Market day is important in rural Dordogne – an opportunity to buy fresh food from local producers and catch up on news from friends and neighbours in the area. If you are used to supermarket fruits and vegetables, be prepared to change your shopping habits forever.
Food, Cuisine and Recipes
Not only did the French introduce the rest of the world to Champagne (and, it follows, Marc de Champagne) but a little bit of research reveals that the chocolate truffle was, in fact, a French invention too.
April in southern France is a gastronomic feast. The markets overflow with the luscious new vegetables and fruits of spring. Foremost amongst these are strawberries, the perfect ending to any spring dinner party.
With the rhubarb season well under way, tempt your taste buds with this delicious recipe for Tarte à la rhubarbe with a Norman twist… Calva and crème fraîche!
Some call him the ‘Pope’ of French cuisine, others call him its grandfather, or even its emperor. We interview the living legend Paul Bocuse, whose list of accolades is as long as the menu of gourmet delicacies at his principal…
Comté cheese has been produced in the Massif du Jura region of France for over 1,000 years, using only organic Montbéliarde and French Simmental cows’ milk. Its production is still based on artisanal traditions, lovingly crafted in around 160 small villages…
The Far Breton is a flan-based dessert originally from Brittany. Available in many versions, the Farz Forn remains the most well known, with additions like rum or plum liqueur.
This is a classic recipe, extremely simple and perfect for supper on the day you manage to buy – or find – your first fresh truffle. Truffles have a pungent aroma that permeates the eggs beautifully.
Gloriously rich and sweet, with just the right amount of acidity, French onion soup defies the modest reputation of its main ingredient. However, when the dish was invented, it was simply a case of the allium being in the right place at the right time…
This mostly rural, relatively little-explored region abutting Switzerland is best known for its cheese and charcuterie yet boasts a unique of variety of wine dating back to the Romans. Florence Derrick investigates…
An excellent quiche using the local roquefort cheese from the Aveyron. Perfect for informal outdoor lunches accompanied with a green salad, or served in small bite-size pieces for apéritifs and picnics.
Well-known as ‘the garden of France’, Pays de la Loire is the place for fresh produce. But with its rivers and coastal edge, there’s also plenty of fishy business going on. Justin Postlethwaite browses the menu…
We interview Eric Sendra, owner of Vins, Adour & Fantaisies, a retailer of gourmet wines, spirits and delicatessen goods. Based in southwest France, his cellars include the world’s widest Armagnac catalogue with more than 1,000 references to brandies produced as long ago as 1888.
In spite of its diminutive size, the macaron has become one of the most famous pieces of French pâtisserie, and thanks to its never-ending reinvention, it remains the very height of fashion. We pick our favourite colours and flavours…
Aligot is a fondue-like potato and cheese dish made by skilled men with vast wooden paddles and often served alongside local sausages or spit-roast veal, lamb or pork. Aligot transcends its simple ingredients and tastes best eaten outdoors in a crowded village square on a summer’s evening.
Dominic Bliss introduces his two young daughters to cuisine “outside their nutritional comfort zones” in the Limousin.
This is a quick and simple recipe for a french savoury ‘cake au jambon et aux olives’ or ham and olive bread. Very popular for snacks, picnics or informal apéritifs … just cut it up and serve!
La Tartine Gourmande Béatrice Peltre, Roost Books, $35 In the unforgiving world of social media for foodies, you don’t get 27,000 Instragram followers unless you cook brilliantly and take lovely photos. Béatrice Peltre, whose website we featured last issue, is very much in the vanguard of food writer/photographers,…
Located on the banks of the Charente, Cognac has a history as rich as its famous drink’s flavour. The area has been inhabited since the Prehistoric era and, even if their origins remain a mystery, there are still relics from…
First popularised by the Roux brothers in the 1960s, this refreshing dessert is now considered a delicious French classic. We looks at the different versions available around France and put three shop-bought versions through their paces…
The Midi-Pyrénées is a region created around what is now the capital, Toulouse, the ‘pink city’ famous for its sausages. In France, the rules relating to how they are made are strict and only the best carry a prestigious red label. The authentic Toulouse sausage is free…
Gina Dyer heads inland to Bordeaux and Cognac to sharpen her wine-tasting skills – and receives an impromptu proposal…
The Loire Valley area makes up one of the largest regions in metropolitan France, birthplace of writer François Rabelais and his most famous character, Gargantua – a giant with an enormous appetite and a taste for the local fouaces… Like pitta pockets spiced with saffron (Safran du…
If you’re looking for a traditional Languedoc-Roussillon dessert to delight your dinner guests, then why not turn your hand to the surprisingly simple preparation of a Crème Catalane – a favourite from the French Catalonia area in the south of the region bordering Spain.
