Notes from our village — 22/06/2013

Today’s posting is a short collection of events in the heart of the Greater Daglan Area, or GDA.

The reigning champions. Holding quiz nights in pubs and restaurants is quite a British tradition, and it’s upheld in the GDA by our large community of ex-pats from the U.K. My wife Jan and I took part in one quiz night in Daglan a few years ago, and weren’t too embarrassed when our team (consisting of an English couple we met that evening, plus the two of us) placed third. This past Thursday, we tried again. With us were American friends Caitlin and Albert, who run the excellent B & B known as La Tour de Cause just south of Castelnaud la Chapelle. (We can recommend La Tour de Cause highly, having stayed there last year; for details, see my posting of August 22, 2012.) The venue for Thursday’s quiz night was a restaurant that’s right on the Dordogne River, a few kilometres east of Cénac, called Maison du Passeur. The four of us started the evening with dinner; when it was time for the quizzing, we were asked if another couple could join our team, which is known simply as Jackal. Naturally, we said yes. As luck would have it, the other couple, Roy and Helen, turned out to be English; aside from being quite charming, they added a lot of British knowledge to our team. So what happens when you combine American, Canadian, English and Scottish brainpower and educations? You got it — we won!

Dodging the rain. Yes, the GDA’s cool and rainy spring weather has continued into what is technically called “summer.” On the good news front, at least it’s not raining all the time, and so Jan and I have decided to get outside when it appears that rain is not actually falling. Yesterday morning, for instance, we hopped on our bikes and rode to Château des Milandes and back (about 32 kilometres in total). This morning, Jan walked to neighbouring Bouzic and back (about nine kilometres in total). As for me, I rode my bike south to St. Pompon where I bought some of our favourite bath soap at the pharmacy there, and then continued on to St. Laurent-la-Vallée, for a round trip of about 20 kilometres. I’m a big fan of this fairly pricey soap, by the way — the bars are large, and the soap is mild and smells great — so in case you’d like to try it, here’s how it looks:

Three soaps, three scents.

Three soaps, three scents.

Let the feasting begin. Speaking of St. Pompon, the village is now all set to begin its weekly series of evening food markets, which are held each Saturday evening through August 31. There you can wander from stall to stall; buy every kind of food and drink from fresh oysters to curries, mussels, sausages and other grilled meats, wines, beers, frites, and much more, and then plunk down at a picnic table and enjoy. Here’s one of the signs on the outskirts of the village, advertising the Marché Gourmand Nocturne:

The sign for St. Pompon's evening market for hungry people.

The sign for St. Pompon’s evening market for hungry people.

And here’s a look at some of the set-up work that was taking place this morning as I rode my bike through the village:

Getting all set for the first of the season's evening markets.

Getting all set for the first of the season’s evening markets.

Tonight is the first of only 11 such weekly events, so if you’re in the GDA some time this summer, you should consider a visit before the markets disappear for the year. To learn more, have a look at my posting of September 2, 2012, when Jan and I visited the market for the first time.

Today’s tip: While the market stalls sell the food, they don’t always provide proper plates or tableware. So it’s smart to take your own picnic basket or other carrier, with a supply of paper or regular plates; knives and forks; napkins; and some paper towels for the messier foods. Enjoy!

Follow-up: Okay, we’ve been there already. Late this afternoon, after I posted the stories above, we had to do a little shopping in Cénac. By the time we were done, we realized it was late enough that we could visit St. Pompon’s night market — so we did. First we looked around; then we bought a glass of rosé wine (for a whopping 1€ each!); and then sat down and enjoyed the view and the thumping music, just as the traffic was starting to pick up. Here’s the view from our little table:

The view over a couple of glasses of rosé wine.

The view over a couple of glasses of rosé wine.

Once we had finished our plastic cup of wine, we bought two barquettes of very good frites, and brought them home. Jan had already bought some cooked mussels at the Fabrice le Chef boutique in Daglan, so she simply popped the frites into a hot oven while she re-heated the mussels in some wine and Pernod. Result? A yummy dinner.

This entry was posted in French food, Holidays in France, Life in southwest France, Markets in France, Tourist attractions, Uncategorized, Weather in the Dordogne, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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