On the First Day of Christmas My Truelove Gave to Me.

Just everything in Maison Massoulier, over the twelve day period!

Inside and out of their shop on Rue de la Republique in Sarlat is like walking into a Winter Wonderland of chocolates and patissieres. We popped in for our breakfast before going shopping and a major Wow factor hit our senses. I just wish that an aroma blog had been invented and you could smell it for yourself. Or better still if you are in the area pop along, you will not be disappointed with the delights on offer.

It’s Christmas with a Spanish Theme in Sarlat.
 

Advent Calenders full of delicious chocolates.
 

This is just a preview of their creations.
 

“Hands off Paul, the candy is mine”. No he was really covering the light for me so I could take a picture.
 

The French enjoy their Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, Le Réveillon de Noël. The term derives from ‘reveil’ which means ‘waking’ because taking part in a Réveillon means everyone stays awake past midnight to enjoy a large dinner party. The food served on Christmas Eve is extensive, from oysters, pate, lobster, capons or turkey, or any other meat that is not usually eaten during the year. Dishes can also incorporate chestnuts or truffles. After an extensive cheese platter the traditional main event of the Buche de Noël, a Swiss roll in the shape of a log which comes in a variety of flavours but most often chocolate.

You can pre-order your Buches de Noël from the above shop.

My favourite is Forêt Noire, which is mainly chocolate with Kirsch on a biscuit base and Chantilly cream. Or Majestic, a mousse chocolate with praline, with armande biscuit. Or Roules Aux fruits, Roulé Citron Meringué which is biscuit génoise vanillé with cream of citron. Or Omelette Norvégienne with Grand Marnier. So much to choose.
 
 

Event:- Sarlat Marché de Noël which will be open on the 5th December.

Coming soon Daglan Noël Tree in Place de la Liberté.
 
 

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Good News, we can still buy French bread!

There is no milk in our supermarket in Daglan. In-fact no milk and no deliveries of most things will be arriving in any Supermarket for at least another week but local bread is still being delivered.

France’s major strike by the Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) is having an effect on the Perigord area in which we live. The Gilets Jaunes are protesting against sharp increases in diesel and petrol prices which could come into force in January. This impacts on the overall rising costs of food etc. and therefore the fall in living standards for a lot of people.

We experienced the strike first hand this morning has we drove to Sarlat market. The roundabouts at two major junctions were very active with people wearing yellow vests, but traffic was flowing. On the way back from Sarlat we observed protesters who were stopping traffic going into Sarlat. Unsure for how long the delay was but expect some delays over the next few days.

More news, you can still buy local fresh vegetables and fruit at the markets… That is if you can get to them.
 

Excellent News for me this week. I have had my first Commission for my artisan embroidery work.

Truffles and truffle oil.
 

Walnuts in a wicker basket.
 

I am so trilled, excited and so very pleased that the person who commissioned me loves the embroidery pictures which will go into her two gites named “Walnut” and “Truffle”.

I am working towards an exhibition in Daglan next July and August. Which will cover a variety of themes and local interest, plus embroidered bags, cushions, pillow cases, lavender hearts etc.
 
 

Event:-Sarlat Marché de Noël, 5th to the 31st December. This years theme is Spain, I can not wait.
 
 

Preserved Tomatoes.

A couple of weeks ago we were given tomatoes by two of our friends who grow their own fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes straight from the vine smell and taste so good. So for a Winter treat I thought that I would try preserve tomatoes. Having never preserved tomatoes before I was a little apprehensive, but I can honestly say that it was quick, easy, no problem at all. So if you grow you own tomatoes or get then fresh from a farmers market buy 2kg and try it out. The taste is fabulous, much better than tinned tomatoes.

Makes 6 Jars

Time: 45 minutes, plus sterilising and cooling.

You will need:- 6 clean glass jars with lids and about 2kg of ripe tomatoes. Plus a little drizzle of olive oil.

