Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Local Périgord – Dordogne products

The Dordogne region is famous for its wonderful food, cuisine and local products. Here is a list of local products grown in Dordogne that make the “Périgourdins” proud of this wonderful corner of France:

- Foie gras – did you know the ducks and geese force-feeding process was already practiced in the Egyptian civilization, if we believe frescoes that have been discovered, dating 4500 years. Dordogne is the 5th largest French department producer of foie gras. In cooking, this product can be prepared in various ways from “cru”, to “mi-cuit” or “cuit”, according to your taste.

- Dordogne Truffles – also called the “black diamond” which gives an indication of this special mushroom’s market price. It is a very fragrant mushroom that grows underground around certain trees only and that is usually and mainly found by “truffier” dogs (pigs were also used).

- Walnuts – this nut is predominantly present in Dordogne and has probably been for 17 000 years, if shells traces found are any indication. All parts of the walnut can be used, from the walnut tree leaves (for dying purposes), the extract to the wood itself used by cabinet makers. Dordogne walnuts are “AOC” products which translates as “controlled designation of origin”.

- Strawberries – the Romans were already very fond of strawberries, a fruit that became wide-spread over the centuries, to eventually reach 16 categories by the end of the XIX century. Strawberries in Périgord are grown in the St-Estèphe and Vergt region, Dordogne being the second largest producer in France. In 2004, this fruit obtained the “IGP” label which is a European designation aiming at defending local products and their origin as well as their quality.

- Cèpes – another type of mushroom with a nutty taste and creamy texture, this famous fungus is a staple in the Dordogne food: prepared in omelets or rissolé with Sarladaises potatoes for example. Cèpes picking remains a secretive tradition among the locals, who do not openly divulge where the mushroom can be found in their forests and woodlands.

- Chestnuts – are not as common as they used to be but they are still used in French cuisine. Chestnuts can be roasted in a fire, pureed, used as a dessert or for baking purposes … but above all, they are sold around the festive end of the year holidays as “marrons glacés” (sugar glazed chestnuts). The Périgord chestnut has the “label rouge” for quality as well as the “IGP”.

- Wines – the Dordogne vineyards consist mainly of wines from the Bergerac, Monbazillac and Pécharmant regions and they gather 13 AOC all together.

Bon appétit in Dordogne – Périgord!

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