Discover The Dordogne
The Dordogne region of France is well-known for its gastronomic heritage and exquisite culinary delicacies.
Fois Gras and Truffles
There are several types of fois gras and it will be served in every restaurant you eat in. Not great if you are a vegetarian, but don't worry there are plenty of alternatives. However, if you are a meat-eater it is a not-to-be-missed delicacy of the region.
The Dordogne has one of the most significant truffle trade centres in France. The "black diamond" truffle is expensive, rare and in high demand.
There are 7 varieties of strawberries in the Perigord IGP group (Guarantee of Control and Certification). These delicious varieites of strawberries grow so well here due to the mild climate. You may even happen upon a strawberry festival in one of the villages or towns. Its also a very versatile fruit and can be used to make tarts, icecream and salad with goat's cheese.
The walnuts of the Perigord come in 4 varieties, and are interestingly named as, "Corne" the rustic, "Marbot" the traditional, "Grandjean" the classic, and "Franquette" the desired. Growing walnuts in this region dates back to the Cro-Magnon period and they were even used as a form of currency in the Middle Ages. You will find them in salads, on pizza and in the ingredients for soaps and oil.
Most famous is the Cabécou of Périgord which is a traditional soft goats milk cheese, delicious in salads and even on pizza! The oldest cheese is the Trappe d'Echourgnac, which monks starting to make in the region in 1868.
Dordogne Local Markets
The local markets in the Dordogne are an absolute delight and listed below are their opening times, which is worth noting, so that you can perhaps time the starting date of your tour to be there when at least a few of the markets are on.
From walnuts to cheese to truffles and wine you will find all the local specialities at these amazing markets. These are places where the locals meet and exchange gossip. This is a chance to lose yourself for an hour or so, sit in a terrace cafe and enjoy people watching, whilst the town or village comes to life. A recommendation is to buy some local produce at these markets and perhaps some artisan bread, cheese and wine for your picnic lunch.
* La Roque Gageac: Friday
Les Eyzies: Monday (and Friday evening)
Sarlat: Wednesday and Saturday
St Cyprien: Sunday
* Not always weekly so best to chekc with your local tourist office just to be sure
Seriously Photogenic Villages
The Dordogne Valley has 10 of the Plus Beaux Villages de France! Many of them are on hilltops, from which there are great views of the sparkling and tranquil river below.
This remarkable village has steep cobbled lanes and at the top a medieval castle to explore, which has sweeping views across the river plain.
This bastide village, also on a hill top, is endearingly beautiful. It was founded in 1283. Order a coffee, beer or local glass of wine as you sit on a terrace overlooking the view. You can also wander through its tiny streets and admire its medieval fortifications.
This village occupies a dramatic setting tucked under ochre-coloured cliffs and it's main street parallel to the river. It has a micro-climate due to its south-facing position and you will find palm and banana trees growing here!
Ok, so this village is technically a town! One of the busier places in the area, but nonetheless a wonderful place to stay or visit, with its honey-coloured architecture, secret squares and incredible market.