Saturday, 16 January 2016

Fete de la Truffe - Sarlat 2016

It's that time of year again when Sarlat celebrates all things truffle. The annual Truffle fair, organised and in conjunction with the Académie Culinere, is a gastronomic treat which in the words of the academy 'is defended jealously to the point of dedicating the entire weekend to the truffle and foie gras'. That's the translation from the French, you get the picture, this is a serious business.

Suffice to say that this event is one culinary extravaganza - so I'll let the photos do the talking.

I have no idea who this is. I guess he's a very noble fella.

2016 is off to a good start!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Happy New Year from Les Eyzies!

I made a great start to 2016 taking one of the many walks in and around Les Eyzies. I climbed ever higher above the Vezere valley admiring the jaw dropping views down to the river and the many rock faces whose caves were once dwellings for ancient civilisations thousands of years ago.

Apart from a deep sense of pre-history, the area is one of outstanding natural beauty. Occasionally the path would open out into glades of every shade of green, populated by boxwoods and ferns, the trees covered in lichen and moss - a sure indicator or of good air quality- breathe deep!

I think my 2016 resolution should be to take in more of these walks - Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Christmas in Sarlat

Take a Christmas stroll through Sarlat's medieval streets with me.

Wishing you a peaceful Christmas.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

In the archives ...

Spent the day clearing and burning unfeasibly large amounts of leaves and branches which were cut away from an enormous lime tree down near the river at La Forge.  Hard work, but at least the weather's dry though overcast. I guess it's the December grey skies that turn my thoughts to spring, Dreaming of brighter days, dreaming of alliums, foxtail lily and euphorbia.

So into the archives I go, back to May, maybe the favourite month, certainly warmer and unlikely to offer a leaden horizon.

Roll on spring.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Walnut Glut

The Walnut trees here at Le Banquet have never been so laden. Karen and I must have picked up thousands of nuts strewn at the bottom of the car park.

There's always good and bad years and nobody's exactly sure why. Almost certainly the hot June and July was a major factor, but we've had hot June and July's before... There's always little nuances during a seasons weather that brings around a bumper harvest. This year the Summer has favoured figs too!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sarlat Market

Yesterday was the first Saturday Karen and I could take off since the end of April. So it was off to the market at Sarlat we went and couldn't get there quick enough. The weather was great, the atmosphere the same, just the perfect way to start the weekend.

Sarlat is one of the most perfectly preserved medieval towns in the world, so as a window into 14th century France, there is nowhere better.

But market day is all about food and yes that is a Paella next to the Pommes de terre à la sarladaise. The French have adopted the Spanish rice dish with gusto and you can find it everywhere.

Walnuts are a major crop in the Dordogne and they are excellent - I'm not just saying that - held in high regard by the French, there are four varieties here, Franquette, Corne, Marbot and Grandjean, all of which make up the AOC (appellation d'origine contrôlée) Walnut of the Perigord, a controlled designation of origin status which is only awarded when something is particularly special from a given area. It's all based on the French concept of terroir, a lengthy subject to which you can find out more here.

The one notable absence at the market were mushrooms, notably the famous cepes, but that may change. I'll just have to go back.