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Experience The Food And Drink Culture Of The Dordogne

French cuisine has been globally revered for centuries. The country has such an eclectic range of foods and regional cuisines that it is a cornerstone destination for food tourists, a factory for world famous chefs and a gourmet restaurant utopia. What’s more, France has always been the world’s leading wine producing country (9 billion bottles a year!) and most of us still agree that the very finest wines are still produced here. So what does the Dordogne area bring to the table, so to speak? The Dordogne is famous in its own right as a foodie hotspot and home to some of the most rustic and traditional French cooking. Life in the region, it seems, is a celebration of fine food.

Not only is The Dordogne steeped in history, for example there are over 1,500 castles in the area, (some available to rent) but it has a rich gastronomic past to boot. First and foremost, The Dordogne is known for its duck dishes. If you’re new to Dordogne cuisine, throw yourself in at the deep end with a ‘Salade Perigourdine,’ (Perigord Salad). Perigord is the name of an ancient French province in The Dordogne area and many dishes and foodstuffs from the region still proudly bear the name. A Salade Perigourdine is a wonderful cold dish based around duck heart and gizzards confit, it’s always served with a generous slab of foie gras and comes served with various accompaniments such as a bed of lettuce or potatoes, depending on the chef’s angle. Another staple regional delight is the quintessentially French Magret De Canard (duck breast), a beautifully simple dish that draws from the luxuriousness of delicately cooked duck breast and is usually served with a rich peppercorn sauce and sautéed potatoes. You will find these traditional delicacies being served in almost any restaurant in the area and replicated around the country. Accordingly, the best places to eat in The Dordogne are the truly traditional restaurants in the ordinary towns and villages. Equally, you can head to Bergerac in search of higher end establishments and you won’t be disappointed.

The Dordogne is also famous for its truffles. Indeed, the black Périgord truffle is sought after by chefs all over the world and comes with an unsurprisingly high price tag to match. If you are a true foodie, you won’t resent splashing out and sampling some dishes involving this elusive fungus. The flavour added to dishes is so different to anything else that many people struggle to describe it. Often it is said to remind the palette of undergrowth, strawberries and chocolate. If you’re unsure what to order, look for a simple foie gras topped filet mignon with a truffle sauce. The flavours and textures are overwhelmingly indulgent.

As you might expect, a region known for its cuisine is also peppered with regular, wonderful food markets. Some of the biggest and most inclusive are in Bergerac but if you really want to treat yourself, pay a visit to one of the exceptional summer evening markets. These evening markets are miniature festivals celebrating local artisan produce and selling local dishes on the streets. You can find them in Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere in the late summer or every Tuesday evening through July and August in the beautiful town of Bouzic. If you’re curious to cook the ingredients first hand then Cook Dordogne offers market tours as well as regional cookery courses and on-site accommodation.

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