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September – November 2018 Issue 4

The

érigord Local The Region’s FREE magazine in English

The Autumn Edition Inside: Montpon-Ménestérol & La Forêt de la Double, Secrets of the Savonniere, Home Made Loveliness, Brantome Police Horses, Marvellous Mint, Tomme Cheese, Harvest Fayre

www.perigordlocal.com


4 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

CONTENTS

Welcome to the autumn edition. Autumn’s my favourite time of year. The weather is generally kinder and this summer we’ve had quite enough extreme heat! Things feel more peaceful. But, that doesn’t mean that things aren’t happening. The busy night markets may have finished – but many great-causes are busy with events to help raise important funds. In this edition we’ve highlighted a few ‘Home Made with Love’ producers. It’s early but we wanted to include these talented ladies in this edition. Giving everyone plenty of time to think about gift-buying for a later in the year! Buying from a huge shop doesn’t make anyone’s day. Buying from home-producers does! We’re delighted to include some information about the lovely police horses living in Brantome and enjoying a lovely retirement with the aid of Roland and Alison Phillips. What great and important work they do! We’ve visited the little town of Montpon-Ménestérol and La Forêt de La Double. We’re so spoilt with a region full of delights and endless history. Each place we visit throws up something new and interesting. To tell us about your village or town, please send us an email. We’re delighted that our magazines get posted to subscribers all over the world. It’s lovely to think that there are people in every ‘corner of the world’, waiting to hear about our ‘corner of the world’. Subscribing is simple – just visit our website. Our next edition will be published for the start of December.

Anna

Until then….

From our website you can: • Read a copy of this and previous magazines (including the Quercy Local) • Subscribe to receive copies to your home address – anywhere in the world. • Subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

www.perigordlocal.com theperigordlocal@gmail.com

Brantome Police Horses

p.8

Autumn Birds

p.15

Moulin de Citole

p.18

Financial Planning

p.21

Wines of SW France

p.22

Made with Love

p.24

The Great Aligot Argument

p.28

Laundry Secrets

p.30

Marvellous Mint

p.32

p.34

Montpon-Ménestérol La Forêt de la Double

p.36

Rural Gites - Chadenne

p.38

Le Moulin de Duellas

p.40

Facteur d’Orgues

p.42

Oysters

p.44

Harvest Fayre

p.46

8

40

24

This is a free magazine and so we are totally dependent on advertisers. So, please do support them whenever the opportunity occurs. You can follow us on

@Perigord_Quercy

The Local Magazine - Périgord & Quercy

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Emergency numbers Medical Help/SAMU 15 Text Service for Hard of Hearing 114 Police/Police Nationale (Gendarmerie) 17 Fire & Accident/Sapeurs Pompiers

18

SOS – All Services (calling from a mobile) 112 Child in Danger (child protection) 119 Missing Child

116 000

The Périgord Local ISSN: 2608-497X. No part of this publication may be copied, used or reproduced without the written consent of the proprietor. No responsibility is accepted for any claim made by advertisers. All content accepted and printed in good faith. Please check that all advertisers are registered businesses in France or in their home country. The Périgord Local is owned and managed by A Atkinson, Las Razes, Touffailles,( 82190) Siret: 518 460 605 00018. Printed by Gráficas Piquer. French admin; Valérie Rousseau.


THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 5

Ironwood Motif Artist Blacksmith, Ferronnerie d’Art

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Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


6 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

E - IC RD V A SER AW NG I N IN W DROP IN AND SEE US IN LALINDE OR VERTEILLAC

The Périgord Local • September - November 2018 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Périgord Local


THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 7

ISSIGEAC Le Relais de l’Ancienne Gare - Sylvie & Hervé Rodot - Route d’Eymet - 24560 Issigeac 05 53 58 70 29 relais.anciennegare@orange.fr www.relais-anciennegare.com Sylvie and Hervé Rodot look forward to welcoming you to their lovely restaurant where the dining room has a bit of a train theme; or to their floral terrace for a lovely summer meal. The restaurant is about 800m outside the medieval village of Issigeac in lovely leafy countryside.

Opening Hours: 12h15 – 13h45 19h15 – 20h45 Open all year and every day except Monday lunchtimes, all day Thursdays and Sunday evenings You are advised to call and make a reservation

The Rodot Family – father and son chefs ~ Hervé, the father: traditional and gastronomic. Fabrice, the son: creative and modern. Victoria and Fabrice welcome you to their restaurant for all seasons – in winter there’s an open fire, charming open stone-work and a lovely cosy ambiance then in summer there’s a large shaded terrace

Fresh seasonal produce used to prepare fine cuisine. Easy parking opposite.

Only closed – Tuesday evenings all day Wednesday and Saturday lunchtimes L’Atelier, 66 tour de ville, 24560 Issigeac 05 53 23 49 78 Restaurant L’Atelier Issigeac

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


Big, Brown & Beautiful Why did two perfectly normal people, Roland and Alison Phillips, move to France and start a sanctuary for British Police Horses?

I

t is a question we are often asked. Well, this was all started by my dear old Mum, she was called Sylvia and was lovely, however, slightly eccentric. In 1976 as I (Roland) was joining the Police in London she rescued an old racehorse. Within a year or two she had gone onto rescue another thirty horses of all shapes and sizes and eventually became a charity in the UK called The Devon Horse and Pony Sanctuary, which still runs to this day. In 1993 through a friend of mine she took on her first two horses from the London Metropolitan Police. It was only meant to be one but they sent two. This was the start of our long-term commitment to saving the Police horses that were no longer wanted because of old age, injury or mental trauma and faced the possibility of being shot. The Police horses in the UK go on patrol normally in pairs to catch criminals and help the public. They are used in large crowd control situations such as football matches and large gatherings of people and of course demonstrations, but they also help greatly with public relations. If out on patrol, many people will stop them just to talk to Police officers and stroke the horses.

But, sometimes events can become very violent and the horses are used to control the public. Often they become the target of missiles such as bricks, bottles and firebombs. They can have laser beams shone into their eyes and have large fireworks thrown at them. The horses are incredibly effective and because of their size and power, it is said that an officer and horse are the same as 12 policemen on foot. Because they are sensitive animals their instinct is to run away from danger, these situations are very

The Périgord Local • September - November 2018 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Périgord Local


THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 9

stressful for them. The officers have a very strong bond with their horses and really care for them but they are there to do a job. Despite having the best of everything and the best training in the world they still suffer from trauma and injury. There is no retirement home for these brave animals and no pension; very few people will take them on, as they are big and expensive to keep. That’s where we come in! When the Police contact us we know that we are the last chance for that animal and the likelihood is that if we don’t take them they face an uncertain future. We don’t get any government funding the Police Service in the UK is severely short of resources and there is no spare money for their unwanted horses. So when we are asked to take a horse we start a campaign to raise the money to pay for their transport here to France. Why France? It is the perfect environment for them and farms in England are very expensive. Also as a family we love France the French people and the way of life here and the Dordogne is a perfect place to raise a family. Our eldest daughter Deborah, her husband Chris and their twin nine-year-old daughters Isabel and Chloe, who are perfectly fluent in French, also live at La Grange. Because of the sanctuary in Devon, Alison and I still have to spend half of our lives in the UK. We bought La Grange in 2007 and started to build stables and put in fencing, the original plan was that we would just have a few of the larger horses to help my Mother. There was no intention to open to the public or become a French charitable association; fate had a different plan for us. My incredibly strong Mother who we thought would live forever died suddenly in 2009 and over night my wife Alison and I became responsible for fifty horses at Mum’s sanctuary in Devon and many more out on loan. There was no time to grieve for my Mother we just had to get on with it! All our plans had changed. By 2010 the first of our retired Police horses that were in the sanctuary in Devon began to arrive at La Grange. In 2011 after serious riots in England we were asked to take on more Police horses, and we did! The Police horses are something special! Not having much experience of horses we hadn’t realised that these big brown creatures all have their own personalities and really get under your skin. They end up like family and you can’t let them down. In April 2012 we decided to have our first open day. It was raining; we had no car park and no facilities. Our friends had rallied around; we put up a few tents loads of helpers arrived armed with home made cakes. What a disaster! they were going to be so disappointed, no one would be interested in a few old brown horses. We opened at 11 by 12, three hundred and fifty had Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


10 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

people turned up. They were parked right down into our tiny village. We just couldn’t believe it and from that day on, we had to seriously believe that people would be interested enough to continue to visit. We built a website and became a charitable association and as of today, we have five to six thousand visitors a year and of course we have all of the facilities. Amazingly we are always in the top three attractions on Trip advisor for the whole of the Dordogne, but of course we are not an attraction, we are a sanctuary. As it turns out we are a sanctuary not just for horses but also people. Our visitors are not horsey types most have never touched a horse but they almost without exception feel the warmth of these incredible animals and are really affected by their experience. The English Cream Teas help of course. We have tremendous support from our volunteers who turn up in all weathers to help look after the horses and other volunteers that help with the events. We couldn’t survive without them. What of the future? The horses haven’t stopped working, they don’t know what affect they have on people but they do love all of the attention, meeting their adoring public is part of their rehabilitation. What we have found is that they are incredibly beneficial for children and young adults with autism and other learning difficulties. As always we seem to be drawn

along a certain path and the need for this kind of help is now so apparent that we began working with a large French organisation, which helps these children. I think that’s where we are going, ask me again in a few years time. We believe that visiting the Police horses is a unique experience we always make sure that everyone feels welcome, after all you are visiting our family home so we think of you as guests and hopefully when you leave as friends. Everything is bi lingual. We will show you a film and explain what the horses did before they came to us, then you meet the horses and hear their stories, most people find this very emotional. This is followed by traditional English tea or coffee, with home made cakes or scones, jam and cream. We ask for a donation of 12 euros for adults and eight euros for children up to ten and free for infants. All details are on our website To help support the horses you can adopt a horse or become a member of the association. We have over a thousand members from all over the world and if you are able you can become a volunteer. All monies raised go to the care of the horses. Please visit us and make a difference. Roland and Alison Phillips La Grange 24530 St Pancrace +33 (0)5 53 05 86 80 www.brantomepolicehorses.com

The Périgord Local • September - November 2018 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Périgord Local


THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 11

Whatever you do – you need to be seen!

