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Beynac

I am desperate to finish telling you about our lovely June trip to the Dordogne, it’s just finding the time amongst everything else in life.  As you may have seen, I also like to share details rather than just lots of pictures – just in case you are here viewing this post because you too are planning a trip to the Dordogne and want some tips from someone who’s been and explored.

Beynac, Dordogne

Last time I left off we had just been to the Sarlat market and passed through La Roque Gageac.  After this we headed along the river to Beynac, which we much preferred and found a lovely little restaurant for a very relaxed lunch. This place is just so pretty, the sand coloured stone buildings, the flowers and vines that sprout from tiny patches of soil – it is storybook lovely.

Beynac restaurant

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The Dordogne

There is something that always pulls me back to France, something inside that about once a month I get an aching inside to be back there – usually this has been the Loire (where we’ve visited twice, you can read about it here and here) but this time we wanted to see a different part.

So after many hours searching for somewhere to stay, we booked ourselves a week to Le Pigeonnier a small hamlet on an organic goat farm at La Geyrie in the Dorgone.

Limoges map

Perigord National Park

We flew to Limoges before driving down through the Limousin-Périgord National Park to the small hamlet of La Geyrie.  As we pulled up we were welcomed by a small rabble of dogs – two belonging to Louise and Peter our hosts and another from the house down the road, a sweet little dog who would come to welcome us home most days by running in front of the car (!) and then bouncing at the window whilst making an excited whining.

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Today as part of our holiday at home, Mr Rigg, Buddy and I drove up into Lancashire for a day of walking and eating.  It was a fantastic sunny day (which is was a welcome surprise!) and we started with a long walk from Hurst Green.  We followed a Tolkien-inspired trail which can be downloaded here.

It was a lovely walk, which took us through lush fields of cows, past the turrets and observatory of Stoneyhurst College, down into damp woods with mossy streams, past fields of sweetcorn and rushing rivers. 

There were lots of cute calves like these ones…

And this sweet one!

Buddy – who it seems has never seen a stream before – slowly built up enough confidence to paddle. 

This walk takes you through a landscape that it said to have inspired Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books and you can definitely seem glimpses as you pass through this countryside.  I am a huge fan of the books so it was exciting to do this walk!

After our long hot walk we rewarded ourselves with lunch at The Three Fishes – one of Nigel Howarth’s country pub’s. 

We have eaten at The Highwayman Inn up near Kirkby Lonsdale which we really enjoyed – I had a ploughman’s platter with scrumptious piccalilli –  so it was easy to decide where to eat on our day out.  Plus there is a huge emphasis on local and seasonal food.

We sat at a table outside so that Buddy could sit with us.  I drank a cool chocolate milkshake and Mr Rigg a pint of ale whilst we waited for our food.  Chocolate milkshake takes me back to my childhood and I still love ordering it now. 

To start Mr Rigg had Three Fishes Fish Soup, Wicked Mayonnaise, Butlers Tasty Lancashire Cheese, and Garlic Croutons.

The soup was rich and fishy with a good kick of spice, the Lancashire cheese was crumbled and served in a tiny terracotta pot, and the ‘wicked mayonnaise’ was blushed red with flecks of fresh chilli.

I chose a dish from their seasonal menu which was a Salad of Cracked Wheat, Sweet & Sour Bank’s Tomatoes, Broad Beans, Garden Peas and a Yoghurt & Cucumber Dressing. 

I wish I could eat this salad everyday for lunch – it was so delicious.  The salad of cracked wheat, broad beans and garden peas was studded with fresh herbs and red onion, and topped with cherry tomatoes that had been cooked just until bursting.  Then drizzled round the edge was this cooling dressing of yoghurt and cucumber.

Mr Rigg’s main was from the seasonal menu – Gazegill Farm Organic Sandy Oxford Black Pork Faggots, Girolle Mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potato, Broad Beans and Garden Peas.

Neither of us had tried faggots before but Mr Rigg enjoyed them and the tiny morsel that I tried was delicious, but probably an acquired taste – very different in texture and flavour to something similar in shape like a meatball or burger.  Mr Rigg said it was coarser and a stronger flavour like that of liver.  It’s always nice to try something a bit different.

And for my main I pigged out with an Elmwood Platter of Local Seafood which included: Port of Lancaster Beech & Juniper Smoked Salmon, Lancaster Smoked Kipper, Hot Smoked Trout, Potted Morecambe Bay Shrimps, Smoked Mackerel Pâté, Picked Cucumber, Beetroot Relish, Horseradish Cream, and Homemade Bread. 

The smoked salmon with speckled with tiny capers and shreds of red onion, the potted shrimp fragrant and warm, the smoked trout went deliciously with the sweet earthy beetroot relish, and the pickled cucumber cut through all those flavours of fish. 

The smoked mackerel pâté was light like a mousse, a tiny mouthful on a toasted circle of bread, topped with micro herbs.