1. Wash the tomatoes, then remove the stalks. Depending on the size of the jars, either halve or quarter the tomatoes.

2. Then start to fill the jars, intermittently adding a leaf of fresh basil. Pressing the tomatoes down with the back of a wooden spoon so that they are tightly packed.

The bulk of the preserved tomatoes were made using the above method but I also made a few the jars with slices of fresh chilli for Paul.

3. Now, make extra sure that the jars are full and packed tightly so that there are no air gaps, add a drizzle of olive oil on top. Then seal each jar tightly.

4. Submerge each jar in a large pan of gently boiling water. Then boil for about thirty minutes. To slightly cook the tomatoes and sterilise the jars.

5. Turn the heat off and leave to cool overnight in the pan of water.

These should keep for about three or four months in a cool, dark place. Once opened, keep them in the fridge and use within a week.

Trust me once you have tasted the tomatoes, they will not last for very long.

The taste of Summer for the Winter months, if you can store them that long.

They can be used in sauces, stew, casserole, chilli, pasta dishes etc.
 
 

Events:-

Organ Concert in Sarlat on the 1st September at 11am.

Flea Market in Vitrac 16th September.

15th and 16th September at Castlenaud, Tournament of Medieval Fencing.
 
 

Eyrignac Manor Garden

Not far from Sarlat are the gardens of Eyrignac Manor, where the French writer Gauthier de Costes de la Calprenede lived in the 17th Century. It is one of France’s most beautiful gardens and contains over 300 topiary sculptures and 50,000 yew, hornbeam, box and ivy plants and is well worth a visit.

Paul with our friends Hayley and Paul sitting in the shade of the Chinese Pagoda.

 

Manor d’Artaban.

 
It was Antoine de Costes de la Calprenede (1605-1689) councillor at the Presidential Court of Sarlat and appointed first Consul and defender of the town during the battles against royal power, who built the residence on the ruins of a former castle.
 

The Chapel and Dovecote.

 

Formally a smoke house for walnuts and grain.

 

The Washing Place.

 
Fed by one of the seven springs that flow through Eyrignac. It was built to accommodate six washing women. Who completed the laundry with the help from the neighbours twice a year!
 

The Florists Garden.

 
Flowers are cultivated for decoration in the Manor house.
 

Kitchen Garden with an unusual hedge of apple trees.

 

Our favourite the White Garden with its gorgeous frog fountains.

 

Superb private garden for the Manor House.

 
 

Event;- 29th July : not to be missed this Sunday, Daglan Gourmand.
 
 

Happy Birthday Michelle.

I am terrible at keeping secrets so I was very glad when the surprise Birthday present for our friend Michelle remained a secret until the last moment. Michelle was staying with Paul and I for a short holiday and arrived a few days ago. She did not know what was going to happen, only that she needed to wear trousers and flat shoes for the morning outing. “No Michelle not bungee jumping”.

Club Hippique was perfect with a friendly and welcoming trainer who has won so many medals for his (and his horses) abilities and expertise that it would take too long to list them all.

This particular horse, a Golden Palomino, was so friendly and so very gorgeous.

 

Mounted and ready for the tour.

 

The tour lasted about an hour with the trainer escorting Michelle all the way down to the river Dordogne and back.

Paul and I walked along with them to enjoy the stunning views of the country side so occasionally we needed to catch up.
“We need to be on a horse the next time we plan a tour Paul”.
 

Happy Birthday Michelle.
 

So cute, mom checking baby is right behind her. Only born three weeks ago to an Arabian stallion and mare.
 

We all had a wonderful time, thank you so much.

 
 

Events;-

Visit the Daglan Expo Art plastique which is open every day until the 8th July.

Night Markets start in Sarlat 28th June to 30th August.

Saint-Cyprien Folk Festival 29th June. The event is celebrated each year in a different town in the Perigord, this year it is the turn of Saint-Cyprien. Singing, dancing, story tellers and a concert in the evening.