or even fennel, juniper. Like infants in their cradles, a few minutes, an hour, what it takes for the crust to burst with flavors which it will be surrounded from birth until you come to taste it.

From then on, a spoonful of cream from Dilhac, a round of butter from the farm next door, a ladleful of homemade jam with plums from the garden that are finally falling, a dash of honey from Serge Bordes in Nauviale, a Skyr crushed Froncalou with a fork; a rubbed garlic, a cheese, a pâté de tête, a sausage from the start of the day, a marrow bone cooked on waking like a delicacy, a reward not yet deserved; to dip in a broth just back from the hunt, generous, comforting, in moist fingers, delicate, in a soft-boiled egg from a Sunday with the family, grilled again to hear the story or still lukewarm from its batch. Who knows what sauce each ball will be eaten. Broken by hand, cut under the arm with a blade taken from a pocket, sliced ​​diligently, autonomy under supervision, by the kid in the kitchen eager to grow up and prove with bread that only a few years would be enough for him to be able to he, too, like the grown-ups watching in the morning.

On Alix’s apron, her floured hands

It’s all these people in this one bread. Two hundred and fifty grams of village. Whose flavors, well before dawn, the first birds, the awakening of children, the picking and the knocking of the steeple, now stick to the steamy windows, defying the cold on the other side, the autumn just started – so that the still disheveled brat can soon write, draw, his memories of last night.
On Alix’s apron, her floured hands. At the chef’s table, a counter just mounted on the edge of a cooking range so that in the evening a few guests can now take refuge there, the coffees smoke alongside a plate of food as a passport for the day. The fine team finally arises. In the heat, the flavors return. The rest of the world can wake up, breakfast is assured. And the newspaper just delivered.

A place to discover

With Indian and Catalan roots, Aveyron native by adoption, Alix Bellegarde is a head researcher. With the anthropologist Antonin Pons Braley and their children, they travel the world to archive the food cultures of island and northern regions. In Aveyron, the Pons Bellegarde family welcomes, within the family farmhouse and its gardens, on the place de l’Eglise, in the heart of the old village of Bezonnes: gourmet table, gourmet bookstore, tea room, delicatessen, micro -bakery, journal of culinary anthropology, publishing and art gallery. Under the pen of Antonin, the duo delivers to the readers of Center Presse each week a diary of the Aveyron region of Alix’s cuisine and their explorations.

– The Big Bakery Book. Thomas Marie, Jean-Marie Lanio, Patrice Mitaille. (2017)
– Stale bread: Ten ways to prepare it. Adriano Farano. (2021)
– Breads of the world. Sophie Dupuis-Gaulie. (2021)

Leave a Comment