COOK DORDOGNE market tour to St Cyprien market

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

cyprien

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 kitchen at Le Chevrefeuille to cook up the perfect, Perigordian feast!

The market at St Cyprien is held every Sunday.

COOK DORDOGNE Cookery Courses & Tours run all year round.