St Cyprien, Dordogne 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!

Not far from this wonderful market, our cooking school,  CookDordogne is situated. Why not come and join Chef Ian on his regional cooking courses, in which he will impart his extensive knowledge of the regional ingredients, which producers you should visit and what to look for in the array of fresh and traditional produce.

The market at St Cyprien is held every Sunday.