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Sarlat Truffle Festival 2019

They say the woods around Daglan
grow secrets in the ground,
and the Perigord Noir hide the rarest
of truffles to be found.

The truffle may be ugly,
found by pig or dog,
but everyone agrees
its flavour is to savor.

Hundreds of people were tightly packed around a marquee full of truffles in the Medieval Quarter of Sarlat last Saturday morning. After waiting a few minutes a loud sigh was heard from the gathered crowed as the side panels were removed from the marquee and each person breathed the amazing truffle aroma emanating from within.

And this is what it was for, Perigord Black Gold of every size and every price.
 

A close up. The truffles in the basket on the left were grade 1 priced at €900 per kilo.
 

There were also stalls selling delicious Street Food and with demonstrations of truffle based cuisine from Master Chefs.
 

We are very predictable, we looked for the truffle macaroons. Which are delicious. Just had to buy four, for testing purposes of course.
 

A first for us, truffle cheese. Which is rich and creamy with the distinctive flavour of truffle, I can highly recommend it.
 
 

Don’t miss Daglan’s Truffle Market which is open until February.
 
 

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Yummy Galette Time.

The word Galette comes from the Norman word ‘gale’ which means flat cake. It is a word used in French cuisine for various types of flat round or free form crusty cakes that are eaten during Epiphany from the 6th January, it symbolises the fertility and renewal of the earth, which is linked to the extension of sun light during the day.

In Christianity it is a symbol of the manifestation of Jesus among men and celebrates three episodes:- the arrival of the Magi, the wedding in Canna and the date of the baptisms of Christ in Jordan.

Inside the galette is a small bean or china gift which dates back to Roman times. It was white or black and was used during the Saturnalia festival to elect the king of the Feast. Today, the person who finds the gift in the galette becomes King or Queen for the day and wears the crown.

Tradition says that the galette is to be shared with guests who are also offered a glass of cider, muscat, sparkling wine or champagne. Which is very popular in South West France.

This particular fragipane filled galette was purchased at Delices De Pito Cénac, complete with the crown and flags. The flags are placed around the galette, it is cut into portions and served. The king or Queen and their guests act out what is written on each flag. For example ‘make a grimace face’, ‘recite the alphabet’ or ‘draw a mustache on your face or a guests face’. The fragipane filling originates from Marie de Medici, Henry IV’s second wife who brought the recipe to France.

If you find a special yellow bean in the galette from Pito, with the words ‘Bravo, vous avez gagne un mug’ written on the bean you take the bean back to Pito to receive a special gift a decorated yellow mug.
 
 

Events:- Truffle Festival in Sarlat this Saturday and Sunday. Also, Daglan truffle market on Sunday at eleven o’clock.
 
 

Why the Perigord Noir?

This question has been asked by friends, family, tourists and house hunters. The appeal to us, is that this part of the Perigord offers the most stunning landscapes as the Dordogne River cuts through the unspoiled countryside. The landscape changes at every bend in the road and there are amazing sights as you drive past the villages clinging to the rock face.

La Roque-Gageac.
 

There are four distinctive seasons from short Winters where temperatures can reach below freezing (-7 this morning) to blooming Spring and gorgeous hot Summers. Which are reflected in the seasonal produce sold in the many markets of the area.

The cuisine is rich in its diversity from duck, mushrooms, truffles, cheeses, wine, fruit and vegetables. To match this there are the amazing food festivals. this month we see the truffle market in Daglan and the Truffle Festival in Sarlat. Summertime brings the night markets where you can enjoy fresh cooked local food in pleasant surroundings.

Historical features include the many Château’s featuring pigeonniers and of course the many wonderful Beaux villages of the area.

A taster for the first time visitor to this area are Milandes, Castlenaud, Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Domme, Daglan and Sarlat.

Medieval weekend last Summer held at Château de Castelnaud.
 

Included sword fighting demonstrations.
 

La Mairie de Daglan, Such a beautiful building.
 