Advertising your business over the Périgord and Quercy region can reach 150 000 people in a year and an 1/8 page (like this) can work out as little as 18,50 (+TVA) per month, by direct debit. Drop us a line to thequercylocal@gmail.com to find out more.

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For anyone with an interest in the ‘real’ history of the Périgord, its people and the natural world, then you need go no further than the publications produced by Secrets de Pays and Esprit de Pays.

They produce books and periodicals and an incredible website which, in all honesty, must be the most interesting and well presented set of historical articles that I can remember coming across. There books and periodicals are available throughout the region. We are delighted that Jean-Françoise Tronel and Jacky Tronel have allowed us to include a few bits and pieces from their website in this magazine. We hope that we will be able to call on their huge resource in the future. You can find out more about their publications and read some incredibly interesting articles on http://espritdepays.com/ Editor

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


12 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

July – August

2018 Issue

3

May – June 2018 Issue 2

The

March – April

The

érigord Local l d Local érigor érigord Loca 2018 Issue

The

The Region’s

FREE magazine

in English

The Region’s FREE magazine in

English

The Region’s

Edition The Summer town of Excideuil Visit the lovely Inside – We Teashops Great Local and Donkeys Wine, Absinthe The Angel Cheese Brexit Roquefort – Finances Beyond Managing Your

FREE magazine

in English

Welcome to our 1st Editi on

Inside – Bees, Josephine Baker & Tarte Tatin Wedding Venues & The Pilgrim’s Choice

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Your copy of The Périgord Local can be delivered to your home in France or anywhere in the world. If you would like to get the next 5 copies of the magazine delivered directly to your home in France or another address anywhere in the world then this is very simple to arrange. Simply visit our website and follow the link to ‘Subscribe’ you can made the subscription immediately by using either a bank card or paypal. If you prefer to pay by cheque then simply forward a cheque (payable to A Atkinson) to Las Razes, Touffailles, 82190, France – do include the address that you want the magazines sending to. We will always start the subscription with the next edition to be published unless you email to ask us to start with the current one. The costs for getting 5 copies sent to you are currently – 26 euro for an address in France or 18 euro for elsewhere in the world.

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Calling all horse & pony lovers!

Concours equestre en ligne is new venture that started at the beginning of August. The idea is to allow people to compete with their equines without the hassle and cost of transport or the worry of the renowned French paperwork! It’s open to anyone who lives in France. We will run a schedule of classes each month with varying themes and the chance to win beautiful rosettes and prizes. To enter, nothing could be easier. Just visit our facebook page and send your photos via messenger along with your name, horses name, which class you would like to enter and your email address. Happy competing everyone! concoursequestreenligne

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THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 13

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Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


Cement Tiles, and garden furniture/decorations - including Moroccan and Vintage styles Tel. 05 63 39 96 46 Mobile. 06 80 36 54 99 | 06 32 90 47 96 materiauxancienslauzerte@orange.fr www.bhmateriauxanciens.com Saturday 29th September – Inaugural Day of the 2 Show Rooms Sunday 30th September – Open Day - 9am-5pm

Parc d’exposition de 3 hectares Show Room - Livraison dans toute la France

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Autumn Birds

THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 15

Article and Illustrations by David Beddow – beddowdavid82@gmail.com

W

ith Autumn just around the corner and bird migration well under way this is a time when anything from the bird world can appear either because they have been blown off course or they stop off to feed en route. Last year for instance I saw a flock of five Black Storks on their way from Eastern Europe to Africa. We have already said goodbye to the Honey Buzzard as it too heads to Africa but the Common Buzzard remains as its source of food does not dry up in the winter months. Unlike the Honey Buzzard which has a specialist diet of wasp larvae, insects and frogs, the Common Buzzard has an all year larder of mice, rabbits and carrion. The non-migrating Red Kite says au revoir to its cousin the Black Kite as it too takes to the skies for Africa and where its diet there will include lizards, frogs and snakes. Generally it’s the insect-eating birds that travel to warmer countries in search of food. Those birds with a more flexible diet and a multi-purpose bill tend to remain changing their diet to seeds, nuts and berries. As the colder weather arrives Northern European breeding birds will be moving south and into our territory boosting our resident winter population of finches, larks and thrushes. Bird watchers can expect to see Siskens, Bramblings, Fieldfares and Redwings in fields, hedgerows and gardens. Last year’s milder winter meant many of these birds did not make it to our area as they managed to find food supplies further north. Let’s hope we see them this year. A few summer outings proved fruitful in spotting new birds. On the last day of July I saw my first Whiskered Tern diving for fish at St Nicholas de la Grave. At the same site I also saw a Hobby hunting dragonflies close to the water’s edge and of course the gratifying sight of the blue flash of Kingfisher as it dashed by. A trip to Roches des Aigles in Rocamador never disappoints as you see the permanent collection of birds of prey from the giant Condor and Griffin Vulture to Kestrels and Little Owls. However it was whilst walking through the village that I spied Crag Martins - the first time in France. I was surprised to see so many of them feeding around the cliffs. An evening barbeque also heralded an unexpected sight. Moths drawn to the light attracted the normally elusive Nightjar which flew around the garden enjoying the feast.

Nightjar

With barbeques pretty much over for the year and less to do in the garden, it’s easier to find time to build or repair bird tables and nest boxes. Sometimes birds will roost in nest boxes during the winter. And remember to keep bird tables well stocked now so that in the event of cold weather birds will know where to go for food. Happy birding.

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


16 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

From Costume to Chrysanthemum All Hallows Eve, All Saints & All Souls Day

All Hallows Eve – Oct 31st This has Pagan, Roman and more recent Christian connotations. During the millennia it’s been associated with harvest, that hopeful space between the sadness of the close of summer and the darkness of winter. A time for giving thanks for the stored crops and for seeking reassurance that the coldness and harshness of winter would be overcome. This date has more recently become known as Halloween with its inevitable costumes. This costumery is thought to originate from the early British Christian practice of gathering on this night to seek protection from evil. This involved the depiction of a battle between good and evil, which in turn required the waring of costumes! Today, with the costumes comes the practice of ‘trick-or-treating’. A practice which is not entirely the product of supermarket advertising. ‘Trick-or-Treating’ has medieval and religious foundations. It evolved from ‘going-a-souling’ which meant the poor going door-todoor (often disguised in costume) to collect soul-cakes, the householders’ donation of which helped the plight of their loved ones in purgatory.

All Saints Day – Nov 1st (Toussaint in France) References to this Saints Day go back over 14000 years and the date has been important to many different religions and beliefs. Eventually it became a date predominantly observed by the Catholic Church. A day for remembering and honouring all Saints; as well as departed ‘loved ones’ who’d all have been typically named after the Saints. Before this date you’ll see a huge upturn in the availability of chrysanthemums in shops and nurseries. Chrysanthemums are the flowers that are traditionally placed on family graves on this day.

All Souls Day – Nov 2nd More-often today, All Soul and All Saints Days are celebrated together on the 1st. However, this was originally a day for praying for the souls of the departed, particularly those thought to be in purgatory (perhaps not having confessed their sins).

Itching, scratching and things getting under your skin? For most of the year some beastie is probably having a nibble at you, but in late summer and into autumn it can be particularly bad and for some reason some people seem troubled more than others. Introducing – Aoutas (Trombiculidae) as mentioned in Peter’s story (p.25), these pests are also known as berry bugs, harvest mites, red bugs, chiggers and scrub-itch mites. They’re very small (rusty-orange coloured pests) often only 0.4mm in length and are picked up from grass, weeds and other plants. They love low, damp areas, fruit bushes and orchards but just to make life difficult they also thrive in drier situations, particularly where the vegetation is low so – lawns, parks and golfcourses. The name Aoutas (which is given in France) is due to them appearing in large numbers in August. These absolute horrors are a relative of the tick and during their laval stage they take up residence on bodies to feed on skin which causes extreme irritation. They inject digestive enzymes into the skin that break down skin cells. They don’t actually bite, they make a hole in the skin, called a stylostome, and then chew up bits of the inner skin, this causes severe irritation and swelling. The itching is accompanied by red, pimple-like bumps or hives and skin rashes. In the case of humans, itching usually occurs after the larvae leave the skin. After feeding, the larvae fall to the ground and become nymphs, then mature into adults which have 8 legs and are harmless to humans. In the post-larval stage, they aren’t parasitic and instead feed on plant materials. The females lay 3-8 eggs in a clutch, usually on a leaf or plant roots, they then die by autumn. The problems and irritation caused by Aoutas are complex and so one solution does not work for everyone. Milder problems and itching may be eased by an over-the-counter treatment. The Pharmacist is going to be the first port of call. More serious infections may require medical advice. Washing in hot soapy water can help remove the pests from the body and clothes that have been in contact with the pests need to be put through a very hot wash to try and kill them off. I am sure that anyone with an itch will feel better for knowing all this!

The Périgord Local • September - November 2018 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Périgord Local


THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 17

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Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


18 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Moulin de Citole

Our Association “Les Amis du Moulin de Citole à Sadillac” was created in December 2013 to accompany a project of restoration and bringing back to working order the windmill named ‘Moulin de Citole’ in the commune of Sadillac (24500), Dordogne.

T

he commune of Sadillac (550 hectares and 110 habitants) is situated 17km south of Bergerac. Whilst modest, it nevertheless has a rich past. Its name comes from the latin ‘Satellius’ meaning, in modern language, bodyguard and is associated with the roman gallo period. It’s founding was based upon a gift made in 1079 by Moissac Abbey (Tarn and Garonne). With the impetus of the monks, the village developed rapidly and obtained the status of a “town” and created fortified walls to act as protection. In 1569, during the wars of religion, a protestant army took over Sadillac, turned it into a garrison, destroyed the town, the fortifications and the magnificent roman-byzantine church, where other buildings were not touched by this disaster. Sadillac will never forget this fateful day. In the 18th century the village included a large number of trades, which were centred around economic self-sufficiency. As well as a tile factory and the traditional trades, Sadillac possessed three windmills, the remains of which are still in existence.

