I hope we picked a winner!

Sarlat was inundated with Master Chocolatiers last weekend, they were showing their skills at the Chocolate Festival which had been organised, for the second year, by the Rotary Club. If you love chocolate as I do, last weekend was amazing.

Your senses are first aroused by the Masterpiece creations which were displayed on a long tables near the entrance. They are each numbered and you pick the one you think is best, which I found extremely difficult, once you have made your choice you write the number onto a card along with your contact details. If you have picked the same as the judges your entry is placed in a draw for a hamper of chocolate.

This is the one that I picked, keeping fingers crossed that it is a winner.
 

I also liked the golden eggs, and,,, and,,, and…
 

Paul picked number seven in the middle of the picture, in front of the Rotary Club sign.
 
One room was used for chocolate demonstrations where classes were held to teach a little of the art of working with chocolate. There were also films about growing cocoa for chocolate.
 

Two other rooms housed what was for me, the main event…
 

Rows upon rows of chocolate creations for sale from the Master Chocolatiers of the Perigord.
 

Chocolate cartoon characters, Wow yummy
 

This was my favourite, a chocolate Peruvian mask which was made from the rich dark chocolate from Peru. Unfortunately it was tucked away behind a pile of chocolate pieces in a corner of a display cabinet, hence the poor lighting!
 
 

Events:-

Sunday 19th Daglan Spring Festival in and around the Place de la Liberté http://www.daglan.fr/fete-du-printemps/. At 11:00 there will be the official inauguration of the Stèle de la Paix, (magnificent carved tree), alongside the church. The Café de la Fleur will be holding a mini market.

Morning of Wednesday 22nd Daglan Children’s Carnival http://www.daglan.fr/carnal-des-enfantscarnaval-ecole-2017/.
 

 

Now for something yummy.

The Newly decorated and renamed Pâtisserie Massoulier (ex Roland Mertz ) is to be found at 33 Rue de la République in Sarlat. It is the kind of shop that you just have to stop and take pictures, the window display is always a cake lovers artistry and everything they sell is so delicious I could buy the lot but my waist band and my bank account would not allow it.
 

Pâtisserie MassoulierSo yummy

 

dscn2343Rows and rows of hand made chocolates for every occasion
 

dscn2342Sorry I think that I got a little side tracked, here is a little of the new décor, furniture and fittings.
 

dscn2340Just about to eat breakfast. Besides wonderful gateau they also serve excellent coffee, a wide variety of teas, real hot chocolate, fresh squeezed orange juice and of course, delicious pastries.
 
 

Wow… This is my time of year

Sarlat Chocolate FestivalChocolate Festival in Sarlat on 11 and 12th March, at the Ancien Evêché, next to the tourist office on Place du Payrou.
 
 

More Hidden Gems of Sarlat

It is always worth wondering around the side streets of any town in the Perigord Noir however, the Medieval Quarter in Sarlat stands out as one of the best, where you can find hidden treasures literally just around every corner. This happened to Paul a few weeks ago when he was passing the time waiting for me while I was at our hairdressers.

If you walk up the main shopping street in Sarlat, pass the chocolatiers, Burton’s Store and the store that sells knifes and guns! You will come to a small cobbled lane on the left that doubles back and rises up to take you around the bend. There, hidden around the bend on the Rue J.J. Rousseau you will find the 17th Century Chapel des Pénitents Blancs with its magnificent portico.
 

17th Century Chapel des Pénitents BlancsChapel of the White Penitents XVIIth century
 

dscn2256The beautiful baroque door is the only ornament of the Chapel of the Récollets (a reformed branch of the Franciscan order) of the White Penitents.

In 1944 the chapel was classified as an historical monument and since 1970, it has housed a museum of sacred art.
 

In the old quarter take the lane which is found on the left of the Cathedral and runs past the Lantern of the Dead.
 

twisty, narrow laneTake the first left at the antique shop and you will find a twisty, narrow lane which in turn leads you into the myriad of Medieval properties which we had never seen before.
 

A beautiful balustradeA beautiful balustrade with artisan jewellery shops on the first level of the property.

Meandering through the narrow cobbled lanes of artisans and art galleries you will come to Rue Fénelon, turn left where you will find cafes, a Thai Restaurant (which we must check out) and antique shops.
 

Tall houseOn the right, tucked in between the shops you will see another interesting 14th C property.
 

Aux Bonheurs De SopheFurther along the same lane towards Rue de la Liberté you will find on the right, ‘Aux Bonheurs De Sophe’. A Millinery shop where I could spend hours browsing and buying almost everything. It sells beautiful materials, cottons, wools and accessories, in fact everything that you need, including silk embroidery threads which I needed for my new hobby.

Past the milliners you will see the Truffle Market on the right and the magnificent Place de la Liberté with its Wednesday and Saturday markets.
 

Truffle Festival

This is undoubtedly the highlight of January, Sarlat Truffle Festival which ran for two days last weekend. There are not many things that would entice me to leave the warmth of a log fire when the temperature outside is -2 and I have a bad cold but the prospect of buying a truffle wins every time.

At up to one thousand euros a kilo the fusty, musty, heady truffle is among the worlds most expensive foods, comparable to caviar that is a similar price.

You can find truffles used in moose, macerons, chocolate, and thinly sliced on top or in various meat and vegetarian dishes. When Paul and I had a holiday in Umbria many years ago we were introduced to truffle ice cream, sounds a bit icky but it was so delicious.

Due to the fact that it can be used to flavour foods before you actually use the truffle it can be quite economical. Dropped in with other foods such as eggs, pasta, chicken or rice so the truffle aroma and taste will permeate most food products you can make a small truffle last for several meals.
 

