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.

Recup’acteurs

This was our first visit to Recup’acteurs warehouse who are holding a craft market today and tomorrow, ten until four.

Recup’acteurs is an eco-citizen activity with the idea of reducing waste, it is an excellent recycling centre run by a none profit organisation for the Perigord Noir. If you have any goods you no longer use that could be given a second home they would be welcome. It is to be found at ZAE du Perigord Noir, Vialard, Sarlat. It is well worth a visit on any Friday or Saturday when it is open to the public from 10:00-19:00.

Recup'acteurs The various craft stalls at the entrance to the warehouse.

We were told that the lady displaying gorgeous table lamps makes the shade from Victorian linen bloomers, brilliant idea and fantastic quality.

There are refreshments of home made cakes, biscuits, coffee, soup and mulled wine, all made by the expert hand of Judith, the proprietress of Le Thé Vert. Paul had a coffee, I opted for the mulled wine, it was very warming on a cold day and delicious too.

Everything to buyThere is everything to buy including chandeliers, tableware, glassware, pottery, furniture, electrical goods, books, linen and much, much more.

Toy and Teddy And a wide selection of toys and teddy bears.

dscn2015I did buy two items of Limoges pottery, price… one euro the pair, The water jug will be on display in my bedroom and the dish will be used for storing soaps in the bathroom.

Recup’Acteurs websiteFacebook page
 

Events:-

Christmas Fair at Vitrac on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00

Sarlat Christmas Fair opens on the 7th December

Strange Encounter in the Launderette!

There was a famous advert a few years ago on British television where a young man took of his jeans off to be washed in the Launderette. Why am I writing about this? Well the same thing happened at the Launderette in Cenac this morning. Replace a young man with a much older and heavier man but the actions were exactly the same.

Paul and I go to Cénac most Tuesday mornings for the market of fresh produce but this morning was slightly different due to the fact that I wanted to swap a book at the book exchange section of the village Launderette. They have a really good selection of English and a few French crime novels which you can exchange for one of your own. I had just started to browse through the available books when the gentleman walked in to do his washing. After taking off his jeans and putting them into the washer (I must point out that he was wearing boxer shorts!) he sat down to eat his breakfast and I carried on looking at the books. It did not seem such an unusual event to the owner who came out from the back of the shop and said a cheery “Bonjour”. Could anyone tell me if this is usual laundrette behaviour in France? My husband and I have not stopped laughing.
 

Autumn is here.

Autumn is hereThis picture was taken on the edge of Daglan on route to Cénac, very Autumnal, the changes in seasons are profound here. It is something that we missed in England where, it seems you have one season all year around and it just gets a few degrees warmer in the Summer months. Here the colour of the landscape is changing rapidly now from verdant green to brilliant red, orange and gold it is superb.

Thick Fog Thick fog which had lifted away by lunchtime to give a pleasant afternoon.

On a different note, we have a new artwork in the village which has been created by carving figures into a dead tree, brilliant.

A young women wearing clogs. A young women wearing clogs.

This was taken from the other side of the tree,

a Gentleman in a top hat.A Gentleman in a top hat.

Events : This Saturday in Daglan is the “Walk for Cancer” which starts at two o’clock at the Salle des fêtes, 3km or 7km which ever you prefer.
 

The last Crusade and the curious iron!

Part one of our trip to La Rogue-Gageac.

 

The Brocante at La Rogue-Gageac was wonderful and it was so large that it extended from the road to the water front, in one direction and from the cafes through to the end of the car park on its South side. Brimming with everything from Dinky cars, antique and not so antique furniture, paintings to linen and lace.

I love looking at the most curious items while searching for the particular pieces that I would like for our home.
 

La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fair, DSCN1764This selection remaindered me of the scene in the film The Last Crusade, when Harrison Ford had to pick which chalice to drink from.
 

La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fair, DSCN1761This desk took Paul and I back to the late 1950’s when we were at school learning while sitting at desks which were similar to the one above. I was lucky though I had fountain pens rather than the ink wells in this desk. You could also buy the class photographs from the 1930’s, 1940’s, plus end of term school reports.
 

La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fair, DSCN1765Believe it or not this stack of cushions are porcelain, they look so real. They were so interesting that I was tempted to ask the price but where would I put them?
 
La Rogue-Gageac Brocante, antique fairTemptation over with, I have always wanted a flat iron as a kind of homage to the women who had to use them, who I have great respect for. This particular one is fascinating due to the fact that it seemed to have belonged to the Gendarmerie which is cast into the iron along with the Gendarme emblem. After we had purchased the iron we were talking to another antique dealer who said that it was unusual and rare!

I do seem to find linen and lace from a long distance away, I know exactly where the various stalls are, (Paul calls it my linen magnet). One stall had displays of manufactured lace and hand made lace. Resistance was very futile, this particular hand made lace is from about the eighteen hundreds and absolutely gorgeous. There are two possibilities for the lace, either on a pillowcase or a white linen top – It is so special that I think it should be the top.
 

Event:- the last Brocante in our area will be held in St-Cyprien on the 24th and 25th September.
 


Trapped in our home by a large rotisserie oven!

When I came down stairs this morning I could smell the aroma of roast chicken and paella, then I noticed how dark it was in the lounge. On investigation it was found that the ‘promenade en gastronomie’ had started early with a very large rotisserie being placed at our front door. Surly they had noticed that someone was living in the house, planters at the front, the house being painted recently!

All right I thought, try the side door, but no, a large van was parked there blocking the door. At this moment I thought that perhaps we could arrange a delivery of paella through the letter box, when the van had to move due to it blocking access not only to us but to the entrance of the supermarket. It did not go very far, it just moved further up the lane to block the gate to our courtyard and preventing anyone from accessing the lane and houses further along. Food parcels to the family who were holidaying in a home at the top of the lane did spring to mind, but no… after hearing a few well chosen words of French the family had made their escape.

Our turn to escape through the side door and into the square.

DSCN1603Our front door is hidden by the large rotisserie, we were also not able to open the shutters for fear of sending the large pans of paella to the ground!

 

DSCN1602Stalls of food and drink covered the square

 

Balade en GastronomieAlso along the road and around the bend, ice cream, sorbets, honey, wine, garlic, organic foods, cooked food, bread and cakes.

 

DSCN1599A few days ago a small portable forest was being erected in the square for the truffle dog demonstration. This event is always entertaining because the saucisson seller has a stall nearby so that the truffle dog can not focus its efforts on finding the truffles. After various prompting and pointing from the truffier the dog was encouraged to find a truffle or two and get its reward of a dog chew.

 

DSCN1604A brilliant surprise in the afternoon was the young man playing the bagpipes. He was so good that one man came over and dropped his wallet into the boys hat. Encouraged by this and shouts from his family he played two more tunes, wonderful.


Event:- Belves Fête Medieval on the 6th and 7th August