One of these, the ‘Moulin de Citole’ is situated in the south-west part of the village, and is by far the best conserved. In 2012, the local village council of Sadillac became the owner of this windmill with a view to restoring it. The project is now in the hands of the community of communes of Eymet, who are best placed to undertake more ambitious local heritage

The Périgord Local • September - November 2018 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Périgord Local


THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 19

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Saint Jean

Place St Anne Sadillac

projects in the area and can benefit from French and European grants. The work of the Association lies in the promotion of the windmill, the project of restoration and other wider activities. We have organised a number of social and fund-raising events (festive meals, fete of Saint Jean, traditional dances). In 2016, we were fortunate to welcome the Morris dancers and musicians of CHOBHAM SAINT LAWRENCE who gave us a superb festive day; we thank them for their enthusiasm and support. Some of the funds raised from these events were used to build up and secure the upper part of windmill. Other projects include historic research on the windmill of Citole and other windmills to the south of Bergerac. We have cleaned several km’s of rural tracks. Also to fundraise, we created handmade craft items and sold them at Eymet Christmas market. The Association has a healthy number of members, 117 in 2017, and a large number of volunteers. We have an internet site: lesamisdumoulindecitolewordpress.com where we publicise our activities. During 2017 and 2018 we have linked together several paths and created three footpaths, of 4, 7 and 9 kms, equipped with informative signs along the routes. These footpaths have been accepted by the Dordogne department and integrated into a map “Chemin des meuniers” (map of millers), with the possibility to download the map directly from our internet site. The footpaths favour an immersion in nature. The windmill of Citole was constructed in 1765 as shown on the lintel above the door on the north side (the builder was called Pierre GAIMAN). It is possible to restore the windmill to working order, to have sails, grinding stones and a roof that turns. This is our wish and we are committed to make this happen.

An educational project will accompany the restoration in order to explain the mechanism and working of the windmill and the concept of transformation “grain à pain, grain to bread”. In the Dordogne there is only one restored working windmill found in the north of the department. If the project of Citole is realised, it will bear witness to the work of the millers around the Bergerac area. It will be a place of memory, of learning, of understanding and promotion of our heritage. It will be an original and supplementary asset in the promotion of the area upon which other activities or events could benefit. These are lots of possibilities which open a number of perspectives. At the moment, the administrative applications for finance have been submitted and we are hopeful that they will be successful. Our actions have allowed us to be recognised as a Public Utility in France and we are therefore able to offer tax relief on donations. If you would like to join or help us, please do not hesitate to contact us. Next event, all welcome: HOT POT (pot au feu) Saturday 6 October 2018 at 7 pm, Salle Intercommunautaire, RAZAC D’EYMET. Price of meal : 15 euros, Following the meal, a film about rural life before the tractor will be projected, For reservations or for further information, please call Liz Knock 05 53 24 07 64 / 06 70 61 75 41. Postal address : Les Amis du Moulin de Citole à Sadillac, Les Martineaux, 24500 SADILLAC E-mail : moulindecitole@orange.fr Site : lesamisdumoulindecitolewordpress.com Localisation GPS of the windmill : 44.720288 / 0.47088

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


20 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

The Périgord Local • September - November 2018 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Périgord Local


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IS YOUR FINANCIAL PLANNING MATCH-FIT FOR TODAY’S WORLD? By Peter Wakelin, Blevins Franks

Everyone has their own set of circumstances, goals and needs when it comes to their finances. With good financial planning, you can map these out and identify steps you can take to protect and make the most of your income, assets and wealth. You will benefit most from reviewing your financial affairs not in isolation, but as a whole. This means looking at your savings, investments, other assets, tax planning, pensions and estate planning together. How are they currently structured? Do they affect each other? What are your options, now and in the near future? What will work best for your family and your unique situation, objectives and risk appetite?

Protecting your wealth It is only natural that you will want to preserve your wealth and see it grow over time. There is invaluable peace of mind in securing financial security for your family, no matter how long you live or what health issues may come your way. You may also want to help the next generations by leaving a lasting legacy. However, today’s economic and political climate presents many challenges to both protecting and growing your capital. Take the prolonged period of ultra-low interest rates: this has made it harder to achieve decent returns on bank deposits and lower risk investments. Meanwhile, creeping inflation has further eroded the value of capital and income. This has also been a time of heightened global tax scrutiny, with frequent changes to tax and pensions legislation. And, of course, Brexit is likely to continue generating economic uncertainty and fluctuations in the value of the pound and euro. At times like this, careful planning plays a particularly important role in securing your financial security over the long term. You need to weigh up which issues affect you most and establish what you can do to protect against them.

Personalised, expert advice While some choose a DIY approach to financial planning, most people who have built up or inherited wealth will benefit from an independent and expert review of their finances. After all, it is difficult to take a step back and look at your broad financial situation from a truly objective point of view, or fully understand the complex tax implications and keep up with the changing rules. For the best results, take professional advice from an experienced, locally-based financial adviser. Since

wealth management is such a personal issue, they should take time and use the necessary tools to thoroughly understand your unique situation, needs and objectives, including how you want to shape your legacy.

Investment planning Investment is probably the area where people are most concerned about losing money. While all investments – even bank accounts – carry risk, a suitably diversified portfolio can help manage risk within your comfort level. It is essential to establish a clear and objective view of your risk tolerance to determine the investment approach that will best suit you. Your adviser is best placed to do this objectively through psychometric testing, for example, combined with their knowledge of your family’s situation in France and your financial goals.

Understanding local taxation If you live here, all elements of your financial planning – from investments to estate planning – need to be set up for France, not for the UK. Ideally, your adviser should be based in the France and have first-hand experience of the issues facing expatriates here, financial and otherwise. Crucially, they should also have in-depth understanding of crossborder tax planning, including the Portuguese tax regime and how it interacts with UK rules. A local adviser can also react quickly and help you make adjustments if your personal circumstances change, or if there are Brexit developments or tax reforms that may affect you – including new opportunities. If you relocate again or decide to return to the UK at any point, they can help you navigate the tax regimes and residency rules of both countries. Remember: if you are living in France, your finances should be set up for your life here, not for your old life in the UK. The sooner you review your financial planning and set up a strategic, long-term vision to protect your wealth, the sooner you can relax into a prosperous future in France. All advice received from Blevins Franks is personalised and provided in writing. This article, however, should not be construed as providing any personalised taxation or investment advice.

Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at www.blevinsfranks.com

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


22 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Wines of SW France

Chai St Etienne - Côteaux du Quercy The vineyard lies 20 minutes from Cahors and since 1778 the vineyard has been run by generations of the Gisbert and Quèbre families. Their wine-making has focused on producing wines to be shared amongst good company (and preferably over long lunches). It was this vineyard that was Thomas’ motivation for starting ‘Mosaique Wines’.

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he vineyard is nestled between fields of sunflowers and fruit trees. The fields of vines wrap around the church of Saint Etienne – with its bell-tower keeping watch over the grapes. Making the best wine possible, using sustainable methods, is paramount for Thomas’s family, sticking to tried and tested processes, from previous generations, to create balanced and elegant Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Côt blends, as well as delicious Cabernet Franc and Gamay Rosé. The vineyard’s land has clearly a history of producing wine. A history evidenced by the many relics of Roman wine-making uncovered whilst working the land; including remnants of amphora and mosaics. The Coteaux du Quercy AOC is one of France’s smallest wine region with only 400 hectares and less than 20 producers. After the Phylloxera disaster 50 000 acres of Quercy vines were almost destroyed. Then the Cahors winegrowers who were then the best

known applied for their appellation (AOC Cahors) first. Other growers further south and north of Cahors were excluded from this labelling. So, the Gisbert and Quèbre families with their determined friends started their own appellation (Côteaux du Quercy, VDQS which then became AOC in 1999). With high-draining slopes of white clay and limestone soils, Cabernet Franc was chosen to blend with

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the Merlot and, of course, the Côt (Malbec) vines were replanted in the stony soils. This vineyard, covering 27 hectares, embraces biodiversity as the family believe this approach positively affects both the vines themselves but also the environment. The vines themselves are, on average, 35 to 45 years old and grow at an altitude of 250 to 300 meter with a density of 4000 vines per hectares. Work in the vineyard is simple; listening and watching the land carefully. Pruning is carried out according to the moon’s phase, grass is grown every second row to reduce the vines’ vigour and lower the yield. The subsoil is aerated to allow microorganisms to develop freely. Chai St Etienne produces both Red and Rosé wines. The ‘rosé sec’ wine is dry, with notes of fruit including raspberry and strawberry. The traditional ‘rouge’ hints at red fruits as well as the darker, forest-berries and liquorice. The ‘red barrique’ is a mix of complex blackcurrant and prunes aromas with lots of character and a suggestion of oak. Chai St Etienne, Le Cuquel, 46170, Saint-Paul-de-Loubressac 05.65.21.81.84; chaistetienne@gmail.com

Thomas Gisbert runs Mosaique Wines in Melbourne, Australia. Thomas’ family produce wine in the Lot and he has taken the very best of the ‘artisanal’ wines of S W France to Australia with him. A bold move – as Australia has a wine heritage of its own! Thomas studied in Bordeaux and then worked exporting regional French wines all round the world. A subsequent year was spent working as a sommelier in Australia. This gave him a fantastic opportunity to learn the business from the other end (as end user rather than exporter) and this experience importantly formed the idea behind his business – Mosaique Wines. Thomas now works with sommeliers, restaurants and the public directly to ensure the very best of the wines of S W France are available to Australia’s discerning connoisseurs. Wine drinking is different in the Australia. So often, what we drink is affected by the local climate and importantly the local diet. Here it is invariably warmer than Europe and the diet generally has more of an Asian twist. Neither of these factors, nor the high import taxes imposed on imported wines, have diverted Thomas from his passion. He visits France to meet producers (and see his family of course) securing wines for his Australian clients and then he’s back across the world to promote these wines. A long way from home – but what a fantastic way to keep your roots firmly planted in a region that remains close to his and his family’s heart. www.mosaiquewines.com.au

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


24 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Made withY

We will soon be in the season of ‘gift buying’ and we hope that these 4 examples of ‘individual care’ ‘environmental awareness’ and quite simply, wonderful gift ideas might tempt you to buy with love – buy home-made and hand-made! Buying from small businesses and producers changes lives. It supports individuals and families and takes us all a step further from being told by big business – just what it is that we need in our lives!

