Saturday, 15 January 2011

La Fête de la Truffe 2011

Feast your eyes. This weekend L’académie culinaire hosts the annual Fête de la Truffe in Sarlat, capital of the Perigord Noir.

The Perigord is famed for its truffles. Commonly refered to as the black 'diamond', this is a two day truffe extravaganza.

High gastronomy indeed, nothing seems to arouse a foodies passion quite like the tuber melanosporum.

With prices between seven and nine hundred euros a kilo, the one pictured above is yours for a mere one hundred and thirty five euros.

You can join the queue for truffled scrambled eggs. Everybody gets some, this is truffles for the people, right on.

National TV are there, interviewing talented chefs from some of the best kitchens in the area.

Decisions, decisions. You choose.

Brunch tomorrow, omelette aux truffe.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Les Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac

Inevitably when Karen and I visit the formal gardens at Eyrignac, it's during the depths of Winter. This is a splendid place indeed, in the grandest tradition. On a cold dark day in December we practically had the place to ourselves bar for the call of Crows circling overhead and the smell of woodsmoke from home fires burning in the valley below; all serve to lend an almost eery quality.

The canal was frozen that day, terracotta pots wrapped against the cold. The low December sun just added to the chill.

Even in mid winter, the garden forms a tapestry of green and beige and whether this stark formality is your bag or not, it's hard not to appreciate the skill and accuracy that creates perfectly clipped Box, Hornbean and Yew.

Italy inspired the gardens of XVIIIth century France. Fastigiate Cypress punctuate perfectly domed White Mulberry. If it's happy, the cypress variety 'stricta' looks almost as if it's been brushed.

Ivy has it's place.

Avenues of Yew 'cakestands' lead you onward flanked by enormous Cedar.

Described as "the creation of the same family's passion for five hundred years", Les Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac are classed as a Jardin Remarquable by the French Ministry of Culture.