Earlier this year Graham and I met some friends for a rainy Sunday lunch in Bergerac. It was low season, and there were few places from which to choose. While we were waiting for the others to arrive I perused the drinks menu on the table and was intrigued to see a French whisky offered. I love finding odd things like that so, when I got back to Les Terraces, I duly Googled it and learned that there’s a distillery in Sarlat. While I wasn’t actually interested in the whisky (I occasionally like a touch at the end of a cold winter night after the dogs have had their last walk, but that’s it), I was taken by what they termed “spécialités culinaires.” Now, they had me hooked.
Fast forward a couple of months and my father was coming to visit. This was a perfect excuse to take a night away and explore Sarlat before it got too packed with tourists. My long suffering other half and father acceded to my suggestion that we go, so I found a small appart-hotel in the medieval district for the night and booked us in. A couple of days later, we were on our way. Typically, things got a bit rushed when leaving home, the result of which was that our booking confirmation was left in the printer. It was probably a good thing, as had I plugged the address into the SatNav we’d have had the devil’s own job getting the car up the narrow, windy street that led to the hotel’s front door!
Instead, we found a car park as close to the old town centre as possible and went in search of the Office de Tourisme and something to eat. The helpful folks at the tourist board gave me a map and showed me where we needed to go, and then we meandered around looking for a place for a light bite. I won’t go into my food snobbery and distaste of eating in places where the menu is written in multiple languages, but when in Sarlat…… Anyway, we were all happy with our food, and that’s the important thing. It was a bit of a surprise, though, to have the waiter tell us that it was easier for him to take our orders in English as he’d only started work the day before having just arrived from Holland! Serendipitously, we’d parked ourselves right opposite my motivation for visiting Sarlat – the Distillerie du Perigord‘s retail outlet (actually, I wanted to visit the distillery, but that’s not possible).
We left Graham guarding the doors to the shop while we found the hotel and sorted out parking the car. By now, it was just hurling down great torrents of rain, and my father and I wrestled bags and brolly across town and into the flat we’d been assigned. Thence off to find out about these cooking essences. We couldn’t taste the essences, but did sample some of the wide range of spirits the distillery and its sister facilities produce ( we sort of had to, just to be sociable!). Eventually, we came away with just the objects of my interest:
So, now I have some playing with food to do. It should be fun!
More of our visit to Sarlat in the next post.