What could be better than hot chocolate for breakfast?

Hot chocolate and pain au raisin of course.

We often have breakfast at Pâtisserie Massoulier on our morning visits to Sarlat. It was so cold and foggy last Saturday that a hot chocolate drink was especially needed to warm us up a little, it was such a welcome treat before we set off to slowly roam around in the market.

Totally delicious.
 

We usually see Glinglin directing traffic around Sarlat centre.
 

Today however, he was directing people around the market with a traffic cone loud speaker. He is such a joy to see and so funny.
 

The covers were up on the market stalls to protect against the Autumn chill of the morning. Which thankfully did not last too long before the sun came out and reached a temperature of 22C.
 

I can never resist taking a picture of “Le Badaud” the relaxed onlooker gazing out across Sarlat Medieval Quarter. The sculpture by Gérard Auliac and can be seen looking out over the Place de la  Liberté.
 

Installation of Julien Lombardi at Sainte-Marie Fountain.
Paul saw an animal painting on the back wall but I saw a landscape scene! Whatever it is the light really helped to illuminate the painting.

Carried out within the framework of the Residences of Art, Sarlat – October 2017
This installation is based on an exploration scene of the Cuze underground canals passing under Sarlat.

JULIAN LOMBARDI
The Imaginary Museum
October 7 to November 19,2017
Hotel Plamon – rue des Consuls and Fontaine Sainte-Marie
SARLAT LA CANEDAEDA
Free entrance from Monday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm
Information
and group reservations
Heritage Service – City of Sarlat
05 53 29 82 98 / 05 53 29 86 68

 
 

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Investigating the narrow streets of Perigueux

As a tip, always head for the medieval quarter of Perigueux on route to the Cathedral of Saint-Front which acts as a striking focal point as you ramble through the narrow lanes; it has a very curious power of popping out at you whenever you think that you are lost. This happened to Paul and I a few weeks ago when we visited the former department capital. However, we did find a few very interesting small boutique shops.
 

A violin shop, the owner makes each instrument by hand, how amazing is that?

I am unsure if these are gnomes or trolls, but never mind they are very cute in the violin shop window.
 

The architecture is stunning in this area which is full of very tempting boutiques, filled with luxury foods, wine, chocolates, cafes and restaurants. Not forgetting the clothes shops of course. However, what we wanted to see was the Renascence architecture which can be found in any of small squares or narrow lanes.

Absolutely gorgeous entrance to the Maison Tenant.
 

Brief accounts of the history of many of the historical buildings in the city are to be found on plaques fixed at the front or side of the property. The above says, this dwelling consists of two habitable units, set at right angles to each other, with a turret at the second flour. Renaissance doorway with this inscription on the lintel: “Remember we all have to die one day. He who enjoys speaking ill of those who are absent, let him know that this house is forbidden to him. The greatest glory comes from displeasing the wicked. This house, built in 1518 with the blessing of the Almighty”.

The tympanum is emblazoned, framed with pilasters with a shell decoration mounted above.

In 1850 the house belonged to a pâté maker named Franconi and in 1897 to Pascal Tenant a friend of Catoire. (A Russian composer of French decent, have a listen to some of his music here, it is brilliant.)
 

Wednesday is market day, held near the Cathedral of Saint-Front. Paul and I had a treat of crêpes with Nutella sitting at an outside table enjoying the sunshine.
 

This stall was overflowing with different breads and cakes of the region.
 
 

Event:-24th September, Vintage car and motorcycles dating from pre 1980’s to be found in Marche Aux Noix Square Sarlat from 10:00 to 12:30.

 
 

Would Paella fit through the letter box?

Food glorious food, or rather “Promenade en Gastronomy Daglan 2017”. Our first impression of the event was the unmistakable aroma of roasting chicken and paella which permeated our home last Sunday morning. Our cat Angel sitting by the front door and licking her lips was also a sure sign that the Gastronomy Sunday was up and running.

The Paella and roast chicken stall made using our front door interesting to say the least and keeping the shutters closed reduced the temptation for our cats to go on secret raids. I had visions of Angel dragging a whole roast chicken home.

The side door was also temporarily blocked by a large white van being unloaded. No problem we waited for the lane to clear to enjoy the experience.

For Sunday lunch we could have lowered a basket from the balcony.

 
Le Place De La Liberté was packed with stalls offering various types of food and drink.

 
Long queues of locals and tourists were forming to buy the produce.

 
Tempted by truffles, these looked so good.

 
The forest materialised the day before for the truffle dog demonstration. Such a gorgeous dog who found the truffles in record time, but I think that the aroma of chicken, sausage and paella was a great distraction.

 
The Boulangerie stall selling various types of bread.

 
One simply cannot have a Gourmand Sunday without garlic.

 
Or wine, this is just one of the many stalls selling wine.

 
Perhaps a little too much wine (or beer), but it looked like great fun.