Sophie Edme Sophie’s Barn, Les Graves, 24250 Cénac et St Julien sophie@sophiesbarn.com www.sophiesbarn.com sophiesbarn @SophiesBarn I started making soap out of the desperation of trying to find a solution for my young son’s eczema. I needed to find an alternative to the steroid creams he was prescribed and stumbled into the world of natural skin care. I started making soap and successfully rid my family of eczema. Sophie’s Barn was created as everyone kept asking me for more ‘magic soap’. That was over ten years ago now! I’ve since relocated my family to the beautiful Dordogne region, and my Barn became a proper workshop (although the name stuck!). I spend my days creating luxurious gentle skin care and enjoying life ici avec mes enfants. Sophie’s Barn is about natural, hand-made goodness. I’m very proud to use local ingredients whenever possible, such as the walnuts and walnut oil in my walnut soap, or the gloriously rich local honey in my honey soap. There are no artificial colours or fragrances in any of my products. Any scent comes exclusively from the use of essential oils. Every ingredient has its place, a specific use, a reason to be there. Anything else simply doesn’t make the cut! I love the creative side of what I do. I make lovely personalised soap as wedding favours and bespoke gifts. This is great fun. I get to play around with packaging and be part of a special occasion somewhere out-there in the world! I also love to share information on how to have healthier skin. Nothing feels better than receiving a message about someone’s skin finally getting better after using real soap. It’s very rewarding. The Périgord Local • September - November 2018 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Périgord Local


THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 25

Jane Hunt Bougies D’Aquitaine, 24320 Bouteilles St Sebastien Bougiesaquitaine@gmail.com www.bougiesaquitaine.etsy.com Bougies Aquitaine bougiesaquitaine Based in the Dordogne I produce luxury candles with beautiful fragrances that are inspired by France. They are made from soy wax, giving a cleaner and longer burn (25-30 hours for a 150g candle) than paraffin. The fragrance oils used are vegan-friendly and high quality to ensure that they last! All my candles are hand-poured into opaque white jars, chosen because once lit, they give a beautiful flicker and glow. Each jar is then gift-boxed, perfect if you are buying for someone else, especially as they can be delivered worldwide. I wanted to produce a high-quality candle at lower than the typical high-end pricing. In can be hard to find well-made candles at prices that are not obscene. It works! Since the launch of Bougies D’Aquitaine in April 2018. I’ve found that once people try the candles, they love them, and are coming back for more. The autumn/winter range will include scents to invoke coziness, comfort, and seasonal nostalgia. Expect cinnamon, apples, cedar, berries and orange

to be amongst the mix! Firm summer favourites, such as Honeysuckle & Jasmine (the bestseller), Lavender and Sandalwood & Mandarin will be available all year round. I will be at many of the regional Christmas markets. I also attend ‘Gifts and Goodies’, a weekly pop-up gift shop in the Café du Palais, 24600 Ribérac, Tuesdays from 10am -1pm.

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


26 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Carol-Ann Smith van Blerk Oooohbeads at Combe Prionde, Ste. Alauzie, 46170 carolvanblerk@aol.com www.oooohbeads.com Ooooh Beads oooohbeads

I create beautiful beads from glass from my lovely workshop in the middle of the woods. This involves the heating up of differently coloured glass rods and melting them carefully over prepared mandrels. Then the clever bit, the adding on of other colours, all of which must be done so very carefully! Each bead is a work of art and some even have small pieces of silver adornments added. Some beads are single statement pieces and go on to be worn on either silver chains or chokers, cords, dyed-silk ribbon or leather straps. Other beads form parts of small groups which are worn together, threaded just like the single beads but with a completely different effect. I also design and produce lovely glass spindles for the spinners out there. A perfect and original gift. I would never achieve these results if I did not simply-love, firstly, melting glass and secondly, critically have a love of colours. I sell my beads, sometimes to other artists who include them in their work (adorning handbags/ hats or as part of other pieces of jewellery). Most of my work is sold directly to people simply wanting a bead or a complete piece of jewellery. I also supply the accessories for turning the beads into jewellery (silver, cord etc.). From time to time I hold some studio days – when you can find out much more and have go yourself. The Périgord Local • September - November 2018 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Périgord Local


THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 27

Kate Baldwin Love Leo at 7 Route De Marmande, Margueron, 33220 loveleoclothing@hotmail.com www.loveleoclothing.com loveleoclothing love.leo.clothing

I founded Love Leo in 2014. As a work-at-home mum of 4 I wanted to help promote eco-conscious fashion with a bold, individual twist. I focus on creating beautifully-soft, jersey clothing for children aged from teeny-tiny premature babies, right the way up to 12 years. I source environmentally-friendly fabrics, with dyes that are kind to delicate skin and that’ll survive the frequent washing that children’s clothes need! I wanted my kids to stand out from the sea of pink and blue. So, I use fabrics that cater for all ages and genders and that stand the test of time and the fussiest of children! All my clothing is made at home with OEKO-TEX standard fabrics. Working as a home allows me to focus on my own family whilst indulging my creative talents. It also means I’ve a full house of willing and able models! All items are hand-made with care and attention, ensuring your child is wrapped in love, day in and day

out! Every garment I make is based on my own pattern collection which I’ve tested extensively with my own children and my team of testers. So, your order is ready for play, tree climbing and plenty of mud! Many designs will also grow with your child, helping you get fantastic value for money with a product you can use time and again, before handing on to the next child. I use limited-edition fabrics. So, if you see a piece that you love let me know quickly. I also do some custom work on request.

Win this charming Daisy & Heart necklace from Oooohbeads! If you know somebody (or perhaps you) who’d love this very pretty glass heart – please email us by the 30/11/18 with your name and address and we’ll enter you into the draw. Winner picked at random on the 1st of October. Email: localsfrance@gmail.com

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


28 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

The Great Aligot Argument T

here are a few foreigners living here in France who are not cheese eaters, and may God forgive them. For the rest of us, cheese tends to be one of the things about which we are most passionate. One of the cheeses any vaguely inquisitive connoisseur is bound to have come across is called tomme. It is a cheese that is wide spread throughout much of France and is often a little misunderstood by we etrangers. Part of the reason for that is that tomme is just an umbrella term for cheese that is made on the actual farm from which the milk originates. It almost always comes in the form of a round wheel and can be made from goat, sheep or cow’s milk. This milk is usually the skimmed left-overs that remains after the cream has been removed for richer cheeses or butter production. Obviously, such broad production criteria bring with a wide variety of tastes and textures. Even the spelling is not universal and tomme is often spelled tome. One thing that most tommes have in common is that they are coated with a thick crust. To help reduce the confusion slightly, different tommes are often designated by region so you would get tomme d’ Auvergne or tomme d’ Aveyron amongst many others. This at least lets you get a vague idea of what the cheese you are choosing is going to taste like, though that taste, and texture can vary greatly as the cheese matures and depending on the production technique of the individual farmer. I always recommend asking to taste a tomme before making your purchase. Tomme is a vital ingredient of one of France’s most popular regional dishes; Aligot. Aligot is made by combining cheese, potato, garlic and cream and then mixing them over a gentle heat until they achieve a stringy elastic texture that tastes a great deal better than I am making it sound. In what is quite a physical operation, the mixture is stirred continually in one direction until the desired consistency is achieved. Too little stirring and you have a gooey mess, too much The Périgord Local • September - November 2018 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Périgord Local


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and the elasticity is broken. The name itself is an amalgam of the words ails for garlic and ligoter which means to bind. Three regions of France, Cantal, Aubrac and Aveyron, all lay claim to be the originators of this dish. It is a dispute that has gone on for five hundred years and is probably one of those uniquely French debates that we more recent arrivals are well advised to steer clear of. The dish is thought to predate the arrival of the potato which only came to France in the 16th century. Before that it is likely that Aligot was made by combining tomme cheese with bread. As late as the 17th century the potato was still being shunned in this country because people believed that it was toxic. Once adopted, the combination of cheese and potatoes would have been an ideal meal for weary farm workers and those pilgrims needing to replenish calories whilst walking the Saint Jaques de Compostel. Ignoring the disagreement as to the dish’s origins, Aligot is now widely available throughout France and is a very popular all over the country. A common dish at fêtes and weddings, it is also frequently found at small local markets where its producers can often be seen stirring the stringy mix with a traditional long handled wooden paddle. It is normally served with local sausage or beef and accompanied by red wine. by Mike Alexander

The Autumn Phoenix Book Fair will be held on Saturday 22nd September in the Salle Municipale at Campsegret 24140 (on the RN21 between Bergerac & Perigueux)

As usual there will be over 20,000 books for sale, sorted into category, alphabet or genre, and from only one euro+. The Catering Team will be offering the usual wonderful array of goodies to eat there or take away. As well as books there will be DVDs, CDs and Bric-a-Brac for sale. New for 2018 there will be a Plant Stall! Doors will open at 9.30am (for people with limited mobility from 8.30am) and will close at 3pm. Good quality books, CDs and DVDs can be donated on the day.

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


30 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Laundry secrets from the savonnerie Many people complain of skin problems related to their laundry detergent. It’s hardly surprising when you read the unpronounceable list of ingredients, many of which are derived from petrochemicals along with other nasties that lurk hidden away on the label.

