Picnic in the Dordogne

If you’re still following along with our travels in the Dordogne – thank you!  You are very patient, but I do hope that you are enjoying it or gleaning some information if you are planning a trip there yourself.  I find personal blogs one of the best ways to find information about a new place we are travelling to, they are so much more insightful that generic tourist websites.

So, every morning that we got ready to leave our lovely little gite, we had this little friend to help…

Holiday in the Dordogne

Hehe, isn’t she sweet?

Little French dog

A leisurely morning was spent finishing up spelt sourdough bread spread with local honey, and picking up provisions from the market at Excideuil.  This was a very good market, spread out along a long street and up to a square.

Market at Excideuil

Cheese stall at French market

Dordogne strawberries

Butchers at French market

I do love that most people shopping at markets carry a basket of some description…

French market shopping basket

After that we took our time tootling around the countryside and stopped at a quiet pond in the village of St-Raphaël to eat our lunch.  The view was pretty spectacular over walnut groves.

St-Raphael in the Dordogne

Walnut orchard

This is where we set up for lunch…

Picnic by a pond

Sometimes all you need is quality ingredients – crusty bread, cheese, salami and ham.

French picnic

French cheese

Jambon

French goat's cheese

French salami

French bread cheese and ham

Oh, and a rather unctuous strawberry tart for afters…

French strawberry tart

As we left the pond, two old boys turned up with their fishing gear – what a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Fishing

The afternoon was spent at Château de Hautefort – it cuts an impressive outline on the horizon, especially with that perfectly blue and cloudless sky. The chateau itself isn’t one where you wonder around ornate rooms, it is more of a shell.  There is a rather beautiful but drafty chapel and these beautifully manicured gardens below.

Château de Hautefort

Château de Hautefort

Gardens at Château de Hautefort

You are even able to go right up into one of the domed turrets, a truly magnificent structure inside.

Inside the turret at Château de Hautefort

Inside the turret at Château de Hautefort

We took it in turns to stick out head out and get a picture with the lovely view behind – I don’t mind heights…until you look down, that will quickly make me feel ill.  Sticking my head out was pretty sick making.

View from the turret at Château de Hautefort

View from the turret at Château de Hautefort

To escape the baking heat we went for a wander through the English style parkland and gardens, and to my delight came across wild strawberries – growing everywhere!

Wild strawberries

Much munching ensued…

Picking wild strawberries

Wild strawberries

Picking wild strawberries

In the evening we made a quinoa salad with fresh market vegetables – much needed after a breakfast of pastries and a lunch of bread, cheese and ham. What I particularly love about holidays like this, is chopping and preparing dinner outside, it is utterly blissful.

Preparing dinner outside

Heirloom tomatoes

Freshly podded peas

Radishes and herbs

Chopped parsley

Spring onion viniagrette

The finished salad…which maybe might have been eaten with a little fresh goat’s cheese from our gite owners…

Quinoa salad with market vegetables

Our day was finished off with a wander down the lane to watch the goat’s being milked (these are our gite owners goats).  As you can see the lovely ladies were already keen and waiting to be let into the barn when we arrived…

French goats

The barn is split in two, they all go in one side and wait to be let through to the milking parlour part at the back.  They wander up a ramp (encouraged by the friendly – if rather eager – sheepdog) and neatly take their places to munch whilst they are hooked up to the milking machines.  I was so impressed by how they wander in and line up so neatly, no stopping at the first stall they come to – what well-trained goats!

Milking goats

As you can see above, the friendly barn cats dash about licking up any spilt milk, and the crazy sheepdog did the same if he got the chance.  He also barked lots – which is what we could hear every evening from the gite.  Once they’ve been milked, they are let down into the other half of the barn where they chew happily on hay.

You might be able to spy the young sheepdog at the top of the ramp, and the cockerel watching over proceedings…

French goats

Just one more part to go on our food memories of the Dordogne, so please stay tuned it’s coming soon!  All the other parts can be found here.

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