Le Tour de Daglan takes a short rest in the village square.
 

Most of all it is always the people that make a place worth visiting time and again, and Daglan is no exception to this rule. You will never meet more friendly and welcoming people who are always willing to help and to make your life here a little bit better by their presence.

The weekly Craft Session.
 
 

Bonne Année.

Looking back over 2018 it has been an unusual year full of stress, worry and a few high notes. With the prospect of more eventful times to come with Brexit casting its dark shadow over our heads. Things are, shall we say, very uncertain.

What I thought is needed in these difficult times are a few delights and some positive thinking to bring a smile to our faces.

What could be more delightful than teddy bears, which started to appear in shops, cafes and Metro Stations across Paris not so long ago, not as a publicity stunt but just to bring a smile to peoples faces. This wonderful idea has gone nationwide and teddy bears started to appear everywhere. So it came has no surprise that they have been spotted in Sarlat.

Sarlat Tourist Office, adorned with Seasonal decorations and Teddy Bears.
 

Next to the Cathedral. Brilliant, it made me smile.
 

Another smile from an heart warming tale that I read recently. A stranger paid for the entire remaining stock of a sandwich shop so that future customers could eat for free. The man in his fifties, who wanted to remain anonymous, surprised staff at the Sandwich House in Grenoble by paying 238 euros for everything in the shop, pastries, cakes, sandwiches, pizzas and panini.
 

Who could not smile at our fury baby Cleo who was very excited on Christmas morning. “Another mouse”, and lots of crinkly paper… what a happy girl.
 

Angel, looking so gorgeous.

She is unwell at the moment but the vet gave us good news, she just has a tummy bug and she should be feeling better by Monday.
 
 

So staying with good news, the best time for truffles is here.

Daglan truffle market opens in the school playground every Sunday at eleven o’clock until the end of February.

Sarlat Truffle Festival is on the 19th and 20th January. Not only can you buyg truffles but there will be demonstrations and tasting of truffle creations by master chefs. You must try the truffle macaroons, they are gorgeous.
We tried grated truffle in creamed potato for the first time last week, so good.
 
 

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

Over recent weeks Sarlat has been transformed from a beautiful medieval town to a wonderful Christmas village. The highlight being Sarlat Christmas Market (this year with a Spanish theme) and outdoor skating rink. Open until the end of December, with up to forty wooden chalets selling traditional arts and crafts, mulled wine, cakes, hot roasted chestnuts and caviar! But I saw no tapas on our morning visit!

Snow flakes flutter down in this tableau scene at the entrance to the Christmas Market.
 

I particular like the traditional Christmas tree ornaments for sale in quite a few of the chalets. Glass baubles, wooden hearts, and lots of red bows that are very popular in this area of France.

Incidentally, many French Christmas traditions originate from Alsace and it was in the town of Selestat that Christmas trees first appeared in the 11th Century. People used to decorate their trees with real fruit but one year the harvest was poor and a local glass blower from Goetzenbruck in Moselle tried to replicate the fruit by creating glass balls to hang on the branches. However, I have heard of a few more places that have been named for the origination of glass ornaments! Wherever they came from, they are gorgeous.

Facade of a Spanish Finca welcomes visitors to the market.
 

I do love this little donkey standing outside the chalet of the Donkey Sanctuary where you can buy gorgeous soap, aprons, tea towels etc. The profit goes to the upkeep of the Sanctuary.
 

New to the Christmas Market is a chalet selling Neuvic Caviar.
 

Spanish Flamenco dancers or matadors decorate many of the chalets.
 

Prints of Salvador Dali paintings hang from the trees. This painting is a particular favourite of mine.
 

Paul admiring the traditional wooden Christmas tree decorations in this chalet.
 
 

Event:-Daglan Truffle Market every Sunday from 11am until February.

26th to 30th December Merlin at Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. This is a narrative show for young children in sound, shadows and light. Shows are at 11 o’clock, 2.30 and 3.30.

Sarlat Truffle Festival 19th and 20th January.