Out to Lunch in Dordogne, France

I’m writing at the kitchen table, as I usually do, before dawn. The sun rises slowly, though here in the Dordogne region of France, dawn seems to drag on forever, like a long twilight in reverse. Morning is not much fun: fog and mist often continue until lunchtime when the sun finally breaks through and shoos the grey away. Jackets and scarves for the morning: t-shirts and sun hats for the afternoon. No wind spoils Autumn, no leaves quiver: the climbing vines on village stone cottages are turning crimson and pink.

Autumn in Dordogne, France
Autumn in the Dordogne, France

On days like this, an outdoor lunch calls, perhaps a picnic by the Vezere river or a drive to a nearby village, just in time to nab an outside table at a little inn for the menu du midi. For us it will depend on the offerings of the day, which are chalked up on boards at around 11 am. Some days the menu has little appeal: it’s often duck gesiersmagret de canard, salade d’ aiguilllettes, or fois gras – it’s a hard life for ducks and geese around here. As pescatarians ( vegetarians who eat some fish on occasion), we can be hard to please in this region so there’s always a back up plan.

Saint-Léon sur Vézère.  Three course menu for 18 euro. Pumpkin soup, pave of trout, tiramisu of pear with a zabaglione topping.  Demi litre of  Bergerac, 7 euro
Veloute de citrouille.
Pave de Truite.
Tiramisu with a difference. Fresh ripe pear, crumbled ginger biscuits, zabaglione cream

Packed in a little box in the boot of our car is a good goat’s cheese, a few tomatoes, a baguette and a bottle of Bergerac Rosé for our little field trips into the woods, rivers and villages of the lovely Dordogne countryside. If we pass a market on the way, we add a homemade walnut tart, a bag of apples, or perhaps a nice quiche. One way or the other, there’s always a good lunch.

Picnic by the Dordogne River
Confluence of the Vezere and Dordogne rivers. Limeuil.
Gateaux aux noix at La Bugue market. Walnut season.
I’m still cooking. Apple and strawberry tart. But why bother in the land of Patisserie.
Huge yellow tomatoes. French markets.
Another tempting spot by the Vezere river

25 thoughts on “Out to Lunch in Dordogne, France”

  1. Fran: a perfectly lovely menu at a very reasonable price . . . but my heart is with the picnic – what fun to have at such a beautiful place on a quiet noon with no wind, having just chosen the last bits at the market. . . . I remember when you bought the glasses to take along ! Mine have black ‘legs’ 🙂 ! More food stories please . . . oh, just to please Pierre, dear Pierre naturellement . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All three courses look good. Veloute de citrouille is my current hobby. I’ve been preparing mushroom stock and experimenting with adding carrots or ginger. The beurre blanc under the trout looks good, and the Tiramisu with a difference sounds very interesting.

    Also, that’s a lovely photo of an empty bench by a river.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once I got over the expectation of a traditional tiramisu, it was sensational. But the whole point of calling something ‘Pick me up’ comes down to the added grog and coffee, and there was neither in this dish. What was nice was the lightness of the zabaglione rather than heavy mascarpone, and the perfect condition of the chopped pears. I’ll make it when I get back and blog it I think.


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