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.


 
 

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Would Paella fit through the letter box?

Food glorious food, or rather “Promenade en Gastronomy Daglan 2017”. Our first impression of the event was the unmistakable aroma of roasting chicken and paella which permeated our home last Sunday morning. Our cat Angel sitting by the front door and licking her lips was also a sure sign that the Gastronomy Sunday was up and running.

The Paella and roast chicken stall made using our front door interesting to say the least and keeping the shutters closed reduced the temptation for our cats to go on secret raids. I had visions of Angel dragging a whole roast chicken home.

The side door was also temporarily blocked by a large white van being unloaded. No problem we waited for the lane to clear to enjoy the experience.

For Sunday lunch we could have lowered a basket from the balcony.

 
Le Place De La Liberté was packed with stalls offering various types of food and drink.

 
Long queues of locals and tourists were forming to buy the produce.

 
Tempted by truffles, these looked so good.

 
The forest materialised the day before for the truffle dog demonstration. Such a gorgeous dog who found the truffles in record time, but I think that the aroma of chicken, sausage and paella was a great distraction.

 
The Boulangerie stall selling various types of bread.

 
One simply cannot have a Gourmand Sunday without garlic.

 
Or wine, this is just one of the many stalls selling wine.

 
Perhaps a little too much wine (or beer), but it looked like great fun.

 
 
Events :-

Dominique ALLAËRT is displaying his wonderful watercolours.
See and buy them at l’Ancien Presbytère, Daglan until the 26th August.
Dominique ALLAËRT, Aquarelliste.

 
 

Out and About

Beynac is now open!

The main D703 road through Beynac has been closed to traffic for a few months while major construction work took place. I am so glad to say that it is now open with a new road and pedestrian walkway. Beynac is now ready for the Tour de France to pass through next month.

On our way to St Cyprian market this morning we bypassed Beynac on the other side of the river Dordogne.
 

Returning home we noticed the deviation signs were missing so decided to try the Beynac route.
 

Before our trip to the market we stopped for a breakfast picnic. There is nothing to beat fresh pastries from Maison Carré at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle enjoyed by the banks of the river Dordogne on a glorious sunny morning.

Still waters mirrored in the Dordogne river.
 

The water is so clean that you can watch the trout swim by.
 

And enjoy the terrific views. With canoes ready for the first customers.
 

I could not resist taking this picture of the two foals and their mothers sheltering from the sun.
 
 

Events:-
– Bouzic night market is on Tuesday evenings in July and August
– St-Cyprian night market, throughout July and August on a Thursday evening,
– July and August for Saint Pompon night market on a Saturday evening.

Night markets are a great evening out where you buy hot or cold food and drinks from a variety of stall holders, sit at a handy table to enjoy the entertainment and later dance to your hearts content to live musicians or a DJ.
 
 

Once more, here is Sarlat.

For no other reason than I never get tied of taking pictures of this medieval/renaissance town, especially on market days. It is magical but you need to arrive early if you want to park your car during the tourist season. On a Saturday and Wednesday morning fresh produce is for sale along the pedestrianised Place de la Liberté which runs all the way down the old quarter, while on Saturday, along the main Rue de la République you can buy anything from shoes, leather goods, linen clothes, books, toys, tableware and more.

Ready to sell their fruit, vegetables, cheeses, bread and cakes.
 

A walnut grinder demonstration.
 

Fantastic display of mushrooms.
 

We always make a point of wondering the maze of side streets of Sarlat to find hidden gems. This gem of a courtyard was found down Rue Alberic Cahuet. I love the old stones which they used for planters and the olive tree centrepiece.
 

Second hidden gem, flower pots shaped to sit perfectly onto the iron rail. what a brilliant idea.
 
 

Events:-

Sarlat market days, Wednesday for fresh produce and Saturday for the full market.

Daglan, market every Sunday morning.

La Rogue-Gageac market every Friday morning.

Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, Brocante, 13th July 8:00 to 18:00

Marqueyssac – Candlelight evening with entertainment. Every Thursday from seven PM until midnight in July and August.

Hidden and not so Hidden Gems of St Cyprian

Arriving at St Cyprien you are first greeted, by the commercial area with Carrefour Supermarket which has a very handy chemist, plus other stores including a DIY and a household electrical stores which we have found very useful. Head up to the town and you reach the main street the Rue Gambetta.

Along this charming road there are many restaurants and bars, a good fresh fish shop and a number of boutiques, there is also an excellent shop selling beautiful cabinets and stone hand basins for the bathroom. If you are looking for a coffee, a meal or simply a stroll taking in the French atmosphere, this is the street to head for. The tourist information office is on this street and they can give you a very useful map for exploring the old town.

Our not so Hidden Gem. If you use the Credit Agricole bank in St Cyprian you will have noticed across the road from the bank a very interesting Roman style sunken garden which is I am afraid to say is somewhat neglected now but you can imagine how wonderful it once was.

It looks gorgeous even now.
 

A market is held every Sunday morning throughout the year and Wednesday mornings in the summer season.

The array and variety of fresh produce is outstanding.
 

Every basket you could possibly want is on display
 
Our Hidden Gem. A weekend Brocante is held each April and is hidden away at the back of the Sunday market in and around the Salle des Fetes.

Does anyone remember these dress makers models? My mother used to have one like the model to the back, right. Very awkward to use, she had to take it apart and rebuild every time she needed another size. With my help due to the fact that it was always very difficult to attach the pins.
 

Our purchases from the Brocante. Blue and gold leaf coffee cup
 

Plus a red and gold leaf tea cup and saucer
 
 
Event:- Cenac this Sunday, 30th April for the Flower Festival
 
 

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.