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owadays, with increasingly more people looking for a natural lifestyle and have an eye on their environmental footprint, it is little wonder that my inbox regularly receives emails on this subject with requests for simple household product recipes that can be made at home without it costing the earth. So, I want to share 2 simple laundry recipes that rely on regular kitchen cupboard ingredients, the wholesome goodness of plant-based soap and essential oils of your choice. Before we get straight down to it, some of these recipes include washing soda that is easily available for purchase in many supermarkets, but did you know that you can make your own using baking soda (Bicarbonate de Soude)? The difference between washing soda and baking soda is simply water and carbon dioxide. Don’t confuse baking soda with baking powder – they are two different things! Baking soda is a base mineral, which, when combined with something acidic, produces carbon dioxide. Usually this happens in

liquid and the results you get are bubbles that can lift stains or act as a surfactant, meaning they will clean things. In other words: baking soda can do some magical things! To transform baking soda into washing soda is easy. Simply spread the baking soda onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment, set your oven to 200º C and place the baking tray and soda into the oven for 1 hour. The reaction of the heat breaks the molecules in the baking soda down to produce washing soda, steam and carbon dioxide. You can tell when the soda has changed by its composition - it turns from powdery to granular. So now you have your homemade washing soda, you now need Savon de Marseille or Savon d’Alep (made from the oil of Bay leaves). Be careful when you buy either soap as much of both is mass produced and often include some chemical to stabilise the lather. In fact, over 95% of the Savon de Marseille sold in France are imitations with much of it imported from outside the EU where little if any manufacturing and health regulations apply. What’s more, Savon de Marseille does not enjoy the same control

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THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 31

(“appellation”) protection afforded to French wines and cheeses for example thus making this once artisanal soap a truly rare find. You can however, find both at Airmeith Savonnerie in Caylus. The Savon de Marseille we make is produced according to the traditional recipe of 72% Olive Oil, 28% Coconut Oil, salt water and produced using a method known as the “hot-process”, in other words, in a “chaudron”. There’s nothing else added; no colourants or essential oils thus resulting in a soap that is naturally gold/green in colour, rustic in appearance with powerful cleaning properties. Let’s now put Savon d’Alep under the microscope. Also known as Aleppo soap, so named after the city in Syria from where it originated centuries ago, its authentic composition is a simple marriage of Olive oil, Bay oil, a little water and, in the 21st century, caustic soda in place of the cinders of the Salicornia, also known as common glasswort, that was used by our ancestors. Bay oil is rarer and more expensive than olive oil, so its percentage has a considerable influence on the price of Aleppo soap hence the majority of Aleppo soap on the market today is manufactured industrially. If you look closely at the label, you may find that the amount of olive oil is drastically reduced to a minimum and is more often than not replaced by cheap palm or coconut oil and as for the quantity of bay laurel oil in the composition, the main source of the beneficial properties of Aleppo soap, there is none! If you are looking to by Aleppo soap locally, ours is guaranteed to contain 25% Bay Oil and 75% Olive oil. Armed with the knowledge on how to make your own washing soda and how to choose your Savon de Marseille or Savon D’Alep, let’s get down to the business of making a natural laundry soap: Recipe 1: Savon de Marseille laundry liquid makes 1L – costs less 4 Euros This liquid detergent scented with fresh and purifying essential oils is ideal for all the family’s laundry. Use 120 ml of laundry liquid per machine load. 750ml tap water 75 grams of grated Savon de Marseille 22.5 grams of your homemade (or bought) washing soda 300 drops (3 teaspoons) Sweet Orange essential Oil or essential oil of your choice 50 drops (1/2 teaspoon) Mandarin essential oil or essential oil of your choice Heat the tap water to around 80º C, dissolve the grated soap in it and leave it to cool. As the mixture

cools, it will thicken. At this point, add your home made (or bought) washing soda and mix together with the aid of a hand blender. It’s OK to do it by hand, but the blender is quicker! Add the essential oils, mix well then decant into a container.

Recipe 2: Laundry powder for your whites makes 735 grams – Use 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 - 60 grams) of laundry powder per machine load. Costs around 3-4 Euros This recipe contains Sodium Percarbonate, a white odourless powder that releases hydrogen peroxide, the whitening agent required to get your whites whiter and removing stains. Despite what you might be thinking, it is 100% natural and ecologically sound. It is widely available from most hardware stores (Droguerie) and is very cheap. The usual cautions for hydrogen peroxide also apply to sodium percarbonate: keep it out of reach of children, etc. 270 grams finely grated Savon d’Alep (Aleppo) 75 grams Sodium Percarbonate (Percarbonate de Soude) 210 grams your homemade (or bought) washing soda 180 grams Baking soda Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix together thoroughly before transferring to your container. You can add a few drops of essential oils into your rinse tray to deliciously scent your linen.

I find that both recipes work well for me and I hope they do for you too! If you are interested to learn how to make many other 100% natural household cleaning products without it costing the earth, 1/2-day courses are run at the Savonnerie throughout the year. By Jacqueline Hurley who is an Artisan Soap Maker based in Caylus, SW France offering an extensive range of handmade soap and bath products as well as a small range of natural face creams, balms and body butters. From her atelier in the basement of her Chambres D’hotes Le Petit Coin de Charme, Jacqueline crafts bespoke orders for weddings, guest houses, B&B’s as well as producing an unusual array of soap that is sold at local markets, from her shop and also through her website. Jacqueline also runs regular soap making workshops for beginners through to professionals and offers residential soap-making holidays between March & October. www.airmeithsavonnerie.co.uk, T: 05.63.26.09.20, airmeithsavonnerie@gmail.com

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


32 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Marvellous Mint

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entha (mint), from the Lamiaceae family, is very easy to grow – in fact, it can be too easy, and is prone to invasiveness, so be careful where you plant it. This hardy perennial herb is a useful addition to the garden, flourishing in both full sun and partial shade, providing effective ground cover, attracting pollinators and offering a multitude of culinary uses as well as having medicinal qualities. Mint is a vigorous plant which will grow to between one and two feet tall, depending on the variety, and young plants placed 2 feet apart will easily grow to fill the gap. Mint thrives in light soil with good drainage, favouring good moisture levels (its native habitat is along stream banks) but tolerating dry soil. It grows in bushy, upright clumps, which benefit from regular harvesting and pruning to prevent sprawling. It is also advisable to prevent the spread of its horizontal runners and underground rhizomes, by planting in a pot, or providing some other form of root barrier. It is shallow-rooted and so is easy to pull out, if it becomes overly dominant. To harvest mint, cut the top leaves first, which will promote growth from the base of the plant. Leaves can be used fresh or dried. To dry them, hang sprigs in bunches somewhere dry, dark and warm, or dry in a dehydrator or the lowest setting of your oven. Prune plants throughout the growing season of spring and summer, removing old stems to encourage young new shoots to grow. At the end of the growing season, in late autumn, when the leaves are yellowing, cut the plants down to the ground. This protects the plant throughout winter, allowing vital energy to be put into the new growth in the following spring. Mint is useful in companion planting, its strong scent repelling insect pests, whilst also attracting beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. The source of its strong scent also provides it with its medicinal and healing properties, with menthol oil delivering antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which help relieve fevers, headaches and digestive upsets such as indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome and an upset stomach. Use it to make mint tea. Or, for a headache, apply a compress of mint leaves to your forehead. Mint also contains the phytonutrient, perillyl alcohol, which can help to prevent colon, lung and skin cancer. Mint’s freshness also makes it appealing in health and beauty products, as mouthwash and breath

freshener, either by making an infusion or simply by chewing on a few leaves. It can also be added to homemade soaps, shampoos, bodywashes and face packs, or just scattered directly into the bath as a bath soak. In addition to cleansing your body, mint can cleanse your home, and you can create air fresheners, pot pourris, and moth repellent fragrant sachets for placing in drawers and wardrobes. Standard mint varieties, such as peppermint and spearmint, are found in most herb gardens, but if you want to opt for something a little different, there are many interesting and unusual varieties to be found, each with their own appearance, scent and flavour. Spearmint, Mentha spicata Spearmint, a classic choice, is worth including. It has a distinctive spearmint taste that one associates with packets of spearmint sweets, and creates a mellow

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THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 33

fresh, juicy strawberries, or make an interesting garnish of strawberry, mint and basil with balsamic vinegar. Orange mint, Mentha x piperita citrata Orange mint is mellow, and doesn’t taste as strongly of oranges as strawberry mint does of strawberries, but it is still very pleasant. It’s nice used as a garnish for cakes or added into jellies. Chocolate mint, Mentha x piperita ‘chocolate’ Chocolate mint tends to be popular, and no surprises there, as it really is very chocolatey. This sweet mint is great for making puddings, for example: mint chocolate mousse; mint chocolate chip ice-cream, and homemade after eights. Menthe rouge, Mentha x smithiana Red Mint is a sweet variety, named after its characteristic red stem. It is a tasty option for salads or for making mint tea. Mentha Spicata (Crispa, Curly Mint) Crispa mint is popular in France. This sweet, curled leaf variety is attractive, making it useful as a garnish, or you can freeze it along with water or mint tea in ice cube trays for fun, pretty ice cubes.

tingle and coolness in the mouth. It’s great as a garnish for ice cold lemonade, or for making your own spearmint flavored mints. Peppermint, Mentha x piperita Peppermint, the other classic mint variety, is a hybrid of spearmint and watermint (an aquatic mint). It has a higher concentration of menthol and has a deeper flavour than spearmint and is cooling and slightly numbing. Add it, finely chopped, with plenty of butter, to new potatoes, or, for a sweet treat, add in fresh leaves as well as (or instead of) mint extract to make peppermint creams.

Mentha x gracilis (Ginger mint) Ginger mint is a cross between spearmint and cornmint (field mint) and has a gingery, slightly bitter taste. It’s a great mint for pairing with dried or fresh root ginger in such dishes as ginger and mint lemonade, hot chocolate and tea. It’s also nice on fresh summer salads such as melon and watermelon. Mojito Mint, Mentha x villosa Mojito mint originates from Cuba and it’s the base of their refreshing cocktail, the eponymous Mojito. It has a fresh, slightly bitter taste, and makes an ideal gift for cocktail loving friends.

