A big part of any proper holiday is taking time out to enjoy what your chosen destination has to offer, and that’s never more true of the food of the drink on offer in somewhere like France. If you’re heading to one of our Dordogne boutique villas and chateaux, we’ve found some of the most mouth-watering foodie experiences in Dordogne for you to enjoy – and let’s face it, it doesn’t get much more delicious than the unforgettable gastronomy of France!
1. Auberge de la Truffle, Sorges
A restaurant that celebrates the so-called ‘black diamond’, Auberge de la Truffle is a family-run inn in the heart of the unassuming yet beautiful French village of Sorges. The region is known for its abundance of truffles, so if sampling them in all of their delicious, luxurious glory is on your holiday bucket list, a reservation at this restaurant is a must. Whether you’re new to the delicacy or a well-travelled foodie, the authentic, ambitious dishes at Auberge de la Truffle aim to take you on a ‘tasty journey of the senses’. Highlights include: Chesnut cappuccino with truffle, scrambled truffle with pan-fried foie gras, and even a dessert truffé du patissier.
2. Le Chèvrefeuille Cookery School, Saint-Cyprien
After a few days of eating Dordogne food, you’re going to want to emulate the ways of the Périgord cooks. So line up a cooking lesson with Ian Fisk, the chef and owner of Le Chèvrefeuille Restaurant and Cookery School. The cookery experience begins with a chef-led market tour, where you can chat with local farmers and find out how to handpick the best seasonal produce. Then it’s on to the kitchen to start prepping a multi-course menu that will include the likes of confit du canard with seasonal vegetables, pomme dauphinoise and cabécou tartlet. You may even be able to recreate some of the dishes back at your Dordogne holiday villa…
3. Bergerac Wine Tours, Eymet
Attempting to navigate your way around the confusing names, appellations and sub-zones of Bergerac’s wine-growing area can be a head-scratching experience, as can finding a reliable source for each individual winery’s opening hours. Our advice? Don’t bother. Let Bergerac Wine Tours do the hard work so you can enjoy a relaxed, no-rush wine tour, sampling some of the finest vintages in the region. After a morning pick-up from your Dordogne holiday villa, you’ll be taken to the first chateau for a vineyard tour, during which you’ll learn about the terroir and production of the wine as well as tasting it. An alfresco lunch will be followed by a farm visit, then you’ll stop at a co-op vineyard for yet another tour and tasting. Delicious!
4. Chateau Feely, Saussignac
If you’d like to tour the vineyards independently during your Dordogne villa holiday, be sure to put this one on your hit-list. Chateau Feely run an organic, biodynamic vineyard and produce exceptional terroir-driven wines. You may not have heard of them before, but fortune favours the brave and you didn’t come all the way to the Dordogne to drink the same old stuff you get at your local Tesco. If you’ve got time before you go, read up on the Feely backstory before heading off for a half or full-day wine tour on the estate, which will include a wine and food pairing lunch as well as an introduction to wine growing, winemaking and French wine.
5. La Pate a Max, Sarlat
At some point during your villa holiday to Dordogne, you’ll probably find yourself feeling ‘all ducked out’. When this moment arrives, give your stomach a rest from the prized poultry and head to this small Sarlat pasta bar instead. The pasta here is homemade and comes with a choice of at least a half-dozen sauces. There are usually a few meat-free options too – a godsend for vegetarians in search of a decent meal in this carnivorous land of Dordogne food. Location: 40 Avenue Gambetta, 24200 Sarlat la Canéda.
6. Le Relais De La Ganache, Saint-Astier
Set in a renovated 19th-century barn tucked away in the hills of Dordogne, this intimate restaurant and inn is the kind of place you imagine no longer exists. Le Relais De La Ganache even has a paddock and stables for travellers who come on horseback and want to keep their steed here overnight. Menus are dreamed up daily based on whatever local products are currently in season. Groups of between 10 and 20 can consult with the chef to create their own personalized menu based on their budget and dietary preferences.
7. Chateau de Monbazillac, Monbazillac
Some guests come to Chateau de Monbazillac to nose around the 16th-century castle, but most visitors come with something else entirely in mind: wine. A cooperative based at the chateau produces some cracking sweet whites, all paragons of the lauded Monbazillac style, which is made by allowing noble rot to set in the vines before harvesting the mouldy grapes. It may not sound appetizing, but trust us, the resulting wine is really tasty. Inside the chateau, the cellars contain tools for vine-growing and panels documenting the history of the vines, and tastings are also available. A visit here makes a great introduction to the appellation.
8. Restaurant L’Essential, Périgueux
This compact Michelin-approved restaurant is a fantastic starting point for gourmands on their villa holiday in Dordogne who want to sample first-rate French food and sensational wines. The prices are only a little higher than many other nearby eateries, but the quality of food at Restaurant L’Essential is miles ahead. If you can nab a seat on the decked terrace out the back, take it – it’s a lovely spot to tuck into the memorable, ingredient-led dishes, such as tête de veau (calf’s head) with pan-fried foie gras and squash emulsion. Showcasing the very best of Dordogne food.
9. Un Parfum de Gourmandise, Perigueux
This boundary-pushing restaurant is a must-visit for food enthusiasts visiting the Perigueux area. There’s no menu at Un Parfum de Gourmandise, but don’t let that put you off. Instead, diners are invited to choose how many ‘stages’ they wish to embark on during their experience. Each course is expertly imagined and conceived by a chef who wishes to show the natural and instinctive flavours of traditional ingredients. Some of the combinations may appear strange but put your trust in the masters and you’ll be reward with a refreshing and authentic dining experience. Chef Sebastian grew up in nearby Lorraine and aims to share one of the biggest inspirations of his cooking – his grandfather – with diners during their visit to Un Parfum de Gourmandise. Expect the unexpected.
10. Bovetti Chocolatier, Terrasson-Lavilledieu
Not all chocolates are created equal. Some (we won’t name names) are chalky and over-sweetened. Others, like Bovetti, are velvety smooth and complex. Chocolatier Valter Bovetti is responsible for producing some out-there chocolate concoctions, characterised by their unusual sweet-savoury flavour combinations (dark chocolate with seaweed or dried tomato and chilli, for instance). Visit the Bovetti chocolate museum in Terrasson-Lavilledieu and browse exhibits that trace the history of cocoa harvesting and the processes of chocolate production. Children can take part in a hands-on chocolate demo before tasting a sample or two or the mouth-watering treats. After finishing the factory tour, head to the Bovetti chocolate shop, where they sell artisan spreads, chocolate bars, cocoa drinking powder and more – fantastic gifts to bring back from your Dordogne villa holiday!