06.06.2010 - 06.06.2010 23 °C
A pack, a simple breakfast, a farewell to french companions, a bill (facture) happily paid, and back to Sarlat to explore some backstreets without the anglo-hordes. 'twas lovely and slow. The weather forecast was for rain, "storm" we were told, and the clouds on the horizon looked like they were complying with the forecast. We decided we weren't really prepared for heavy sustained rain and possible chill on a canoe so we thought maybe tomorrow.
A small purchase by Karen at a brocante place bought additional good fortune. The owner chatted, (they do respond well knowing we are aussies) and we learned Agen is a place to avoid but Auch in his humble opinion was worth a visit.
We decided to check in early at our lodgings tonight, the Auberge de la Ferme Fleurie, which is a quaint place with a beautiful garden. Our host had a nice amount of English so it was easy.
We thought we would go to La Roque-Cageac instead where houses and structures blend in close to the cliffs on the Dordogne. We couldn't drive all the way in or through as a roof had been destroyed by a rock fall. Fortunately no-one was hurt but safety first! We were able to walk through most of the town and it was memorable and worth a visit.
Hankering for some water we decided to take an hour's cruise on a Gaberre, a flat bottomed boat not unlike those used a few centuries ago plying goods and people up and down the dordogne. This was again well worth the effort. We decided an aperitif was in order; whisky and coke for the girls, ricard for John and a sweet-bitter herbal known as Suze (gentiane) for Les.
By the way, the French have this habit of placing a red diagonal stripe across the sign of the town as you drive out. As if to cross it off, done that, swipe!
We were looking forward to dinner at a small town nearby, Les Arques. The restaurant known as La Récréation comes with much good praise from various sources. We shall brave the unknown to us. And we did in an unexpected way. We charged Missy to find us the shortest route. She did. She wound us through backroads and lanes of one car width and what looked like to be haunts of sanglier (wild boar). Somehow Hansel and Gretel came to mind and the way the witch seduced them into her lair. We pretended to be unafraid. When hope seemed like it was on a holiday we found the side of the lanes freshly mown. Trick or hope? We then saw several buildings. Hope. We arrived, no sign of the restaurant at all. We parked. No sign of people. We listened. Some laughter from next to the car. We saw the sign of the restaurant, uncoloured etched on marble. The chef and kitchen staff drinking; gates closed. We walked through the town. No lights on. One older couple one on a walking stick ambled by. We averted their gaze. We found several statues made by a Russian sculptor. Interesting. Walked back, one sign of life, a TV was on in a nearby house, at least the light was, no sound. A car drove by. She looked normal. An accidental glance back to the restaurant revealed people walking in and sound of activity. No screams. We thought we would check it out. Phew. Happy friendly pleased to see us people. The fact you are reading this tells all went well. Wrong. It went exceedingly well. What a great night.
Our primary waitress was the wife of the chef. She spoke excellent English and was happy to give us time. she later explained that she had heard of our wayward journey many times after she listened to us talk of the GPS.
Our meal was excellent and even better value for money. A beautiful violet cocktail for the girls and champagne for the boys flagged open the meal.
We chose a set menu of 35E. It was easy as there were no other options, but within each course a choice of six. Value for money plus!!! We all had asparagus soup as white asparagus is in season. Karen started with foie gras. Les with red mullet which sounds much better in French as "filets de rogets". There seemed to be a smokey flavour to mine, was it the mullet or cooking? Then Karen had a saddle of wild rabbit, cooked slowly at 65 °C, moist as. Les chose breast of quail with foie gras in a french style reduced jus aux raison. A small interlude with a soft chevre followed by a parfait avec noix and chocolat for Les. Coffee to cap it off and then an easy trip home.
One of my goals was to taste the "black wine of Cahors". We selected a 2002 Cuvee Dame Honneur du Chateau Lagrezet. We were advised the "black wine" is in fact a malbec, lots of tannin, fruit and very dark colour. and it was. Yum too. One can get similar tasting wines elsewhere but the colour is extremely dark.
Another replete and complete ending to the day.