We feel lucky to be able to live here but now and again it's good to see the place from a new angle - and on this occasion from the point of view of food.
|Charlotte, Gariguette, Mara de bois, Clary, Elegance: just a few of the strawberry varieties available|
For those with less than perfect French, it can be daunting to look at, for example, a foie gras stall and understand the subtle differences between the products on offer. I'm certain that many visitors to the Dordogne feel just the same, but help is at hand. In the hamlet of Pechboutier, only a 5 minute drive from us here in Meyrals, is the Chevrefeuille restaurant and cookery school, run by Sara and Ian Fisk, an English couple who have lived in France for 14 years.
|Ian & students|
Since some of our guests came back raving about their day at the cookery school, last spring, I have been itching to give it a try! As a home economist, earning a crust by giving cookery demonstations in my pre-kids days, and latterly a food technology teacher, I love cooking but was a little sceptical about how much I would learn. Happily, my scepticism was misplaced!
|Local goat's cheese on Le Bugue market|
Our little group of four started with the day with a trip to the market at Le Bugue, where Ian (chef) filled in the gaps in our knowledge. For the other 3 ladies (all American) this was the perfect chance to see the wonderful range of locally produced foods available and there were lots of exclamations of delight and declarations of what they would be buying on their next market trip, whilst for me it was great to feel that next time I'm there, I will be able to confidently discuss what I want to buy with the stallholders, whether it's selecting the perfectly aged Cabecou cheese, duck for confit or correct variety of strawberries for my dessert .
|Ian demonstrating a luscious soup recipe|
|Dordogne walnuts & apples - to accompany foie gras poele|
|preparing a fresh foie gras for cooking - my turn!|
At 5pm, after a very extended lunch.....and feeling that I might not need to eat for several days, we said our goodbyes. This isn't a cheap day out but what you learn will stay with you - and it would make a great treat for someone special! Ian also does the market trip on it's own and this would make an excellent start to a holiday for all foodies.
|Cabecou in puff pastry with cherry & walnut garnish|
The cookery courses run during spring/early summer and autumn when the markets are less crowded and Ian has more time on his hands but not during July& August. For more information follow this link www.cookerycoursedordogne.com
For those keen cooks who would like to combine a long weekend or short break with a day at the cookery school, email us to discuss your requirements. We can be flexible on arrival and departure days in our studios (ideal for a couple or two friends) and, outside high season, in our larger cottages for groups or families.
Who can resist chocolate - with added tips for making it dinner-party friendly?
|..............And the resulting 'fondant chocolat'|