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      March 2012 > Fabulous food festivals in the Dordogne
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Fabulous food festivals in the Dordogne

If you like good food, especially sampling new delicacies or different ways of preparing familiar produce, there’s often nothing more exciting on a walking holiday in France than coming across a colourful village market or – even better – an authentic village festival, celebrating a particular local delicacy. Like most countries, France has its fair share.

Take the Dordogne, for example. Every May, for the past 23 years the village of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne (the starting point for our leisurely walking holiday through the Villages of the Dordogne) holds its annual Strawberry Festival – this year (2014) on 11 May – La Fête de la Fraise.

The whole village is given over to the festival with a huge strawberry market, music, fairground rides, art exhibition and boat trips on the Dordogne throughout the day, culminating in the arrival of the ‘King of Strawberry Tarts’ made by the local bakers, which is cut up and dished out to everyone for free. It is 8m in diameter (right) and contains over 700kg of fruit! 

Later in the year – on the last Sunday in September – the Beaulieu Tourist office also organises a Walnut Walk, or Randonoix, a group walk of around 28km through walnut groves on which you will learn about walnut production and can taste various walnut-related products. (It must be pointed out that the talks are conducted in French and so you would need a reasonable grasp of the language to get the most out of this fascinating walk & talk.)

Another of the Villages of the Dordogne you will walk through is pretty Carennac, considered by many to be one of les plus beaux villages de France. On the first Monday in August (4 August 2014) the village holds its fête de la prûne dorée, or Greengage Festival, which dates back to the time of King François I who gave a greengage (the Reine Claude variety - named in honour of his wife Queen Claude) to the monks of the monastery at Cluny, who then began to cultivate the fruit.

Enjoy the delicious fruits of their labours today, either sampling the juicy fresh fruits themselves, savouring a slice of ‘Le Prunat’ – a traditional greengage tart – or having a sip of the local tangy greengage liqueur.

Less than 10km down the River Dordogne and you reach Creysse, starting point for another fine walk through the timeless scenery of the Dordogne. Follow winding Paths to Rocamadour and arrive on Whit Sunday (8 June 2014) and you can participate in this remarkable town’s annual Cheese Festival, which celebrates the ‘Cabecou de Rocamadour’ AOC goats’ cheese. Now in its 25rd year, the town is filled with cheese stalls, cheese and wine tastings, barbeques, music, and the grand finale – a cheese competition. The day begins with a service in the town’s famous cliff-top church at which the goats are blessed before they lead a procession (right) through the narrow winding streets.

Enjoy the colour, noise and organised chaos of this vibrant spectacle before relaxing over a long leisurely lunch – finishing with the cheese board, featuring Cabecou de Rocamadour, of course...

Beaulieu sur Dordogne, France

Photo by David Parry

Posted: 30/03/2012 09:49:33 by Peter Williamson, Inntravel | with 0 comments
Filed under: festivals, France, gastronomy


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