John and Debbie (Le Jardin des Espiemonts) 06 44 23 73 65 lejardindesespiemonts@gmail.com

Strawberry mint, Mentha x piperita subsp. Citrata, ‘strawberry’ Strawberry mint is sweeter and has a lovely scent and taste of strawberries. Keep jugs of iced water in the fridge, infused with strawberry mint and cucumber slices, add whole or shredded leaves to succulent bowls Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


34 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Montpon-Ménestérol

(24700)

Located in the Périgord Blanc between the River Isle and La Forêt de La Double, but with the prestigious vineyards of the Gironde temptingly close by. A town of two halves! Montpon on the left bank of the river and Ménestérol on the right. These two communes as well as their annexes of Vauclaire and Montignac, were merged in 1964.

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he River Isle (once an important navigable route) creates a great natural environment for fishing, canoeing or walking or cycling. The Base de Loisirs de Chandos offers riverside bathing, fishing and play areas. Also, on the river the Moulin de Duellas provides an important community hub as well as preserving many of the region’s cultural interests. The town is also home to a famous collection of rare and ancient organs – an important destination for anyone interested in such instruments. Then a little further away, there’s the Chartreuse de Vauclaire, dating from the middle-ages, and with a colourful and varied history. A National Monument (since 2014) it was a hospital for American troops in WW1 and is currently a Psychiatric Hospital. For more information about this lovely little corner of the Périgord see www.tourisme-isleperigord.com

THE ASSOCIATION OF FRIENDS OF THE MONTPON-MÉNESTÉROL-MONTIGNAC ORGANS AND THE FRANCIS CHAPELET FOUNDATION The town of Montpon-Ménestérol benefits from the presence of 10 organs and so it’s not surprising that it’s become known as La Capitale de l’Orgue en Aquitaine.

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uch of the work to rescue, restore and enhance these organs has been led by town resident and International Organist, Francis Chapelet and his father Roger, who was himself the French Navy’s Official Painter. The collection houses some unique treasures, 5 of which are classified as National Monuments. They are housed in churches and chapels but also in an auditorium built by Francis Chapelet which houses some amazing Spanish and Italian examples. Some of which are the oldest of their types in France. Then further examples of ‘house’ organs are kept in Francis Chapelet’s private collection. The Association has an informative website which

provides details of the different organs and their individual histories and technical specifications, as well as details of upcoming events. Space will not allow us to look at all of these ‘works of art’. So, we mention only a few details of the organ found in the church of Saint Pierre at Ménestérol, a 12th century Romanesque church which had become ‘little-used’ before its extraordinarily beautiful organ was added. Francis Chapelet and the Association had been searching for a concert organ for this church. They were able to salvage one from St. Matthew’s Temple at Colmar. This instrument had been built by the organ-builder Valentin Rinckenbach in 1842.

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THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 35

Francis Chapelet

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ince June 2009, the area in front of Ménestérol church has been called ‘L’Esplanade Roger et Francis Chapelet’. The town’s acknowledgement of these two great artists and their local impact. Born in 1934, Francis Chapelet studied the organ at the école César Franck in Paris and later at the Conservatoire de Paris where he won many accolades. In 1964, he was named co-holder of the organ of the Saint-Séverin in Paris, a position held for 20 years (he remains an honorary member). Amongst other achievements he’s the honorary organist of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Rome. He created the organ class of the Conservatoire de Bordeaux and remained in charge until 1996. Francis Chapelet is a specialist in the Spanish organ and has directed the International Academy of Iberian Organ of Castile. He is also a member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. Awards include: Chavalier of the Ordre National du Mérite, Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Francis gives many concerts around the world and remains the artistic counsellor of “L’Association des Amis des Orgues de Montpon-Ménestérol-Montignac”. Francis and his father Roger (himself the official artist of the French Navy) have been instrumental in bringing together a great collection of organs in and around Montpon-Ménestérol. They have secured great organs for local churches, built an auditorium to house further examples and housed a private collection. Their works have ensured that this little corner of the Périgord will forever be known for its organs, recitals and deep understanding of these pieces of musical, church and social history.

www.fundacionfrancischapelet.com

Roger Chapelet painted two pictures, one on either side of the console, a pond from the nearby Forêt de la Double on the left and the church of Ménestérol on the right. Francis enhanced the case with imitation marble and gilding. Work has continued over the years with further decoration, and enhancements to the mechanics.

Galician Organ - saved from a rubbish dump in Castille, Spain and now in the Auditorium

L’orgue de Ménestérol

The Association’s website is www.montpon-les-orgues.fr. Richard Gross - secretaire

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


36 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

La Forêt de la Double

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a Double is a forest of around 50,000 hectares, located west of the Périgord between the River Rizonne to the north and River Isle to the south. This forest has a multitude of streams and about 500 ponds which were created due to the in-permeable soil. This unusual landscape is a very important habitat for many animals and birds. The trees are a mixture of hardwoods and maritime pines and the ground is often marshy. The forest’s ponds, the largest and most often visited is La Jemaye (about 33 hectares), are populated by carp, bream, pike, roach and perch but also several species of protected turtle. Birds that are likely to be seen include, woodpeckers, great crested grebe, herons and woodcocks as well as raptors, such as the tawny owl, hawks, harriers and kite. Resident, mammals, include varieties of deer, boar, squirrel and even the rare European mink. The dark and mysterious nature of the forest has meant it’s always been a hideout for bandits and fugitives. As far back as 732 it became the final resting-place for the Saracen Army, defeated in Poitiers. Then in 768 the Duke of Aquitaine used the forest’s cover before eventually being assassinated there. Further forward in time to WW2, the Germans sought to burn the forest to hamper the Resistance fighters who were using its cover. The forest has, over the centuries, offered a great chance to study the interplay between the environment and human well-being. Its prosperity, its decline and re-generation have been mirrored by the success of its

Emma Elliés

human occupants. Deforestation (at one stage to provide oak for naval ship-building) or burning of this naturally fertile and bountiful land brought misery and disease. The forest historically had its own style of architecture using primarily wood, earth and sometimes stone. The stone was kept for the facades of the wealthier homes. The more typical, half-timber and mud buildings were surrounded by an outer wooden gallery known as a ‘balet’. Fine examples of architecture can be found at the beautifully preserved La Ferme du Parcot. For lovely photographs of some of the nature in the Forest do see https://emmaellies.fr

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THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 37

L’Ennemi de la mort (The Enemy of Death)

Within la Forêt de la Double lies, La Ferme du Parcot. Records show that this farm was owned by the SaintChristophe family in 1579, but it is likely to have been a home for centuries before this. The property was finally owned by Abel Guionneau, who was without heirs of his own. He knew this was one of the last traditional ‘wooden-framed’ buildings (specific to the region) in the forest, so decided to donate the property to public ownership and protect its history forever. Le Conseil Général of the Dordogne became the owner of the site in 2004 and management was passed to the association ‘La Double en Périgord’. The association organise events during the year. Such as: Sat 15 & Sun 16 Sept, Journée du Patrimoine, 10am – 5pm Sun 24 Oct, Journée de la châtaigne + conference, 10am – 5pm Sun 28 Oct, A la chasse aux champignons, from 9.30am Sun 9 Dec, Solstice d’hiver conté, Francis Gervaise, from 1pm La Ferme du Parcot is now protected as a Historical Monument but also as a Picturesque Site. The entire 46 hectares is listed in the Inventory of Picturesque Sites of the Dordogne. The house, the barn, the bread oven and the pond with its ‘pilou’ (traditional wooden sluice system) are listed as Historical Monuments. The whole site is listed as Zone Naturelle d’Intérêt Ecologique, Faunistique et Floristique. This important place is hopefully now preserved for the future and what a valuable resource it is for today. You can find out more about La Ferme du Parcot and upcoming events on their website. www.parcot.org La ferme du Parcot

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ugène Le Roy was born in 1836 in Hautefort in the Périgord. The son of local servants he was placed with a local peasant family. As a child he attended school and became literate. He shunned a possible Clerical life and became a grocer in Paris. Then followed an army career and action in Algeria and Italy, he gained rank but was discharged due to insubordination. He was a radical, anti-church, staunch republican, Free-Mason and bizarrely spent a large part of his life as a tax collector. However, he was to become a writer. His writing was driven by the injustices he saw around him. Child abandonment was a recurring theme (suggest a resentment towards his parents). Amongst he works was the novel L’Ennemi de la mort, (published in 1912 – 6 years after his death) which recalled the struggles of a Doctor Charbonnière, and his fight to control malaria in the Forêt de la Double, which at the time was a swampy, un-healthy and primitive place. The Doctor’s life was miserable and ended badly. Highlighting the reality of life in the forest during periods of history and the ‘dark’ nature of Eugène Le Roy’s writing. He was buried under a ‘tricolore’ but refused the award of the Légion d’honneur in his lifetime. You can read more about this enigmatic and often despairing man at http://espritdepays.com/ dordogne/des-hommes/eugene-roy-ecrivain-engage, where there is a very interesting article by Jean-Françoise Tronel

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


38 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Living in and around the

La Forêt de la Double RURAL GÎTES - CHADENNE The place I always like to start is at the beginning and so the beginning of our story of ‘life in France’ started several miles from where we currently live, in Servanches. We’d rented a disabled friendly gite owned by an English couple who were delightful. We all had a lovely time and I really fell in love with the area and so did our children.

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ervanches has a beautiful old mairie which was, and still is, crumbling and I asked if there was any chance of buying it as a renovation project. I was met with a resounding ‘pas a vendre’ and left to get on with my day! Whilst I was relaying this story to our hosts, Jenny and Julian, they said, ‘well if you are looking for somewhere to buy…’ At which point my husband said ‘No’ and I said ‘Yes’ and the next day we found ourselves driving off to meet friends of theirs who were selling a little place in Chadenne. I fell immediately in love with the place and the peace and the je ne sais quoi.. After coffee and a chat, we discovered that Phil and Suzanne hailed from Cornwall and Phil had even been at the wedding of one of my many cousins a few years before. A small world indeed! We hit it off with them and after some negotiations and some clever accounting on my husband’s part – we became the owners of the fermette that we now call home.

