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This region is mainly known for its charcuteries and ham, and for game. Large areas of Champagne have traditionally been a game hunter’s paradise – indeed France’s largest game hunting ground, Arc-en Barrois, is located in the area, so the regional cuisine has traditionally been rustic and hearty. Regional cuisines include a selection of venison, wild boar, rabbit, hare, quail and partridge which find their way into game patés (baked in pastry), terrines and rillettes, as well as roasts and stews. Andouillettes (chitterling sausages) are found in many parts of France, but the best known are those from Troyes.
The area to the east of Troyes is referred to locally as ‘wet Champagne’, and is dotted with small lakes where pike and carp are plentiful.
The 2 main cheeses in the region are Chaource and Langres. Chaource is a rich, high fat, soft white cheese with a white rind and a mild flavour. Langres is a strong smelling cheese with a sticky, damp orange rind that is washed in champagne.
As well as the obvious wide selection of champagnes available, the region also produces still wines. The reds from Bouzy in the Montagne de Reims are amongst the best. The rare Rosé des Riceys from the southern Aube area has a spicey bouquet and goes well with exotic food such as curry, although the locals drink it with their ash-coasted cheese, Cendré des Riceys. Ratafia de Champagne is a liqueur wine, a popular regional tipple.