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The white Charolais cattle are a hallmark of the Burgundy landscape, particularly in the south around Charolles and St-Christophe-en-Brionnais.
Here, surrounded by gently undulating hills, the small farms nestling in the valleys, continue as they have for centuries. Nearly every field has a couple of huge Charolais feeding on the lush pastures of the area from March to November, with hay, fodder and cereal to sustain during the winter months. It is this regime which produces very high quality meat - tender, succulent and full of flavour.
With so much good beef around, it comes as no surprise that Beef Burgundy, or Boeuf Bourguignon as it is known locally is the regional dish. See: Our Chef's Recipes.
In late August each year, Saulieu in the Côte d'Or hosts the Fête du Charolais where prize beef is the star of the fair. Farming crowds are attracted to the Livestock Fair but visitors will also enjoy the contests, parades, street music and regional produce.
Charolles in the south of Burgundy holds a market each Wednesday morning, but for one of the leading cattle markets in France go to St-Christophe-en-Brionnais. This market used to be held each Thursday morning but it has now been moved to Wednesday afternoon.
An experimental farm with 400 heads of cattle has been set up in Jalogny in the Saône et Loire to evaluate reproductive qualities and research into the quality of meat. In April 2010 Boeuf de Charolles was granted an appellation contrôlée.