Medieval Quarter in Sarlat Medieval Quarter in Sarlat where truffle hunters and Chiefs from all over the Perigord Black sell their truffles and truffle creations.

There have always been truffles in the Perigord Black but due to the First and Second World Wars, the nurture of the truffle went into decline, on one hand due to the loss of the smallholders and on the other hand the shrinking forests due to changes of land use and the exhaustion of truffle friendly trees. Across France in the 1930’s, the truffle harvest was roughly 1000 tons. During the 1960’s replanting of trees such as the French Oak was introduced plus other trees to test the growth of truffles. Now however is the constant threat of climate change. Hotter Summers and less rainfalls in other parts of France is reducing the growth of the truffle. So as the harvest starts to decline so the price increases. Today in sharp contrast it is only about 50 tons.
 

Truffles on displayVery proud owners of the truffle selling their finds at various weights and quality.
 

Truffle mooseTruffles made into moose with grated truffle on top, or thinly sliced between pate.
 

Two young Chiefs Two young Chiefs competing for the best truffle macerons. We did buy two macerons from them and ate them while the Chiefs waited for our response. Truly delicious boys.
 

Truffle maceronsOf course we had to buy two large macerons from another Chief to take home with us. You can not beat coffee or chocolate macerons made with truffles, the flavour is magnificent.
 

Our little truffleOur little prize along side a dessert spoon, we only paid fifteen euros so a really good price. We placed the truffle on top of eggs and left them over night. The truffle had permeated the egg shell by the morning giving the scrambled eggs the luxury flavour of truffle. Now the truffle is sitting in the rice container to flavour the rice.

A pig or a dog is usually used to sniff and find truffles in the forests, however I think that we may have the first truffle cat! Our kitten Cleo loves the smell of truffle.
 

Events:-

Castelnaud-la-Chapelle 28th and 29th January for the International Céou Canoe Race.

Daglan 19th March for the Second Spring Festival of Flowers.

Sculpture extraordinaire Lau. Dussol.

A work of art has been created from a dead tree which stands just outside the library opposite the church in the village. Instead of digging the tree up and taking it way the Maire and the Commune decided on a brilliant idea of transforming the tree into a work of art. M. Lau. Dussol was duly commissioned for the task.

Paul and I have taken many walks past the tree over the months and seen the transformation. Starting from the bottom up two people came into view.
 

dscn2146On this side is a lady wearing traditional dress and clogs.

 

dscn2145On the other side is a gentleman in a top hat.
Above them both are various heraldic shields, one of which is the shield of Daglan.

 

dscn2144What I love though are the gargoyles on top of the tree at the back and sides, with the dove of peace at the front.

 

Now consider the artists tools, most of the work was carried out with a chain saw which really highlights the fine skill of the artist.

He was also commissioned to create a totem pole for the Primary School in the village, brilliant.
 

dscn2203A proud Maire and I admiring the artists work.

 

Event:- See you all at Sarlat Truffle Festival on Saturday the 14th January, we will be the couple eating truffle macaroons, they are so good.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

…everywhere you go.

Here are just a few of my favourite things in Sarlat. First of course is the Patisserie, Chocolater shop called Roland Mertz, which is to be found on Rue de la République in Sarlat. Everything that you want to eat or rather should not eat is here.
 

Patisserie Roland MertzMouth watering delicious display of everything naughty but nice for a Christmas treat.
 

Chocolate fixOur breakfast stop at the above shop, to indulge ourselves with steaming hot chocolate or coffee and pastries. I think that they may have made a slight mistake with mine, they served what seemed to be a soup bowel of hot chocolate. So warming and delicious.
 

Sarlat Tourisme OfficeSarlat Tourisme Office, seasonally decorated with festive window displays featuring Russian dolls
 

Red CarpetThe decorations on this shop are brilliant, with its own red carpet and it also has Russian dolls in the window.
 

Msocow this wayJust a few signs to let you know how far it is to Moscow, St Petersburg etc. and of course, the Christmas market
 

We will be posting our last blog before the Christmas break in a few days time.
 

Doctor Zhivargo comes to Sarlat!

Sarlat Christmas Market.

The Christmas market in Sarlat consists of about forty chalets, all offering artisan products from Christmas decorations, toys, paintings, candy, macaroons, chocolate, scarves, hats to beer, mulled wine, snacks and more. Our first visit to the market was last Thursday but I am sure that there will be more. I love Christmas and the Christmas market in Sarlat fills me, and I am sure many others, with joy. This year the Christmas market and indeed the Medieval Quarter and the main streets all have a Russian theme, which looks brilliant.
 

Entrance to Sarlat Christrmas MarketEntrance to the market along the red carpet, which is to be found in the main car park in Sarlat. The Commune have spent over a month getting the car park transformed into a winter wonderland.
 

Russian Winter sledgeRussian Winter sledge which brought back memories of the film Doctor Zhivargo, I could just picture myself sitting wrapped up snug and warm alongside Hugh Jackman. I know he was not in the film but a girl can dream.
 

Russian dolls I love this collection of Russian dolls for sale, such vivid colours.
 

Fresh baked PretzelsFresh baked Pretzels, oh my another temptation, trying to loose a few pound before Christmas has never been so hard, I think that I will leave the diet until the New Year!
 

Artisan potteryAll hand made pots in different colours.
 

St PetersburgSt Petersburg back drop in the centre of the Market.

There is also a large ice skating rink for all ages and of course Father Christmas is to be found at the entrance. The market is open until the 30th December.