Our eldest son was disabled and so the single storey layout meant that it was easy for him to get about in his wheelchair. We had many happy summers with him and our other two children. We let many friends and family use the house, so it’s built up many happy stories. Fast forward a few years, and sadly Harry is no longer with us and our two other children are grown up and married with their own children, so we had a decision to make. What do we do with our French home now as it needed modernisation? Plus, what about the large barn crying out for some love and attention? Do we make this our ‘grand design’ and rent out the fermette? Decisions, so many decisions, so we searched on line for an architect, and met with Neil Vesma based in Villereal. He gave us lots of sound advice and developed some amazing plans. For a further 3 years he bore with us whilst we debated if we were going to commit to a full-time life in France.

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THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 39

We needed to work out how to we could achieve this and importantly when was the best time to make a move. Phil, from whom we’d bought the house, told us that he felt he’d moved too late and urged us not to do the same. So, after many discussions, then selling the family home to fund the project and a few sleepless nights we were finally committed to the renovation project. That was 2 years ago and after a successful renovation project led by project manager, Peter Jarvis and architect, Neil Vesma, I’m now permanently resident en France. I run our 3 self-catering gîtes during the summer months and our residential courses in the slightly cooler months. Our courses are ‘Taste of France’ which showcases regional foods and wines. Our partners Manna from Devon (www.mannafromdevon. com) then turn the bounty into delicious-food cooked on site. Then from summer 2019 we will be running ‘An Abstract View of France’, which brings together, abstract artist Sally Coulden and photographer Jonathon Bowcott to work with local ceramicist Jo McKinnon on a relaxing week of art and photography. I will, of course, be ensuring that they are all well-fed with home cooked meals and cakes. We are also working with award winning gardener Jill Foxley from the Perfumed Garden now based locally to develop the site into a beautiful garden where we can hold courses and participate in the Open Gardens scheme here in France. I am also working on plans to perhaps open a comfortable dog hotel!

It’s been a journey of decision making, money raising, planning and agonising over whether this is the right things to do. I am working away from my children for the greater part of the year and with a new grandson and my mother getting older this can make me feel a bit sad. On the other hand, I am enormously grateful to my husband for having faith in the project and making it happen, and also to our wonderful French neighbours who’ve welcomed and supported our project, even when on occasion it’s disturbed the tranquillity. I am completely in love with our home here and the barn seems to have embraced what has happened to it. Our guests seem to like it and I am completely in love. Every day I pinch myself because I’m truly living the dream!

Annette Marshall, Chadenne, 24700, Saint-Barthélemy-de-Bellegarde www.ruralgites.com. Rural Gites

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


40 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Le Moulin de Duellas This year we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Moulin de Duellas first opening to the public. That’s why 20 events are planned between April and October 31. gabare) to the river island travelling through the lock. It’s a boat trip with commentary where you’ll discover the local flora and fauna as well as the history of the river. Please book for this trip. A guided tour of the mill is also possible for groups of over 15 people, when the history of the mill will be explained. This visit is free, and you will be able to see part of the flour mill as well as the adjacent bourgeoisstyle house and its sawmill. There’s a restaurant located next to the mill called ‘Le Duellas’ where you can enjoy great local produce. This restaurant is opened 7 days a week and its staff look forward to welcoming you.

What’s on at the Moulin?

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he Moulin de Duellas offers exhibitions of paintings, photos and sculptures with free admission from May to September. The Moulin de Duellas is well known for its gabare named ‘Le Duellas’ and to celebrate its 20th anniversary of navigation, we propose boat trips (in this

On Sunday, September 16th, for ‘Heritage Day’, the Nordack association will present its free show ‘Hommes et Femmes du Landais’ from 4:30 pm. An Autumn Fête will take place on Sunday, October 21st, at the Duellas Mill’s site from 10 am to 6 pm. There will be a craft and gourmet market, caterers will be in attendance and you can try our famous pumpkin soup, typical of the region and home-made! Both young and old will be able to enjoy themselves with a selection of wooden games, listen the “Petits Contes

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THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 41

Restaurant

Le Duellas 05 53 82 59 81

sasc.l.m@hotmail.com Retrouvez nous sur facebook

Pour les Enfants du Pays de Beleyme Le Bourg 24140 Montagnac-la-Crempse 09 72 58 24 22 beleymenature@gmail.com www.beleymenature.org

au Fil de l’Eau” presented by the JOB theater, an exchange of seeds and other activities. On Wednesday, October 31st, for Halloween, you can watch the show ‘Le Retour du grand (pas si) Méchant Loup’ and join in a mask-making workshop arranged by ‘L’Escargot dans les Orties’.

The association ‘Pour les Enfants du Pays de Beleyme’ is dedicated to environmental education. It also arranges work experience in the field of conservation and management. Based at the Moulin de Duellas, all year, the association offers practical classes about the local flora and fauna as well as maintaining the gardens and research pond. During the summer free activities are arranged for visitors to the site, including those arriving on the ‘gabarre’ boat. Every year at the Moulin’s Autumn Fête, the association runs a stall for the exchange of seeds and offering general gardening information. During the Autumn Fête several environmental based workshops are offered, free of charge, including land art, knowing your plants and plants dyes.

You will find more information on www.moulin-duellas.fr and you can contact us: 05.53.82.39.54. Remember, especially for the boat trips, booking is required. Everyone at Le Moulin looks forward to welcoming you! Moulin du Duellas - 24700 St-Martial-d’Artenset www.moulin-duellas.fr Moulin et gabare du Duellas Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


42 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Facteur d’Orgues!

After finding out about the lovely organs in and around Montpon-Ménestérol we wondered a little about the men who constructed these ‘one-off’ masterpieces. Then Richard Gross who is secretary of Les Amis des Orgues kindly produced the French page for this edition on this very subject. Below is a brief translation in English.

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acteur d’orgues! A somewhat archaic term that dates from the Middle Ages. He’s simply a craftsman that builds organs, restores them and maintains them. Like a luthier who builds stringed instruments, an organ builder is a craftsman and an artist as his work must be a work of art. A master organ builder must acquire different skills: • Music – to allow him to try and test the organs rather like a piano tuner. • Technical and theoretical – knowledge of the construction and function of the organ, including historical and geographical differences. The first requirement is to be a very good cabinetmaker and to be able to design and build the organ case and all the parts required for a complete organ. Just like an architect he must know how to draw (to scale) the different parts and particularly how to design the instrument to fit the intended space. Even when a beautiful and technically sound instrument has been designed, the most important thing to consider is the sound it will produce. For this, the organ builder must have a good ear so as to ensure the pipes sing in tune. This harmonisation must allow for the different acoustics that will surround the finished instrument. The final sound produced by an organ identifies its builder. Until the 18th century many organ builders were itinerant craftsmen; they moved from place to place building instruments. Usually taking their family with them for the period of construction. Only a few major organ builders already had permanent workshops in a city. Originally the organ cases had to be built by local cabinetmakers as the organ builder had not right to ply this trade (laws regarding the protection of trades were strictly upheld).

Quelques termes techniques en anglais: Facteur d’orgues: Organ builder Buffet: Organ case or Case. Tuyaux d’orgues: Pipes Sommiers: Windchest Soufflets: Bellows Claviers: Keyboards Mécanique: Action Jeux – Registres: Draw Stops or Stops. Accorder: Tuning

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THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 43

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n terme quelque peu archaïque qui nous vient du moyen âge; C’est tout simplement l’artisan qui construit les orgues, les restaure et les entretient. Au même titre que le luthier qui construit les instruments à cordes, le facteur d’orgues est un artisan mais également un artiste car ce qu’il construit doit être une œuvre d’art. Un maître facteur d’orgues doit acquérir de nombreuses connaissances : • Musicales élémentaires lui permettant d’essayer un instrument et de faire une partition (comme un accordeur de piano). • Techniques et théoriques de la construction et du fonctionnement de l’orgue, de ses caractéristiques aux différentes époques et dans différents pays. Le premier métier du facteur, c’est être un très bon ébéniste (savoir travailler le bois) pour pouvoir concevoir et construire le Buffet (Ce grand meuble qui renferme toutes les parties de l’instrument), la mécanique, les sommiers, les soufflets, les tuyaux... Tel un architecte il doit savoir dessiner, les différentes parties de l’orgue, concevoir le type de buffet en tenant compte du lieu dans lequel il va être placé (Du mobilier existant, autels, retables; stalles etc.) afin que l’orgue s’insère harmonieusement dans l’édifice même s’il s’agit d’une salle de concert. Il indique sur un plan coté, la place des différents éléments de l’instrument. Il prévoit les familles de timbres que l’orgue devra contenir et doit savoir construire les tuyaux de bois et de métal. Mais même s’il construit un très bel instrument tant dans sa partie visible que technique, la chose la plus importante est la conception du son. Pour ce, il doit être un bon Harmoniste (celui qui fait chanter les tuyaux harmonieusement et juste). Il fait parler les tuyaux compte tenu de l’acoustique du lieu dans laquelle va sonner son instrument. Les différentes familles de tuyaux (ou jeux ou registres) doivent pouvoir se mélanger harmonieusement. C’est au son de l’orgue que l’on pourra reconnaître le facteur d’orgues. Jusqu’au 18ème siècle de nombreux facteurs d’orgues étaient des artisans itinérants ; il se déplaçait dans les lieux où il devait construire un instrument et venait avec sa famille et quelques compagnons et y restait durant le temps nécessaire pour la construction. Seuls quelques grands facteurs avaient déjà des ateliers à demeure dans une ville. A l’époque les buffets étaient construits par un ébéniste du lieu car les facteurs n’avaient pas le droit de les construire eux -mêmes. (Les artisans devaient respecter les

lois concernant les différents corps de métier). Depuis le 19ème siècle, les facteurs créèrent des Manufactures d’orgues composées d’un nombre plus ou moins important de compagnons. Chacun a sa spécialité : les ébénistes construisent le buffet, les claviers et les sculptures et décorations diverses ; les facteurs construisent les sommiers, la mécanique, les soufflets et les tuyaux de bois ; les tuyautiers construisent les tuyaux en métal. Le maître facteur s’occupe de la conception et la plupart du temps de l’harmonisation et c’est également lui qui s’occupe à trouver les orgues à construire et représente son entreprise. Richard GROSS

Vous aussi, vous pouvez nous faire part de vos billets d’humeur, de vos intérêts associatifs ou caritatifs, nous parler de votre ville ou de votre passion .... Alors, à vos stylos pour notre prochaine édition de Decembre : nous attendons vos textes en français !