 
 
Events :-

Dominique ALLAËRT is displaying his wonderful watercolours.
See and buy them at l’Ancien Presbytère, Daglan until the 26th August.
Dominique ALLAËRT, Aquarelliste.

 
 

La Fête Nationale (Bastille Day) in Daglan

The French National Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille on the 14th July 1789, which was a turning point of the French Revolution. The date also celebrates from 1790 the Fête de la Federation which is for the unity of the French people, a tradition clearly upheld in our village, not only by French people but all of the different nationalities that live here.

Parade to the cenotaph which was led by our Maire Pascal Dussol.

 
We particularly love how he always greets and welcomes everyone that he meets.

 
Gorgeous flowers to be laid at the cenotaph in front of La Petit Paris restaurant.

 
A welcoming and moving speech. This little boy will grow up to be a star of film and stage I am sure.

 
After the ceremony we were all invited by the Maire to join him for drinks and snacks.

 
It was great meeting up with friends in the village. “Santé Anita”

 
And more Santé to Roy and Letitia, it was the same glass of wine honestly. Do I look like I am wearing furry slippers? Roy’s dog had taken a liking to my feet

 
 
Events:-

Sarlat Theatre Festival during the months of 20th July to 5th August, Visit the Office de Tourisms at 3 Rue Tourny for events.

Night Markets start and continue through the months of July and August. Typically “marchés nocturnes” have a good choice of locally produced food, wine and beer, and a live band playing from about 8.00pm. Seating at tables is provided and seasoned night-market visitors will take their own crockery and cutlery.

Monday – Montignac
Tuesday – Bouzic
Wednesday – Belves
Thursday – Saint Cyprian
Friday – Saint-Cybranet
Saturday – Saint Pompon

Events may be subject to change so please check with the local Office de Tourisme

 
 

The Green Finger of Knowledge.

Last Sunday morning we needed to replace a few of our plants because our kitten Cleo had sat on them a few days earlier. Being squashed to pieces did not do them any good at all. Usually we get our plants from Sandrine at Daglan Sunday market but she was not there.

Sandrine is truly a marvel with information on plants, tell her what type of plant you are looking for and she will advise on colour, flowering period and instructions on where and how to plant them. If you plant them in an unsuitable place she will wag her finger at you advising you to move the plant.

This she did a few weeks ago when we bought plants from her. She ran across the main road pointed to the plant we had just bought and said ‘non’ and them spread her arms on the wall to show that it should be planted against a wall with a trellis. Yes, we moved the plant! Well she is the expert and we are only the learners of what will grow and where in our village so any help is always appreciated.

Back to the story, Sandrine was not at Daglan market but we’d seen posters that Cénac et Saint Julien was holding a flower festival so off we went. We found the main road in Cénac was closed to traffic to be used for their Flower Festival.

I am on the right buying basil from one of the many stalls.
 

I was so tempted by these gorgeous roses, the colours, the aroma, wow, but space being at a premium, practicality won.
 

We did buy flowers to replace the squashed ones from the stall above.
 

We found Sandrine with her magnificent display.
Just a few of the large selection on offer from the expert gardener.
 

I think that we need more help from her in order to achieve the above.
 
 

Event:- France Election this Sunday for the second and final round of votes for the two remaining candidates. Keeping fingers crossed all day!
 
 

Hidden and not so Hidden Gems of St Cyprian

Arriving at St Cyprien you are first greeted, by the commercial area with Carrefour Supermarket which has a very handy chemist, plus other stores including a DIY and a household electrical stores which we have found very useful. Head up to the town and you reach the main street the Rue Gambetta.

Along this charming road there are many restaurants and bars, a good fresh fish shop and a number of boutiques, there is also an excellent shop selling beautiful cabinets and stone hand basins for the bathroom. If you are looking for a coffee, a meal or simply a stroll taking in the French atmosphere, this is the street to head for. The tourist information office is on this street and they can give you a very useful map for exploring the old town.

Our not so Hidden Gem. If you use the Credit Agricole bank in St Cyprian you will have noticed across the road from the bank a very interesting Roman style sunken garden which is I am afraid to say is somewhat neglected now but you can imagine how wonderful it once was.

It looks gorgeous even now.
 

A market is held every Sunday morning throughout the year and Wednesday mornings in the summer season.

The array and variety of fresh produce is outstanding.
 

Every basket you could possibly want is on display
 
Our Hidden Gem. A weekend Brocante is held each April and is hidden away at the back of the Sunday market in and around the Salle des Fetes.

Does anyone remember these dress makers models? My mother used to have one like the model to the back, right. Very awkward to use, she had to take it apart and rebuild every time she needed another size. With my help due to the fact that it was always very difficult to attach the pins.
 

Our purchases from the Brocante. Blue and gold leaf coffee cup
 

Plus a red and gold leaf tea cup and saucer
 
 
Event:- Cenac this Sunday, 30th April for the Flower Festival
 
 

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.