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Cassoulet, the stick-to-your-ribs staple of French cooking combining beans and duck – at least in the original recipe – is spreading its wings as makers in southwestern France look to conquer the world palate. The drive to promote the dish rooted in the Hundred Years War is ambitious, according to Jean-Louis Male, the "grand master" of the guild based in the cassoulet capital, Castelnaudary. The true origins of cassoulet are lost in the mists of time but are irrevocably linked to the Hundred Years War, the 116-year religious conflict between France and England in the 14th and 15th centuries.Of some 85,000 tons produced each year, 22,000 are top quality, Male said, adding that Castelnaudary represents 90 percent of the best quality cassoulet.
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