In the early afternoon we wanted to be in Bosdarros, very close to Pau, with the Mazerolles family from Le Vieux Chêne. All of a sudden, a small, dusty and steep slope left a winding Départementale that led high into the Pyrénéen. We drove over a creek and then weaved up the mountain until an old farmstead appeared out of nowhere. This picturesque courtyard actually turned out to be the company headquarters.
We were greeted warmly by Fabienne Mazerolle, the daughter of the company founder. She told us how it all started. Her father was originally a farmer, he had some animals, mostly ducks, and grew some vegetables. He was and is a passionate hobby cook, and the company was born from this passion in 1994. From scratch, he built a thriving business over the past two decades. It all started in the house kitchen, where he developed and produced his very own recipes. Year after year the demand for Mazerolles unique and high-quality products has increased, so that over the years a modern production facility has developed behind the old family farm, which now employs 16 people. As in all companies that we have visited on this trip so far, Le Vieux Chêne is also a family business, and so it is completely clear that both children have joined the company today.
The remarkable thing about this company is that the taste control is still in the hands of the company founder Daniel Mazerolles, he develops the recipes and tastes them, and what he likes is produced.
Fabienne led us through the premises so that we could gain an insight into the production processes. She told us that around 2,000 to 2,500 ducks are processed a week. The ducks are certified according to the strict IGT-Sud-Ouest-Label (indication géographique protégée = protected geographical descent south-west), ie they were born, raised, stuffed (and only with corn) and slaughtered exclusively in the region. The Mazerolles originally raised and stuffed the ducks themselves, but they now source their ducks from select local farms so they can focus on the development and production of their delicacies. However, the ducks that are purchased are still cut up and processed by hand in the traditional way on the farm.
At the end of our visit, our son Laurent joined us while we looked around the shop. We asked Fabienne which product she could particularly recommend, if there was one that her father was particularly proud of? "Oh you know," she said, "my father would never praise himself for one of his creations, he is a humble and simple man." own way.