Florence Derrick travels to a Midi-Pyrénées town where organic and fair trade products are the norm
Comté cheese is a pressed, cooked cheese from the Massif du Jura region in eastern France. Its nutty flavour makes it perfect for hearty winter recipes such as this take on a British classic: chicken and leek pie. Combined with tarragon…
A classic French dish made with chicken braised in red wine. With its deep colour and rich flavour this coq au vin recipe is the perfect slow-food to make any dinner guest feel special.
Any visitor to Boulogne-sur-Mer is in for a culinary treat as the city’s enormous fishing port is just a stone’s throw from a famous fromager selling hundreds of cheeses. Florence Derrick investigates.
In the winter we all need dishes such as this to nourish body and soul. Florence Derrick charts the origins and history of this all-time French classic, a slow-cooked stew that’s equally pleasurable at home or sampled at your favourite bistro
This is what they eat to warm themselves up in the Cévennes mountains in winter … if it works for them, it could help us through our cold winter too. Here is a delicious French bistro staple.
Popular at any time of year this crêpe recipe incorporates chestnuts – a Limousin speciality. The basic mixture is made separately so you can use your own imagination for the fillings, the possibilities are endless…..
Sarlat-la-Canéda is the heart of the Dordogne Valley and the capital of the Périgord’s gastronomic specialities: walnuts, black truffles and, most of all, foie gras. Florence Derrick ‘takes a gander’ at the town’s annual celebration of goose-based cuisine, Sarlat en Périgord Fest’Oie
Roquefort is a flavourful ewe’s-milk blue cheese and is France’s second most popular cheese after Comté. During the Age of Enlightenment, the French philosopher Diderot attributed the title “King of Cheeses” to Roquefort cheese, declaring in 1782 that “Roquefort cheese is without doubt the finest cheese in Europe”.
The black truffle, also known as the ‘black pearl’ or ‘black diamond’ of the kitchen, is one of the most expensive edible mushrooms in the world. It is harvested from November to February not just in the Perigord, but also in a number of other regions where conditions are favourable, and that includes the Languedoc and Provence.
This galette is made especially for the Ephiphany to celebrate the arrival of the Magi. The custom is to hide a little charm or fève within, and the lucky guest who finds it is crowned King or Queen.
Taking inspiration from the know-how and traditions of Normandy, offer your guests something unique with these ideas for homemade apperitifs.
Want to impress your friends? Why not try out the most famous of all French dishes, le Boeuf Bourguignon? Here’s a tried and tested recipe.
A traditional French dessert served after the main Christmas dinner is la Bûche de Noël, a roll of light sponge cake, covered in chocolate or coffee butter cream textured to resemble bark as an evocation of the ancient tradition of burning the Yule log.
Best-selling author Mireille Guiliano demystifies one of the ultimate luxury foods. Follow her elegantly simple approach to how to taste an oyster, then decide for yourself whether you like them or not.
Roasting chestnuts is one of those rituals that bring back wonderfull childhood memories. Cook some just before going for a walk through the autumn leaves to keep your hands warm or enjoy them by the fireside with a glass of wine.
A traditional pastry from Douarnenez, Brittany, a Kouign-amann means butter cake and is made from risen dough, but using the same method as for flaky pastry… a little effort for a tasty reward.
Renowned Breton baker Richard Bertinet is back with a stunning new guide to simple pastries and desserts that you can make at home. He talks exclusively to Florence Derrick about his inspiration and favourite recipes.
This quick and easy recipe brings out the flavour of the cèpes without overpowering their delicate earthiness. Bon Appetit!
This French classic is so adored the world over that other nations even claim it as their own. Florence Derrick investigates, tasting more than her fair share of the delicious dessert on her way! But how do the supermarket crème brûlées compare?
Daube is a classic Provençal stew made with inexpensive cuts of beef braised in wine. Perfect for a dinner party as you make it well ahead of time to allow the flavours to meld together.
This recipe makes excellent use of that most underutilised of all vegetables, the good old pumpkin. Every year they’re grown in their thousands and used as Halloween lanterns. Don’t discard the flesh; try this delicious punpkin soup instead.
This is the Charentaise take on a traditional seafood favourite, that typically French mussel recipe of moules marinière with a dash of Pineau.
Breton baker Richard Bertinet offers his take on brioche loaves
Gougères, a traditional apéro nibble from Burgundy. Get this quick an easy recipe to impress friends and family.
With so many delicious French breads and pastries to choose from, this issue we’ve chosen to take a closer look at the deliciously buttery brioche, its history and its uses.