The park's unmissable gustatory experience is local cheese Fourme d'Ambert, preferably savoured in its home town. Some of the best restaurants with all-season openings are in Thiers, with more limited choice elsewhere. Call ahead in winter, when opening hours can be unpredictable.

The Auvergne's Spider Cheese

Creamy, tangy and wrapped in gnarly brown rind, fromage aux artisons is one of those cheeses you'll only find at markets in the Auvergne, in particular around the Livradois-Forez. Arachnids are the ones to thank for this velvety, raw-milk cheese. 'Artisons' are the local name for acari, eight-legged mites who ripen the cheese and form its distinctive rind.