Peaches and Creme – A Perfect Pair

Peaches and Crème – A Perfect Pair

Recipe by Piedmont Pantry inspired by her visit to CookDordogne and the Perigord Noir, France

A “milestone birthday” celebration in May for my friend, Ginger, found us in the Dordogne region of southwest France. This rustic, and fertile river valley deserves its reputation as the soul of French cuisine. The region’s gastronomic treasures include truffles, walnuts, goat cheeses and all manner of duck delights.Peaches
In addition to taking in our share of castles and prehistoric caves, we visited local farmers’ markets and ate our way through memorable meals from the most humble menus to Michelin-starred affairs. All very satisfying!
Now it’s getting hot out there, and many of us dread the thought of firing up the oven. I get it. This recipe is a no-cook, no-fuss option that’s brimming with fresh, seasonal peaches. It’s satisfying without being cloyingly sweet or rich. As a matter of fact it’s mostly peaches, frozen and whizzed up with a dollop of crème fraîche and a bit of sugar to taste. Three ingredients. Done.

I’ve been making a version of frozen fruit ice creams and sorbets for a while. It was an easy adaptation from making a too-thick fruit smoothie just once, and preferring the semi-frozen texture over a slushy one. Improve the texture, add a bit of sweetness and voilà – dessert!

Imagine my delight whilst enjoying a day-long market tour and cooking class at CookDordogne at Le Chevrefeuille in St. Cyprien, France; when Chef Ian Fisk included a banana ice cream recipe using the same technique. (He uses a commercial-strength food processor.) His unique twist uses crème fraîche (we were in France after all), and of course he also amps up the flavor by including vanilla beans. He’s “chef-y” that way, and will tell you so himself, with a wink and a grin.

Side note: Ian and Sara Fisk live here with their family. It is charming and I highly recommend staying here as your base when traveling in the area. Sara Fisk’s deft hand with accommodations assures your comfort.

For the full Blog PIEDMONT PANTRY and numerous recipes READ MORE

Cookery Course Voucher

Finding it hard to find the perfect gift?

Look no further, simply buy a cookery course voucher for a days cookery course experience in the Dordogne which your loved one can take up any Sunday or Tuesday throughout the year at his/her leisure.

COOKDORDOGNE Cookery course – Arbuturian

Dordogne, Aquitaine, France

Boasting more than 1500 castles, not for nothing is it known as ‘The Other Chateaux Country’, Karen Yates dives into history (and charcuterie and wine and caves) as she treads in Eleanor’s illustrious footsteps. Step forward, Karen of Aquitaine…

It began, like most good cookery classes, in a market. And as we were in the market town of St Cyprien in the Dordogne, this was to be a seriously foodie affair. Before deciding what to buy for our class, our host Ian Fisk first wanted to show us the diversity of local produce, especially now, in the third week of September, at the height of the harvests and just days before the grapes were to be picked from the surrounding vineyards. Glossy vegetables, from red and yellow tomatoes to pumpkins, squashes, green and yellow courgettes, raspberries, figs and much more were piled neatly onto tables groaning under their weight. Mushrooms were having a moment, too – morels and ceps were plenteous; this was just before the truffle season and high demand meant prices were expected to reach €500 a kilo.

On to meat and the choice of sausages from just one supplier included pork mixed with duck, venison, wild boar, blue cheese, hazelnuts, figs, walnuts, ceps, peppers and pimento. Another producer had arranged his stock of plucked quails, pigeons, poussins, older chickens for roasting or coq au vin and skinned rabbits in size order. If, unlike me, you like foie gras, this area will be heaven to you. If like me, you are not a fan for both ethical and taste reasons, you might want to look away now, because along with superb wines, the area specialises in fatty liver – and how. So fatty, in fact, that the stall with the birds also displayed fatty livers for frying. Enormous, roughly the size of the quails, yellow and, as Ian explained, never to be eaten raw. Plenty of stalls specialised in foie gras – at least it’s true to say that apart from the bill every part of the duck or goose was used. Jar after jar and tin after tin of foie gras, duck breast and legs prepared every which way were being snapped up by local people who couldn’t get enough of the stuff. We saw it on every menu, even served with burgers. One foie gras producer invited me to visit her farm and help “stuff the duck”. Needless to say, I passed.

Stitched Panorama
The region isn’t known for its cheese, but Ian recommended walnut Trappe cheese, made by monks, with an edible brown rind, which I bought to take home, and goats’ cheese for our class – we chose crotins that were one and eight days old direct from the farmer. Jars of honey included acacia, chestnut and sunflower, and this was the time for just-bottled homemade vin de noix, made from fresh walnuts grown along the Dordogne river and in the hills of the region. This fortified wine tastes a bit like port with nutty notes, and like port it keeps a long time. Homemade walnut and chestnut tarts were also available to buy.

After selecting our produce, we drove to nearby Le Chèvrefeuille COOKDORDOGNE cookery school, where Ian, who trained at Le Talbooth on the Suffolk-Essex border, and his wife Sara have a Perigordine farmhouse with 13 bedrooms including five guestrooms, plus outbuildings with two gites for rent. Throughout the summer, Ian cooks evening meals for guests and runs a cookery school in the day. Ours began with everyone given a job and Ian showed the patience of a saint as we chopped olives and mushrooms, diced chilled butter, cut out pastry, prepped green beans, whisked melted chocolate and cream, over all of which he waved a cheffy wand and a form of food alchemy was created.

