Everything Truffle.

I wish that I could have a fragrance blog and then you would be able to experience the gorgeous aroma of the Truffle Festival as we walked from stall to stall in Sarlat last weekend. For anyone who has not had the experience it is a heady, earthy, dusty strong smell that permeates your scenes and it is so delicious.

Truffle sellers proudly sell their wears to the buyers. You not only buy a truffle but you get their history too.
 

From €800 to €950 per kilo depending on quality the truffles were selling at anything from ten to five hundred euros each.
 

There were stalls selling a wide variety of foods and snacks made with truffle such as pate, sausages, gourmand cakes, chocolate, macarons, desserts, cheeses, wine and oil. They also had related items such as books on how to find truffles or you could even buy your own oak tree.
 

I can not describe how delicious truffle macarons are, just amazing will have to do. Plus we have a truffle which is slightly bigger than last year, it is dessert spoon size. It is at this moment sitting in a dish of eggs in our pantry so that the taste permeates the egg shells for a delicious omelette which may be served with thinly sliced truffle on top. The truffle will then be placed into a jar of rice for a few days for truffle flavoured risotto or paella. Then the truffle will be cooked with a chicken at the weekend, or sliced on top of tagliatelle in a cream sauce. Superb.
 
 

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Gabarres at La Rogue-Gageac

It is dismal grey and pouring with rain outside so I thought that a little sunshine was needed to brighten up the day. If anyone is planning to holiday in the Perigord this Spring, Summer or early Autumn. One of the places that you need to visit is La Rogue-Gageac. What better way is there on a warm and sunny day than to travel down the Dordogne River on one of the gabarres which are moored at La Rogue-Gageac. Gabarres are traditional flat bottom boats which were used to transport merchandise down the river.

Just close your eyes and picture yourself relaxing down stream with a cool breeze in your face on a sunny day with blue sky’s above. To add to your enjoyment you can either listen to a commentary in French or use one of the supplied headsets programmed for your language. We opted for the headphones this time. The commentary is told in the form of one of the men working the gabarres in the 18C which is informative while being entertaining at the same time.

Inland water transport expanded rapidly in the 18C and to meet this demand boats were built with flat bottoms because the water level was so low in the Summer months. Traffic was so dense along the Dordogne River that by 1860 there were 571 gabarres.

You get a good view of the shops and restaurants as you pass by.

Quite a few of the gabarres on this part of the river were only one way, going down stream with their cargo and then dismantled on arrival at their destination and cut up for firewood. Thank goodness a few also came back up stream with the help of oxen, man power or both by pulling the boats against the current by rope.

Château de la Malartrie dates back to the 12th Century. It was once a hospital for lepers, then in the 19th Century the Count of Saint-Aulaire, Ambassador of France in England had the Château transformed into the renaissance style that it is today.

Just lazing around on the river. Kayaks and canoes are also available so you can see the river at your own pace.

The largest gabarres were made of oak with strengthening rails along the sides. They had three or four masts and were about twenty metres in length, they could carry about thirty tons of merchandise: coffee, sugar, and citrus fruit were favourite.
 
 

Event:- Sarlat Truffle Festival and market on the 20th and 21st of this month. Not only truffles are sold you can buy truffle macaroons and other delicious cakes, cookies etc. Plus there will be cooking demonstrations by the top Chefs from the Perigord.
 
 

An English Themed Sarlat. Part Two

Or stay calm Christmas is coming.

Along the main Rue de la République, the Medieval Quarter and in fact almost every shop window in Sarlat the flags are flying. Red, white and blue is everywhere you look, on trees, on lamp posts and on buildings. Below is just a taster which I hope that everyone will enjoy.

We loved the red telephone boxes in the window of the Tourism Office.
 

On parade, anyone for a cup of tea?
 

One of the many shops decorated for Christmas.
 

Our favourite shop for morning breakfast, Pâtisserie Massoulier decorated in the British theme.
 

Inside there are shelves crammed with Christmas delights.
 

I know I look like an elf. My wish is “one of everything please Santa”.
 
 

Event:- Château de Castelnaud, December 26 to the 30th. Medieval flavours and cooking.
 
 

An English Themed Sarlat. Part One

On a very cold morning Paul and I decided to visit the Sarlat Village de Noël, well to be honest it was my idea, I just could not wait to see the forty chalets brimming with Christmas delights.

Arts and crafts from all over France descend on Sarlat this time of year selling everything that a person would need for the Christmas season. Lovers of gastronomy are not forgotten with gourmet products to eat on the spot or to take away.

If you would like something warming there are a few taverns selling hot mulled wine and chestnuts. Plus artisan beer, macaroons, and candies. There is also a large open air skating rink and numerous entertainments for the children.
 

Entrance to the Village de Noël.
 

A London black cab and on the right is Santa’s Grotto and elf workshop.
 

Union Flags are everywhere as you walk along the red carpet.
 

Pretzels or candy anyone?
 

Me outside Buckingham Place.
 

One way to attract the attention of British visitors to their lovely honey chalet.
 

Getting ready for the ice skaters.

Sarlat Village de Noël is open until the end of December.

Part Two will be in a few days time which will focus onto the main street and the Medieval Quarter of Sarlat.
 
 

On Hot Summer Nights

During the months of July and August the villages in the area host their “Marches Nocturnes”, which are a brilliant way of experiencing the local produce and culture of the region. What could be better on hot Summer nights than food, wine, music, dance and most of all excellent company.

During the evening markets tables are set up around a central square or along the main road of the villages and vendors sell everything you need for a good meal, including the excellent wine of the region. There is usually live music or a DJ and dancing well into the evening. Which is what we did in St Cyprien and St Pompon.

Saint Cyprien

Not even a rain shower stopped the revelry in St Cyprien.
 

Sherry and Angus ready for their dinner
 

Brilliant musicians topped the evening.
 

Saint Pompon

Such a delicious choice of food.
 

Wow, we had to try a selection of the scrumptious desserts above.
 

This gentleman danced around the bottles, sang, played an instrument of four harmonica’s, plus castanets.
 

You meet such a lot of interesting people. The couple at the end of our table were on holiday from the North of France. We were telling them about the places of interest in the area, including Daglan of course.
 

Angus and I had to get up and dance YMCA, great fun.
 

Boogie Night for Sherry and I. We had such a good time that we are all going to St Pompon again this Saturday… see you there.

You need to arrive early for a good seat and remember to take your own cutlery.
 
 

Events :-

It is that time of year again, four nights of no sleep but boy do we have fun.