South West France: an area of gastronomic delight!
You will know of the duck, the truffles and foie gras, and maybe the asparagus and oysters. The Fête de l'Aspèrge this year takes place from 25-26 April and promises to be filled with gorgeous produce, recipes, tastings, and demonstrations. We also have amazingly tasty Marmande tomatoes and there is a great Festival of the Oyster in Eymet in August, usually around the 15th. Various farms and 'producteur' of all kinds of delights can be visited close by and food sampled.
As well as it's world famous wines, St Emilion also claims fame as the birthplace of the oh so fashionable macarron! Although the Larousse Gastronomique might argue otherwise, the locals claim the Macaron was first created in St Emilion in 1620 by Ursulines nuns. The lovely Moulierac shop down one of the little cobbled alleys is well worth a visit!
Wine courses just next door
French Wine Adventures are based around the corner from us at Chateau Feely, Saussignac. They hold the prestigious "Best of Wine Tourism 2013" award for the Bordeaux region and a Gold award for visits an sustainable tourism.
We spent a wonderful afternoon with Caro, a fountain of knowledge on all things viticultural. As well as offering guided tours of the Entre Deux Mer and Bordeaux vineyards, Caro and Seàn Feely hold a variety of well crafted wine courses. With the perfect mix of fun, wine appreciation education and practical wine-tasting these are held on their working vineyard and you will see the process first hand. For those who want to take it seriously, you can get an formal qualification from WSET as the courses are accredited by The Wine & Spirit Education Trust,the world’s leading wine education organisation.
In the nearby town of Duras you will find the lovely Maison Guinguet. A wonderful artisanal chocolate shop, offering a plethora of delightful hand made creations, it started off 3 generations ago with the cultivation of prunes and then they combined them with chocolate to create the most divine of creations! The Chocolaterie also holds workshops for children and adults which are a great way to spend an afternoon.
"Depuis 3 générations dans le pruneaux, la Maison Guinguet c’est une étape gourmande à Duras, Lot et Garonne. Une dégustation, une visite s’impose pour découvrir nos spécialités aux pruneaux et notre gamme de chocolats fins : Ganaches, Pralinés, Caramels… Noisettes, orange, passion, framboise… Plaisir du goût, multitude de saveurs, textures surprenantes, formes originales pour satisfaire tous les gourmands. Tous nos chocolats sont élaborés avec du chocolat pur beurre de cacao."
Don't just eat the beautiful patisseries you see while on holiday, learn to make your own! We spent an amazing afternoon with Lydie Macé from SOO Sweet creating our own melt in the mouth Easter Eggs filled with ganache mousse and strawberry compote on a bed of chocolate crumble - all made by our crafty little hands. We did this at Maison Guiguet but Lydie, who speaks great English, will happily come to Les Galineaux and do a patisserie masterclass for you and your family in our spacious kitchen. You will have the opportunity to learn tricks of the trade and make some truly delightful puddings. Alternatively, if you are entertaining while you are here, So Sweet will make what ever delights you might fancy for your guest. Un delice!