Before we knew it, lunch was served in the sunny garden and comprised a tapenade, the most intense mushroom velouté made from ceps and a real stock; a salad of tomato, avocado, wild rocket, buffalo mozzarella and smoked duck with heaps of homegrown fresh basil; goats’ cheese tarts served with rocket, poached figs and sliced almonds with a balsamic dressing; and dark chocolate fondant puddings with a foolproof melting interior, an intense strawberry coulis and fresh cream. All served, as everything in these parts seems to be, with a few bottles of Bergerac.

It may not have escaped the alert reader’s attention that Ian and Sara are English, and on our travels we met a fair few British people with successful businesses here. Part of the reason Brits move to the Dordogne, along with the natural beauty of the landscape and the great quality of life is history. With this in mind we drove for just 10 minutes to Château de Castelnaud, which was owned at different times during the Hundred Years’ War by British lords and is perched on the top of a hill like something from The Lord of the Rings, with magnificent views of the river and surrounding countryside. The castle was renovated in 2005 and has a museum of medieval warfare, filled with gruesome weapons that make you glad you weren’t around in the 13th century, together with suits of armour, a blacksmith’s workshop and a kitchen – perhaps the only one in the area without foie gras……………………………….

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Learn more about the cooking classes and accommodation at

Direct flights from London go to Bordeaux and Bergerac.

COOKDORDOGNE – Stock Making Recipe – Video

Stock making forms the basis of all great sauces and will elevate your cooking to restaurant standard. In this video, Ian takes you through the process of making your own chicken stock. Check out this stock making recipe and start cooking like a pro.



COOKDORDOGNE Market Tour to St Cyprien Market

For the Sunday cookery course we head to the wonderful St Cyprien market.


Situated on the hillside above the beautiful Dordogne River, St Cyprien (4.5km from Le Chevrefeuille) dates back to 620AD – when a clever hermit called St Cyprien took residence in a cave overlooking the valley. As he whiled away his time ogling the remarkable view, he likely imagined the future of this bustling, bright little village, earmarking in his imagination that on Sundays St Cyprien would hold one of the brightest, most colourful and fresh farmers markets in all of the Dordogne.

And, wow! How right he was!

The St Cyprien market is one of colour, fun and produce galore. We kick off our cookery course market tour by descending into the ancient heart of this pretty village, which beats with all the jolly colours, scents, tastes and sounds one expects from a traditional Perigordian farmers market.

Stalls burst with local duck and goose products. Olives – black, green, stuffed and pitted glisten – even on the rare days when the golden Dordogne sun isn’t shining. Walnuts bulge in over-stuffed sacks and there’s fish so fresh they appear to flip and flop before your eyes. There’s an assemblage of goat’s cheese that would have even the most savant, cheese-loving mouse hard pressed to choose just one, and if that’s not enough tasty-weight to add to your basket, there’s oils, honey, spices, fruit, vegetables, and – of course – bread.

In summer the sweet scent of strawberries grabs you by the nose and pulls you deeper into this belly-pleasing-taste-bud teasing market. In spring white asparagus, morels and tender young fruits will have you wishing you’d brought a bigger basket, and in autumn fruit and veg pop with colours, textures and tastes remarkably different to those of summer and spring. Autumnal walnuts and chestnuts plump before your eyes, courgettes, pumpkins and squash beg to be baked or “soup-ed”, apples whisper sweet-pie-and-tart nothings as you pass, and mandarins, with their radiant-orange peel, beg to be stripped and eaten.

If you’re lucky to hit the season after the rains of autumn when the trees blaze orange and yellow before succumbing to the nudity of winter, and the sun shines almost every other day, then keep your eyes open at market for the truffles, wild cepes and girolles this area is famous for. They’re precious, a little on the pricey side, odd-shaped, much-sought-after, delicious little fun-ghi!

With Ian as guide we meander the market, ogling the vast array of produce picked and transported fresh that morning. Ian has nurtured great friendships with the market farmers, which gives cookery-school participants the rare opportunity to hear how they work to cultivate their top quality fare. It also means delicious tasters of this unique, wonderful, lovingly nurtured produce before we head back to the CookDordogne kitchen at Le Chevrefeuille to cook up the perfect, Perigordian feast!

The market at St Cyprien is held every Sunday.

COOKDORDOGNE Cookery Courses & Tours run all year round.

CookDordogne Tapenade Recipe


Preparation time: 10mins

Cooking time: None


Ingredients (serves 4)

250g pitted green olives
100g Freshly ground almonds
40g  capers, rinsed or drained
10 anchovy fillets, rinsed or drained
1 garlic clove, peeled
50 ml olive oil


  1. Put the olives and the ground almonds into a food processor and cut and chop them into a fine paste.
  2. Stop the machine and add the capers, anchovy fillets and garlic. Start the machine and chop and blend these into the olive mixture until you have a smooth paste.
  3. Mix the olive oil, then season with pepper to taste
  4. Pour the finish tapenade into a preserving jar. Pour a little more olive oil over the top and store in the fridge until required.