I have never tried kippers before, and although it is a very strong flavour and perhaps not something I would order on its own, as part of a platter like this it was delicious.

We had initially planned to stop eating here…but I was too tempted by Raspberry Jelly with Vanilla Ice Cream

…and Mr Rigg easily gave into the lure of homemade Milk Chocolate Chip and Marshmallow Ice Cream with chocolate sauce.  Not a good shot of the ice cream, Mr Rigg was very protective after I nabbed the first mouthful which got me in a lot of trouble…

Both were absolutely delicious.

Our lunch was finished off with a glimpse of Nigel Haworth himself who arrived at the pub just before we left.  If you’re in Lancashire, do make sure you stop at one of Nigel’s country pubs – we can certainly recommend the food from both The Three Fishes and The Highwayman!

I’m not one for putting photos of myself on here, but I love this picture of Buddy and I out on our walk…

Happy holidays!

italy
Image: petersandbach

I won’t be posting over the next week as N and I are off on our summer holiday!  We are spending seven lovely days in Italy, and can’t wait to relax, soak up some sun, and eat great food.  I promise to keep a food diary and take lots of pictures of all the food we see and eat.  See you in a week!

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Two summers ago we went to Sweden for a family wedding.  We decided to make it into our summer holiday as it seemed like a long way to go for a wedding.  We travelled by boat to Denmark with our little car, then drove around a large part of the west coast of Sweden.  At the time, it felt exhausting, and by the time we got back we weren’t sure it had felt much like a holiday.

Now as I look back on our time there and the experiences we had, it was actually quite a lovely holiday.  Despite the terrible weather and the hours and hours of driving, we ate some lovely food and saw some fantastic things.  It is an amazing country and somewhere I would definitely like to return to one day.

We sailed from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark, then drove along the E20 through Denmark to Copenhagen.  We crossed the huge bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo – our first stop in Sweden.  Our parks conference the February before we went away had included a speaker from Malmo, and it inspired me so much I knew we had to visit. 

the bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo

the bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo

Everywhere that we stayed on our journey along the coast was a member of the Bo på lantgård – ‘staying on a farm’ – http://www.bopalantgard.org.  Our first farm was Vragerups Gård (http://www.vragerup.se/) in the countryside outside Malmo.  It was an idyllic farmhouse with beautiful furnishings and we really didn’t want to leave. 

Vragerups Gard, near Lund

Vragerups Gard, near Lund

In terms of eating out our plan was to drive around and see what looked nice, which means on one hand you might find a real gem of a restaurant, but on the other hand it could be dire.  Our first night we found this place…

Kallbadhus in Bjarred

Kallbadhus in Bjarred

It couldn’t have been a more stunning location, and the food was equally nice.  I have managed to find out that the restaurant is called Kallbadhus (this might be the name of the whole complex) or Kalendarium, but it is also Sweden’s longest swimming pier (http://www.kallbadhus.se/).

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Nearby to where we were staying, we discovered this unusual village, which we think it styled on a medieval style town.  It felt like a film set, especially as it was seemingly deserted.

unsual medieval style town

unusual medieval style town

We had a somewhat miserable day out in Malmo as it rained, and rained and rained.  So much for visiting parks – we ended up on a coach tour of the city, which was not quite what we were hoping, but there wasn’t much choice short of getting soaked.  We did also discover a cluster of craft workshops and a quaint sweet shop – perfect for gifts for younger brothers!

 

Malmo before the rain

Malmo before the rain

Our plan the next day, with storm clouds looming, was to head for the sun and blue clouds wherever they were on the horizon.  This worked out quite well, and we came across a little cafe-cum-farm shop.  We sat in a beautiful glasshouse and ate tea and cake under a canopy of kiwi fruit!

canopy of kiwis

canopy of kiwis

That evening, we found a lovely little restaurant in a nearby town and enjoyed a great meal.  That was until the roof above me sprung a leak, which turned into a waterfall, and the whole restaurant was swamped!  We sat in the car wondering what kind of holiday we were on…

rain rain go away

rain rain go away

One thing that Swedish hospitality does well is a fantastic spread for breakfast: cooked meats, jams, compotes, fresh fruit, yoghurt, cheeses, and breads including the dark rye breads.  I fell in love with what I like to call pillow bread, what it’s real name is I’m not sure – but it’s soft, flat, with dimples in it like a sofa.  I ate a lot of it during this holiday, and brought a lot back with us. 

breakfast at Vragerups Gard

breakfast at Vragerups Gard

As we travelled up the coast and slightly inland to our next stop – an incredible looking colonial style house – there was more rain…

rain

rain

Drip, drip, drip, little april showers…

and more rain

and yet more rain

We started to see signs for a vaffle stuga (spelling probably not quite correct) and ended up in a log cabin deep in a huge forest eating waffles!  They were delicious and it was nice to sit inside by a fire while it drizzled outside.  There was a hamlet of houses selling artisan made items and we came away with a lovely rug that now sits in our living room.

the waffle house

the waffle house

Hults Gard (http://www.hultsgard.com/) the next place we stayed, looked beautiful, but our room was small and felt like we were staying in a hostel.  One of the things I enjoyed most about the incredible amounts of driving that we did, was it meant we could watch the landscape change – from the rolling farmland and towns near Malmo, to dark evergreen forests, then through great expanses of farmland with railroads, and finally to the rocky coastal islands with their clapboard fishing villages.

