Bon Anniversaire – Day 11

Photos

After the thunderous storm of the previous night, we awoke to a calm, crisper morning—still overcast however. Our hosts had recommended getting an early start out the door, as Saturdays are market day in Sarlat, so we got ourselves washed up and out the door. As it was David’s birthday, we planned to stay in town and, as he gracefully put it, “eat our faces off”. First things first, we went off in search of coffee, and we actually came across a little café that looked eerily like a few coffee shops back home (something like a Blenz). I noticed they actually had a latte on the menu, so D ordered himself a brevé latte which the owner, who turned out to be from Manchester, whipped up. D was tickled to be able to get a half decent cup of coffee with cream in it.

We ventured onto the main street, which was filled as far as we could see with market stalls, primarily clothing and knick-knacks. However, after walking down to around our hotel, the streets started to be filled with food stalls. The market was massive—all the streets seemed to be brimming with stalls and people. We wandered through, peeking at the ubiquitous cheese and foie gras stands. D admired some massive shrimp, pining for a kitchen to fry them in. I of course was admiring all the dogs trotting around. So many! And quite well-behaved too, with nary a bark to be heard. We made our way to the Place de la Liberté, swarming with people. A stall for a local honey farm caught our eye, and D sampled several types, eventually settling on a small jar of honey only found in the Perigord region. Next, we came across a bountiful olives stand, and D made out with a few goodie bags of olives. Fortuitously, the stand opposite the olives happened to be a local beer brewer (La Croix du Rat), which D had sampled in town previously. After chatting with the owner, a friendly Irish fellow, about different types of hops and malt, we purchased a range of different beers to sample, including a stout. We wandered back out to the main street, looking at the various wares being peddled, before going back to grab some cheese and bread and strawberries. We headed back to the hotel with our goodies for a little picnic. After gorging ourselves on our snacks, including some of the most flavourful strawberries ever, we spent much of the afternoon reading and napping.

By the time early evening rolled around, we prettified ourselves and headed out for David’s birthday dinner. I had found a recommendation for Le Presidial, a beautifully-appointed restaurant with a lovely outdoor terrace. We were seated at a nice table in a quieter spot that afforded a good view of the chateau (which D mentioned used to be the old judicial court). We ordered a couple Kir for an aperitif (mine a standard one with cassis, and David’s a Perigordian-style one with peach liqueur). They brought us a trio of amuse bouche that were lovely before we dug into our first course. D had ordered escargots stuffed with duck confit, while I had opted for the safer, tried and true route of foie gras terrine. All roads led to the same place: gastronomical heaven. For a main course, I went with duck breast in a sweet and sour peach sauce, and D tried a cassoulet of duck confit. They were nothing if not consistent, in that they were similarly delicious. D particularly loved the crispy duck skin that accompanied his dish. Following a bit of local goat’s cheese (chévre) and greens, we indulged in dessert. I couldn’t resist some crème brûlée (which was divine) and D had profiteroles, which basically involved some kind of pastry with ice cream and chocolate sauce. We lingered, French-style, over dinner for over 3 hours, and stuffed to the brim, eventually waddled our way home for the evening.

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