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.
 
 

New Year Resolutions.

I do not know about you but I always make a few new year resolutions which seem to fade away by the end of January. However, this year I really mean (this has also been said before) to get fitter, learn more French and improve my embroidery skills. We will see how it goes.

It is always delightful to see the Primary School children who were in the Square a few days ago. At first I thought that it was a treasure hunt, but no… much to the excitement of the children the teachers where attaching coloured paper to the various trees. In fact the trees of Daglan are now decked in new year resolution and wishes signs written by the children. So sweet, Paul and I walked from tree to tree reading them.

dscn2188Quite a few say that they will try to eat less chocolate.
 

dscn2175Others wish to be kinder to animals or look after animals more. A few promise to look after the old people in the village. Being old(ish) myself I was very pleased with this one. Some wish for peace in Syria and around the world
 

dscn2172One wishes to reduce pollution, which I thought was brilliant.
 

dscn2176
What a wonderful idea.
 

Lastly Paul and I would like to thank the Maire, M. Pascal Dussol and the Committee of Daglan, it was a really nice shock to see our blog mentioned has part of the traditional voeux de Maire speech of the year at the Salle de Fete last night, it was unexpected and indeed an honour.
 

Events – Truffle Festival in Sarlat on the 14th and 15th January.
 

Gâteau au Chocolate.

I made this as our New Year treat. However, I did point out to Paul that this was my first attempt at making this gâteau so it may not turn out right, in fact he may not see it at all. I’m glad to say the gâteau did cook perfectly it looked and tasted good and tasted a lot lighter than I expected for a dense chocolate gâteau.

Gâteau au Chocolate

Ingredients:

150g (5oz) caster sugar, plus some for sprinkling.
275g (10oz) plain chocolate, chopped, try and use the most expensive chocolate at about 70%.
175g (6oz) unsalted butter cut into pieces.
10ml (2tsp) vanilla essence or 3tsp walnut liqueur.
5 eggs – separated.
40g (2oz) plain flour, sifted with a pinch of salt.

Optional, I also used 50g chopped walnuts.

Icing sugar for dusting.

Sweetened whipped cream for serving.

Preparation:

1 Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Generously butter a 24cm/9 or 10in spring base tin, then sprinkle the tin with a little sugar and tap out the excess.

2 Set aside 45ml/3 tbsp of sugar. Place the chocolate, butter and remaining sugar in a heavy saucepan and cook over a low heat until the chocolate and butter have melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vanilla essence or walnut liqueur and leave the mixture to cool slightly.

3 Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, then add the flour (and walnuts if you are using them).

4 In a mixer beat the egg whites slowly until frothy. Increase the speed, add the salt and continue beating until soft peaks form. Sprinkle the reserved sugar and beat until stiff and glossy. Beat one third of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites.

5 Carefully pour the mixture into the tin and tap the tin gently to release any air bubbles.

6 Bake the gâteau for about thirty five to forty five minutes until well risen and the top springs back when touched lightly with a fingertip. If the gâteau appears to rise unevenly, rotate after about the first twenty minutes of cooking. Transfer the cake to a wire rack, remove the sides of the tin and leave to cool. Remove the tin base, dust the cake with icing sugar and transfer to a serving plate.

Serve with whipped cream.

Bon Appetit.

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.

Etiquette of Cheese!

I was reading through the ‘ A Year in Perigord ‘ blog, last week which stated that there is an ‘etiquette to cheese eating’, which got me thinking about other French etiquettes that we have found while renovating our property.
 
The first being the etiquette of greeting people which begins as soon as your plane lands at the airport, you will notice that the officer at passport control always greets you with “Bonjour Monsieur” or “ Bonjour Madam”. If you do not reply in kind it will be thought of as not good etiquette. This carries on into shops, banks the doctors surgery, in fact every-time you go into a building you will be greeted in this way, not just once but everyone else in the room will greet you. When you leave it is polite to say “Bonne Journée” to everyone. Being in friendly, welcoming company makes for a relaxed atmosphere.
 