 

Hults Gard

Hults Gard

The wedding was held in a fairytale castle near Gothenburg and was a whole weekend of eating and celebrating.  We were treated to a gourmet meal featuring some delicious Swedish dishes – sadly no pictures.

the wedding castle, near Gothenburg

the wedding castle, near Gothenburg

Our final leg of the journey took us further up the coast and out onto an island.  We were staying at a strawberry farm called Tyfta Ostergård (http://www.lekander.nu/eindex.html) which had the perks of fantastic jams and compotes for breakfast. 

Tyfta Ostergard - the strawberry farm

Tyfta Ostergard - the strawberry farm

It was run by a lovely family with three generations of the family living and working there together.  The guest accommodation including a lovely kitchen and sitting room were decorated with that impeccable Swedish knack for style.

effortless Swedish style at Tyfta Ostergard

effortless Swedish style at Tyfta Ostergard

It was out on these islands that we had our best meals of the holiday.  It was also probably the poshest and most expensive meal that we have ever eaten – but worth every penny.  Situated on the “herring island” of Klädesholmen is Salt & Sill (http://www.saltosill.se), a small restaurant with a stunning view and excellent food. 

the view from our table at Salt & Sill

the view from our table at Salt & Sill

The highlights of this meal by far were the starters.  I wish at the time I had written down exactly what we had eaten, because now I just have the photos as a reminder, but don’t know any of the more interesting details!

Salt & Sill restaurant, Kladesholmen

Salt & Sill restaurant, Kladesholmen

N had a trio of pickled herring, each piece pickled differently, on a different bread or cracker, topped with a different sauce.  Each mouthful was pared with a different shot of snaps. 

trio of herring and snaps

trio of herring and snaps

I chose salmon, which turned out to be THE best salmon dish I’ve ever eaten.  I think that salmon dishes often run the risk of being a bit boring, but this was incredible.  I think it was poached somehow – it was so delicate, and still so pink, and came on a bed of green vegetables with a sauce that I think was broad bean.

THE best salmon

THE best salmon

For mains we had fishcakes and a piece of cod with a foam – sorry I can’t recall the details more accurately.

main courses at Salt & Sill

main courses at Salt & Sill

Desserts were also a highlight.  N had a(nother) trio of handmade truffles with a strawberry coulis. 

trio of handmade truffles

trio of handmade truffles

I had a delicate dish which comprised a miniature panna cotta dusted with vanilla, a chocolate fondue sauce, and a caramelised banana wrapped in filo pastry and finished with a scattering of nuts.  This restaurant would come highly recommended from me to anyone looking to visit this part of Sweden.  It’s not to be missed.

my dessert

my dessert

The island of Tjörn had a wealth of interesting places for ‘foodies’ to visit.  We found a pick-you-own tomato farm!

just a few of the tomato varieties at the pick-your-own farm

just a few of the tomato varieties at the pick-your-own farm

It was run by a lovely couple who showed us around their giant pollytunnel where there were growing unusual organic salads.  I have never seen or heard of some of the incredible vegetables, salads and herbs they were growing, so it was a fantastic experience.  Ever since this experience, I have always loved the idea of setting up a pick-you-own tomatoes, what a fab idea!

salads, herbs and cucumbers

salads, herbs and cucumbers

There was one cafe that I had read about on my internet searches before we left for Sweden that I was determined we would visit.  It is a small cafe-restaurant in the fishing village of Mollösund, which is right on the far tip of an island called Orust.  Café Emma (http://www.cafeemma.com/eng.html) is  a member of the Slow Food movement, and serve homemade food using seasonal and local ingredients. 

Cafe Emma in Mollosund harbour

Cafe Emma in Mollosund harbour

We both had their signature rich fish soup for starters, which is made with saffron, shrimp and two kind of fish.  It was served with bread, aioli and a herb mayonnaise.  I must admit this isn’t the sort of starter I would normally order, but it was incredible. 

fish soup with aioli at Cafe Emma in Mollosund

fish soup with aioli at Cafe Emma in Mollosund

It was a no-brainerwhat N would choose for his main – a homemade burger.  It was served in thin pillow bread, with a fresh tomato salsa and a bean salad.  Who said burgers have to be unhealthy?

homemade beefburger

homemade beefburger

I chose a quinoa salad with asparagus, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, olives, roasted beetroot and micro salad leaves.  This is food to die for.

quinoa salad

quinoa salad

Café Emma serve the kind of food that you never forget.  Food that you dream about.  Food that you spend hours trying to recreate.  These are my food memories.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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