Menu Dominicale: Hearty fare in Saint Cyprien

The largest weekly market in our area of the Dordogne takes place in Sarlat, but the second-largest market is probably more enjoyable — if only because it’s more manageable. It’s held each Sunday in Saint Cyprien, about 25 kilometres north and west of Daglan. That’s where we headed this morning, under grey skies.

Not so cleverly, I didn’t take a photograph of the market when it was in full swing. But here’s where it’s held — all along the main street that goes through the very centre of town. In this photo, taken around 2 p.m., you can see the last of the stalls (which sells fabrics) being packed up, into the white van. Now imagine this entire street being lined with stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to clothes, cheeses, meats and sausages, fish, and ceramic plates.

Saint Cyprien

Imagine the entire street lined with stalls.

After walking the entire length of the market, pushing through the crowded street, we finally emerged at one end of town, ready for a rest and a coffee — and then lunch. Our restaurant of choice was the Chai Malo Bar-Restaurant, where we’ve eaten before. Today’s special was the Menu Dominicale, or Sunday Menu, featuring five (5!!) courses for 18 euros. Naturally, they had us at “five.”

We began with kirs vin blanc, of course, and then the food began. It was all good, and definitely hearty. First, a rich vegetable soup, with nice chunks of carrot and bits of leek:

Vegetable soup

A nice bowl of vegetable soup to get started.

Knowing the meal was going to be hearty, I ordered a bottle of 2007 Château Virgile Cuvée l’Énéide, a Costières de Nîmes that’s been aged in oak barrels. It’s a classic Rhone blend of syrah, grenache and mourvedre grapes, and it went very nicely with the next course — a significant slice of country paté:

Pate de campagne

Country paté with mustard, cornichons, and a bit of salad.

Next came the main attraction: a good serving of beef bourguignon, served with chopped-up cauliflower that was bound together with cream. The wine went very well with this course too:

Beef bourguignon

Our meal's main course at Chai Malo.

By this point in the meal, my wife Jan was starting to resist. But I bravely pushed onward, accepting the cheese course (two slices of cheese, a pat of butter, and a touch of salad) as an inevitable part of the Sunday lunch:

Cheese course

The cheese course at Chai Malo.

Watching me devour the cheese helped my wife develop her appetite again, so she was able to order dessert. For her, two small servings of mousse — one chocolate, the other pistachio — garnished with walnuts and honey.

Mousse desserts

Two servings of mousse for my wife.

And for me, a slice of apple tart (nominally tarte tatin, but not really caramelized sufficiently). If it looks like a blob of chocolate mousse has been dropped on this serving, that’s because it was. My wife wanted me to try some of her dessert. And you know what? It didn’t hurt the tart at all.

Apple tart

Apple tart, with a soupçon of chocolate mousse.

A coffee finished our hearty lunch and, with that, we headed back to Daglan — to rest, and digest.

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This entry was posted in French food, Life in southwest France, Markets in France, Restaurants in France. Bookmark the permalink.

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