People who you have been introduced to will greet you with the customary “Bonjour Monsieur or Madam”. But when you get to know them a little more and they regard you as friends they will follow with the kiss on both cheeks (the number of kisses depends on the region of France that you are in), then you must ask how they are, “comment allez-vous?” , “comment vas-tu?” or “ça va?” and linger to chat for a while. Therefore shopping always takes longer depending on how many people you meet.
 
The friendlessness of people who take the time to ask how you are and generally chat to you, even just saying hello was rather strange to me at first. When we started the renovation work on our property, people from the village would knock on our door and ask our names, what we where doing, where we were from and when are we moving in etc. this seemed odd to both of us due to the ‘British Reserve’, which usually prevents people from talking to strangers. However, after a while I must say that I found the etiquette very nice and I loved returning to France each year to converse with more people or to just say “Bonjour” to people in the street. I so missed this customary response on my return to England that I started saying “hello” and “how are you” to shop assistants in various shops I visited, which did at first bring some strange looks from people at the various checkouts but on my return to the stores I would be greeted with a smile and a friendly hello.
 
Another etiquette is the customary gift if you are lucky enough to be invited to a persons home for an aperitif or dinner. Flowers are always a good choice but the type of flower to avoid is very important, it is so easy for someone not in the know to commit faux pas. Chrysanthemums are definitely not appropriate for they are the flower for funerals and are traditionally placed onto the graves of the loved ones. Carnations represent bad luck and roses are only to be given to someone you love. Dessert, chocolates or wine are good ideas.
 
While dining in a private home or in a restaurant one thing is certain the meal is meant to be lingered over so you can savour every mouthful of every course and enjoy the company of others. So do not be surprised if the meal takes two or three hours to eat, it is called ‘civilised loitering’.
savour every mouthfulAlways good to share desserts with a good friend over a glass or two of wine or coffee.
 
Which brings me back to the start of the blog, “the Etiquette of Cheese”, the trick is to pick four cheeses ranging from the mild to the strong, a slice from each is then to be placed clockwise around your plate. You will start with the mild cheese and finish with the strong cheese. Up to now I have always just picked a strong cheese but it is good to learn the customary etiquette.

the Etiquette of CheeseImage by https://designerstay.com/

 
Bon appétit.

 

Happy Easter (Joyeuses Pâques)

Easter is without doubt one of my favourite times of the year and with the holiday falling early this year, there is nothing stopping our plans for chocolate related indulgence.

For a couple of weeks now the Sarlat Master Choclatiers have been showcasing their immense talent with window displays to die for.

EasterBernard Decaix offers a mouth watering display of eggs, ducks, fish, rabbits and bells.

 

DSCN1188Mertz Roland Patisserie Chocolatier is amazing.

 

DSCN1190With large chocolate crackers, truffles, fish and eggs, rabbits in all sizes made with milk, white or dark chocolate or all three and eggs made with peanut brittle, it was so difficult to choose which ones we would buy.

 

DSCN1221But after a few “wow look at these” we were extremely restrained and decided on two Easter eggs and two bells. They all have chocolate or sweet surprises inside. The difficulty is waiting until Easter Sunday before we start to eat them.

 

Events:- Daglan

Another joy this Easter is the opening of Fabrice’s new restaurant in Daglan. Check out his website at Fabrice le chef for the menus, they look delicious.

DSCN1213

 

Le Thé Vert will be opening for the summer season on 30th April, however this Good Friday Le Thé Vert will be hosting a fish and chip night. You need to book in advance to eat in or take away. For more details visit the website at Le The Vert or phone (+33)5 53 30 47 94

Le Thé Vert

 

Event:- Sarlat.

Each year on the Monday directly following Easter the town hosts an egg hunt. Around the historical area of Sarlat, twenty council workers hide two thousand coloured eggs. Each area has different coloured eggs; blue, yellow, green, red and orange which will guide the children from one area to the next. Each child needs to find five eggs of different colours and then they can exchange these for chocolates. If they find a golden egg they will receive a gourmand Easter egg and free cinema tickets. Five of the golden eggs have a silver strip, if they are found they will have a chocolate surprise and a free ride in the Saint Marie Panoramic lift.