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.

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.

Recup’acteurs

This was our first visit to Recup’acteurs warehouse who are holding a craft market today and tomorrow, ten until four.

Recup’acteurs is an eco-citizen activity with the idea of reducing waste, it is an excellent recycling centre run by a none profit organisation for the Perigord Noir. If you have any goods you no longer use that could be given a second home they would be welcome. It is to be found at ZAE du Perigord Noir, Vialard, Sarlat. It is well worth a visit on any Friday or Saturday when it is open to the public from 10:00-19:00.

Recup'acteurs The various craft stalls at the entrance to the warehouse.

We were told that the lady displaying gorgeous table lamps makes the shade from Victorian linen bloomers, brilliant idea and fantastic quality.

There are refreshments of home made cakes, biscuits, coffee, soup and mulled wine, all made by the expert hand of Judith, the proprietress of Le Thé Vert. Paul had a coffee, I opted for the mulled wine, it was very warming on a cold day and delicious too.

Everything to buyThere is everything to buy including chandeliers, tableware, glassware, pottery, furniture, electrical goods, books, linen and much, much more.

Toy and Teddy And a wide selection of toys and teddy bears.

dscn2015I did buy two items of Limoges pottery, price… one euro the pair, The water jug will be on display in my bedroom and the dish will be used for storing soaps in the bathroom.

Recup’Acteurs websiteFacebook page
 

Events:-

Christmas Fair at Vitrac on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00

Sarlat Christmas Fair opens on the 7th December

Strange Encounter in the Launderette!

There was a famous advert a few years ago on British television where a young man took of his jeans off to be washed in the Launderette. Why am I writing about this? Well the same thing happened at the Launderette in Cenac this morning. Replace a young man with a much older and heavier man but the actions were exactly the same.

Paul and I go to Cénac most Tuesday mornings for the market of fresh produce but this morning was slightly different due to the fact that I wanted to swap a book at the book exchange section of the village Launderette. They have a really good selection of English and a few French crime novels which you can exchange for one of your own. I had just started to browse through the available books when the gentleman walked in to do his washing. After taking off his jeans and putting them into the washer (I must point out that he was wearing boxer shorts!) he sat down to eat his breakfast and I carried on looking at the books. It did not seem such an unusual event to the owner who came out from the back of the shop and said a cheery “Bonjour”. Could anyone tell me if this is usual laundrette behaviour in France? My husband and I have not stopped laughing.
 

Autumn is here.

Autumn is hereThis picture was taken on the edge of Daglan on route to Cénac, very Autumnal, the changes in seasons are profound here. It is something that we missed in England where, it seems you have one season all year around and it just gets a few degrees warmer in the Summer months. Here the colour of the landscape is changing rapidly now from verdant green to brilliant red, orange and gold it is superb.

Thick Fog Thick fog which had lifted away by lunchtime to give a pleasant afternoon.

On a different note, we have a new artwork in the village which has been created by carving figures into a dead tree, brilliant.

A young women wearing clogs. A young women wearing clogs.

This was taken from the other side of the tree,

a Gentleman in a top hat.A Gentleman in a top hat.

Events : This Saturday in Daglan is the “Walk for Cancer” which starts at two o’clock at the Salle des fêtes, 3km or 7km which ever you prefer.
 

Heart of gold – Our first year in Daglan

I was reminded by our son that it was one year ago today my husband, son and cats began the long drive to Daglan. I followed by plane a few days later and the year has just flown by so quickly with some ups and downs along the way, we made it here and eventually so did our furniture!

When we look back over the year and through our extensive photograph collection, the pictures that mean the most to us are our pictures of the people here in Daglan, they are truly “the heart of gold.” We have meet so many new and interesting people that it is those people that stand out the most in our lives. From the very start of our new life here a warm “Bonjour” made us welcome by the doctor, dentist, government officials, the plumber and chimney sweep, our new friends who gave us lavender plants and friends that we have known for a few years thank you so much, it has been a good year.

Before I start to shed a few tears here are some of our most memorable pictures from the past year.

Le La VertDaglan fête was a time of celebration at Le Thé Vert.

 

Daglan fêteThe parade with our Maire in the middle of the picture, wonderful.

 

Sunday market at DaglanThe view from our balcony over looking the Sunday market.

 

Train A Vapeur De MartelI so loved this steam train ride, fabulous.

 

SunflowersPeople here have asked me what the weather was like in Blackpool during the Summer. These are a few words that I jotted down before we left England.

July in England. Billowing wind that has whipped up the many seagulls from the coast and has now drifted inland across the house tops and buildings of Blackpool. Then the sharp, stinging drizzle fell growing in strength until the grey clouds were turned into black sheets of unforgiving rain.

In contrast.

July in Daglan. Summer gasped upon the village like the mouth of a great oven. Even in the shade of the canopy in our courtyard it was too hot for me to sit outside for long periods. This was the time of flowers, butterfly’s and moths which would glide and dance around our growing vine. We took our walk down the lane beside the river Céou to see the horses, dragon flies and lizards much earlier in the day than during the Spring time. The cries of the cicadas seemed to become more insistent with each hot day until they hit a crescendo. This was the time for barbecues, for visiting friends old and new and to sit back and enjoy our first year.

