Following on from my first post on our June trip to the Dordogne…
Every single morning during the holiday we went to a market to buy ingredients for our meals that day. I know this is probably unsustainable for real everyday life, but gosh I loved it.
I didn’t have to meal plan ahead, I didn’t ever once write a shopping list, we just turned up and made up dinner based on what we fancied. As you will see the first few days of our holiday the weather was minging – so much rain and grey skies!
This (above) was the little market in nearby Chateau l’Eveque, about 3 or 4 stalls, we went to the veg man and bought amongst other things some incredible wrinkly tomatoes (sorry no pictures – was trying to avoid getting soaked – lots more food pictures to come later though I promise!), a punnet of fragrant strawberries and a melon.
I’m not a melon fan, but in France I adore melons they are so much tastier – our experience in the Loire was when you went to buy a melon from a market stall they would ask you if it was to eat today or later, and find you the best one.
We also went to the bakery for breakfast and got croissants (for me) and pain au chocolat (for Mr Rigg) – these rated quite highly in the taste test. We determined to find out the best bakery in the area for breakfast goodies and we found our favourite – details below.
Lunch was in the pretty Brantome (the guide books call it the little Venice of the Dordogne) despite more rain – the end of the week was lovely and hot with blue skies so much nicer pictures to come. We ate at a place called Le Saint-Sieaire – Mr Rigg had steak and sauteed potatoes (these were incredible!) with a small dish of creamy beans flecked with carrot and bacon.
I had a cep omelette with the sauteed potatoes and a salad with local walnuts. My omelette was literally bursting with fresh mushrooms, I was impressed by how generous they were.
For dessert we shared the ‘assiette gourmade’ which was a selection of mini desserts – our guesses were a chocolate blamanche, a choux bun filled with lightly whipped cream, a baba au rum (or something similar), toffee ice cream, and a slice of Black Forest gateaux.
This day, as you can tell, was mostly spent eating and ‘touring’ due to the rain. We came across some gorgeous caramel coloured cows hiding beneath a tree…
…before heading home where we ate crusty bread with goat’s cheese and strawberries for afters.
The market at Tocane St Apre was really nice for a small town, with a good selection of stalls including a couple of organic sellers. From the lady selling organic sourdough bread we bought a lovely loaf and a lemon filled croissant (it was a kind of sugary lemon paste) which was so delicious, and I’m not usually keen on those sorts of things.
I bought a big bag of cherries, two kinds, one dark red and the other yellow blushed red, from a man selling only fruit. There were other small stalls, the kind I really love, where they are selling only a small selection of produce.
Finally on our third day in the Dordogne we were blessed with sun (yey!). In the town of Mareuil we discovered the best boulangerie, which we actually returned to because we liked the bakery goods so much. We decided to share a pain au lait and a type of round flattish brioche with butter and topped with sugar (that I frustratingly can’t remember the name of!) – this was the best breakfast.
The market in Mareuil was small but perfectly formed and we stocked up on a jar of amber coloured honey, a selection of saucisse (which we are still munching on), peas, radish and salad.
Before we left we wandered around and I annoyed Mr Rigg by taking pictures of everything…as usual. I love all the little details you notice when you’re holidaying somewhere.
After a dinner of organic sausages with a warm tomato dressing, new potatoes and a salad of radish, peas and broad beans we wandered down to the goat barn.
Here we found all the mummy goat’s munching on hay, whilst a funny line up of chickens watched over them – can you believe they’d lined up boy, girl, boy girl?
This cheerful group of piggies gave Mr Rigg a loud welcome and had clearly been enjoying the rainy days rooting around in the mud of their woodland home.
For the first time of the holiday I think we both felt really settled and like we were on holiday. It was a blissful evening, quiet except for the sounds of nature, the sun casting beautiful colours across this field of wild blue flowers, daisies, red clover and mint. The lane back to the gite was so peaceful.
All pictures are taken by me on my camera or phone.