WelcomeWelcome to the village party, it does not get any better than this.
 

Our first year in DaglanWe have completed a lot of decorating, DIY and renovation work this year, from the completely new bathroom, to the corridor floor, to painting the window frames, shutters, balcony, and veranda and much more too tedious to tell. Our next project is to focus on the rear of the property, however, a rest is in order as our son is arriving from the UK this afternoon. On second thoughts a rest might not be the right word, for I am sure a Cro-Magnon cave or two will be visited, canoeing on the Dordogne and we will visit our favourite medieval town of Sarlat.

A final word, if your dream is to move to France but you are feeling a little trepidation, a new country, different culture and way of life. Do not let apprehension stop you, go for it, you will never look back. The French love life and so will you, Bon Courage.

 

 

The last Crusade and the curious iron!

Part one of our trip to La Rogue-Gageac.

 

The Brocante at La Rogue-Gageac was wonderful and it was so large that it extended from the road to the water front, in one direction and from the cafes through to the end of the car park on its South side. Brimming with everything from Dinky cars, antique and not so antique furniture, paintings to linen and lace.

I love looking at the most curious items while searching for the particular pieces that I would like for our home.
 

La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fair, DSCN1764This selection remaindered me of the scene in the film The Last Crusade, when Harrison Ford had to pick which chalice to drink from.
 

La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fair, DSCN1761This desk took Paul and I back to the late 1950’s when we were at school learning while sitting at desks which were similar to the one above. I was lucky though I had fountain pens rather than the ink wells in this desk. You could also buy the class photographs from the 1930’s, 1940’s, plus end of term school reports.
 

La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fair, DSCN1765Believe it or not this stack of cushions are porcelain, they look so real. They were so interesting that I was tempted to ask the price but where would I put them?
 
La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fairTemptation over with, I have always wanted a flat iron as a kind of homage to the women who had to use them, who I have great respect for. This particular one is fascinating due to the fact that it seemed to have belonged to the Gendarmerie which is cast into the iron along with the Gendarme emblem. After we had purchased the iron we were talking to another antique dealer who said that it was unusual and rare!

I do seem to find linen and lace from a long distance away, I know exactly where the various stalls are, (Paul calls it my linen magnet). One stall had displays of manufactured lace and hand made lace. Resistance was very futile, this particular hand made lace is from about the eighteen hundreds and absolutely gorgeous. There are two possibilities for the lace, either on a pillowcase or a white linen top – It is so special that I think it should be the top.
 

Event:- the last Brocante in our area will be held in St-Cyprien on the 24th and 25th September.
 


St Cyprien on market day

I had been in bed with gastric flu for what seemed like weeks but in reality only a couple of days, cabin fever had developed so I had to get out for a short trip after my sickness had abated. What better way to start a gorgeous summer day than a breakfast picnic in the small picnic area next to the statue of Josephine Baker with one of her children and then on to the Sunday market in St Cyprien.

DSCN1498Picnic area perfumed by flowers

 

The tourist season is in full swing here so you do need to get to the market early in order to park. The crowds of people make it impossible to hurry along, so a slow shoe shuffle past the stalls is the order of the day. I do not mind it gives me longer to stand and view each stall in turn as you pass by.

There seemed to be hundreds of stalls selling everything from vegetables to household goods, the aroma from the spices, cheese, sausages, oriental treats, cut flowers etc. is overpowering. Quite a few dogs were sniffing the air to see which direction to go for a snack or two. However, today I wanted to see the unusual, the artisans at work creating their own unique products to sell in the markets of the Perigord.

 

DSCN1424 For example it was fascinating watching an artisan at work creating a person’s name in wood.  The speed at which he worked was extraordinary, with in a few minutes he had completed another name.

 

DSCN1499This gentleman looked so splendid I had to ask if I could take his picture. He corrected his posture to his full height and looked proudly at the camera. He had hand made jewellery for sale on his stall.

 

There were quite a few buskers playing various instruments.

DSCN1488Here are two of them at work.

St Cyprien market

They both sang and played very well, I was tempted to join in but I remembered our border collie howling at me when I sang and our cat Angel hides her head underneath the pillow in horror when I sing “soft kitty” for her. I refrained for the sanity of the other shoppers.

 


Events :- St Cyprien will be holding a night market every Friday Evening throughout the summer. They are not like the usual markets that we know but are stalls of street food and drink where you purchase different foods of the area to eat at a table. There is also live music and an area to dance. I missed last Friday’s due to illness but we shall be going, I just hope that they sell a vegetarian option, which is difficult to obtain in the Perigord.

Daglan, 13th July, live music

Castlenaud, 13th July, Brocante

14th July, Bastille Day when all of France celebrates, our French flag is at the ready.

La Roque-Gageac ,16th July, Brocante and free live music