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


44 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Oysters

know your facts, they’ll soon be everywhere

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rance is the world’s largest producer of oysters and consumes domestically about 95% of its own crop. The remainder being eaten by its immediate European neighbours; 70% of this annual French consumption takes place during the Christmas and New Year period. During this time it’s hard to miss the boxes of them piled high in all the supermarkets. I suspect that the world’s population divides pretty neatly into two categories, those that have and those that haven’t tried eating oysters! Maybe there’s also room also for a category for those that have tried but wouldn’t do so again! As divisive as their appeal seems to be there’s something about this peculiar looking food source that has allowed it to continue to be served up for thousands of years. Oysters may be seafood but for them there’s no bobbing about on sea-beds; in reality they’re simply static water-filters. Their young, which are simply tiny dots, cling to something static in the water and remain stationary whilst they grow. They’ve no method of propulsion or brain to assist them. Whilst clinging they filter up to 8 litres of water an hour to feed off plankton. It can take up to 4 years for an oyster to mature and so there is a considerable amount of clinging and filtering done! This uncomplicated, self-contained creature is also (ironically for a reported aphrodisiac) a hermaphrodite, reproducing only with itself. As far back as Roman-times oysters were simply harvested from the sea. Their popularity meant that

By A Atkinson

by the 17th century their numbers were so reduced that consumption of them was banned during any month without an ’r’ in its name. This seasonal abstinence has often been associated with possible health issues in warmer months, whereas it was, in fact, an early attempt at conservation. There are two main types of French oysters. Firstly the Ostrea edulis known locally as Belon or Gravettes, ‘flat’ (plates) oyster which are still produced in very particular locations on the northern French coast; they are difficult to cultivate and so remain the most expensive oyster. Then secondly there’s the Crassostrea gigas ‘cupped’ (creuses) oyster. The former variety was all but wiped out in the nineteenth century by a parasite. A different strain was then introduced (allegedly) from the sinking of a Portuguese sailing ship off South West France in 1868. However, in 1970 parasites struck again and the oyster population on the French coast was virtually decimated. French producers now tend to use a Japanese variety. Producers encourage the young oysters to attach themselves to their submerged supports and these immature oysters are then left for between 2 to 3 years to mature. Then they’re lifted from their place at sea and finished in the producers’ own salt-water ponds also known as ‘claires’. Before being taken (alive) to the shops and markets oysters must spend a minimum of 24 hours in controlled, clean water. Production is geared for consumption in the winter months when the oyster is more rewarding

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THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 45

Expat Citizen Rights in EU - ‘ECREU’ ECREU is a lobby and self-help group set up to make sure your rights are foremost in the minds of those negotiating your future within the EU. We are working to get British MPs and Brussels representatives on your side and willing to state your case in any discussions and negotiations resulting from the UK’s decision to leave the EU. So if you are concerned for your wellbeing as an expat citizen living in another EU country after Brexit, you will not be alone.

You can join ECREU (no charge) at www.ecreu.com to eat; as it will have stopped circulating water and have the maximum bodily stores of glycogen (ready to get it through the winter). Some producers have developed ways (including sterilization and genetic modification) of adapting the oysters’ life cycle and its subsequent seasonal availability. Much of this is frowned upon by the traditional oyster producer. As with most things French and ‘gastronomy’ there are rules and complications. Getting to know your oysters is rather like getting to know your wines! Much depends on the shallow claires. You may find oysters labelled as ‘huîtres fines de claire’ these are oysters which have been finished in small salt ponds for at least a month before harvesting, at a density of twenty oysters per m2. Whereas, ‘huîtres spéciales de claire’ means they have been finished in salt ponds for at least two months at a density of ten oysters per m2. Or you could find the ‘huîtres spéciales pousse en claire’ which has languished for at least four months at a density of between only five and ten oysters per m2. Finally, there is the plain ‘huîtres fines’ with a simple rating (between 6.5 and 10.5) based on the weight of their meat and liquor contained within their shells. Normandy oysters can often have more meat as they are not finished in the less salty claires before harvesting. Instead, muscle growth is encouraged as they’re moved gradually into shallower water, ending up virtually dry when the tide is low. As well as these grades there are also five sizes, the weight range in each of the five sizes is fixed annually by the French and can vary. Weight limits are generally set higher following a good growing season than after a poor one, but grade 1 oysters are typically about 100 g, and grade 5 are 35-40 g. With all the filtering they perform, these small creatures are susceptible to absorbing pollution,

including heavy metals. So it is vital that they are produced in clean and tested waters. As they are largely eaten raw it is important to know the provenance of the oysters you buy. Only ever eat an oyster that is firmly closed or that closes when you tap it – an open oyster is dead and should be discarded. As well as considering where an oyster has come from it’s important to think about how long they’ve been out of the water. It’s possible for an oyster to live for about 17 days after harvesting, but at this end of the scale it may not be the best experience. The fresher the better! Opening an oyster (shucking) has to be done with care. Firstly scrub off any loose grit and then hold in a towel or oven glove. It is not advisable to use a normal knife as the risk of injury is just too high. Oyster knives are blunter and are worth the investment. Some people have been known to use a flat headed screwdriver but really a couple of euro to buy a knife seems like a solid investment. Most oyster aficionados insist that they’re best eaten raw, with maybe freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice or perhaps a drop of Tabasco sauce. However they can also be steamed, grilled or even poached, and they make an excellent seasonal canapé. For the more adventurous, oysters can be battered in tempura, simmered into a sauce to serve with robust flavours such as beef or pork. Historically when crops were more plentiful oysters were used to bulk out the meat for pies and stews. Whether you fit into the ‘have’ or ‘haven’t’ camp when it comes to oyster eating, it’s hard to argue against the huge volumes of ripe oysters eaten every season here in France. So maybe served with a crisp cold wine they offer a lighter and refreshing interlude to seasonal game, poultry, ham and red wines, particularly over the this coming holiday season.

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


46 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Tasting the lot

harvest festivals Les Vendanges, and some ‘harvest’ goodies When I was a child growing up near Stratford upon Avon, I loved the Harvest Suppers in our village of Charlecote. A National Trust village where everything was locked in a time-gone-by. I loved it. Food, dancing, drinking (my first-ever wine was from a bottle of Chianti with a raffia base), my father swigging from the bottle and pretending to be from a foreign land! My Ma making amazing meat pies with the other ladies in the village.

O

ur harvest supper was held after we’d helped the local farmer with harvesting whatever was in the field behind our house. The worst year ever was the potatoes! It really was by hand and this was only the early 70s, so, I am sure someone had a harvesting machine, but they wanted it to be authentic! I certainly remember it. Now I’ve moved to France, I still love being involved in harvests, though mainly nowadays it’s just grapes. After my scavenging following the harvest of plums, apples and grapes from our local farm; I still feel the need for a giant meal to celebrate. Harvest traditions in France are pretty much the same as the UK, thought now it is only blood-members of a family that can officially work for free, everyone else must be paid. A cooked meal is not classed as payment! If you interested in attending a grape harvest, this is a good website to check out agricultural jobs on www.anefa-emploi.org.

There’s a different name for the harvesting of grapes, it is called Les vendanges. This year it should be the last week of September. So, go carefully on the road as there might have juice and skins spilt on them! Have patience when following a tractor from now until October, a whole year’s work relies on safely gathering in the crop! I’ve a few delicious recipes to share perfect for harvest time. Easy to make and easy to carry into the vineyard for a quick snack. In the next 2 months there are many harvest fêtes to visit. Keep an eye on my facebook page for places to visit. The walnut, cèpe and chestnut festivals are superb places to eat and meet! Happy Harvesting to you all!

Luci Cox

www.tasting-the-lot.com

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THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 47

Fruit Pie with Walnut Pastry

Ingredients – Walnut Pastry 200g Plain Flour, 100g Caster Sugar, 100g Butter, 50ml water, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 40g Chopped walnuts Ingredients – Filling 5 Large apples, you could use pears, plums or quince, Sugar Syrup, 50g Caster sugar, 300ml water Method Crack the eggs and separate the yolks. Make a ring of flour on your chopping board. Put the butter, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon and water in the centre of the circle and mush it all together with your hands. Gradually draw the flour into the mush, flicking it in a bit at a time until the whole thing is mixed together well. It will seem quite wet but don’t worry about it. Mix in the chopped walnuts. Pop the whole lot in some cling film, wrap it up and put it in the fridge for an hour or so. Peel and quarter the fruit of choice and carefully cut the cores out. Put the water and sugar into a pan and bring it to the boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes or so until it goes

Chestnut Muffins or Petite Cakes

a bit glossy. Put the fruit quarters in the sugar solution and simmer for about 4 minutes. Remove from the liquid and set aside on some kitchen paper to dry and cool. After an hour, take the dough out of the fridge. It should be slightly firmer. On a floured chopping board roll out two thirds the dough into a circle with a rolling pin until it is the right size to fit the tart dish. Carefully lift the rolled-out dough by rolling it round the rolling pin and lifting it – if it’s sticky, put some flour on the rolling pin. Lay the dough onto the tart dish and press down gently so it fits the dish snugly. Don’t worry if the edges aren’t neat, you can either trim it and patch it or leave it as it is for that home-made look. Now put the fruit quarters in the dish in a circle with the thinner end towards the middle in a wheel shape. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F. Roll out the remaining third of the dough in a circle until it’s the right size to fit over the top of the pears and reach the edge. Stamp out a 3-inch circle in the middle of the dough (I used the end of a tin of beans, pressed into the middle of the dough). Now lift the ring of pastry and put it over the pears. Fold the edges of the dough that’s lining the dish over the edge of the top layer of dough. Brush the dough with the egg white you reserved in a cup earlier – this will make it shiny when cooked. Put the whole thing into the pre-heated oven for 30/35 minutes until it is golden brown. Sprinkle some sugar over the top and serve it hot or cold with cream or ice cream. You can use fancy silicone moulds or fairy cake tins! Ingredients 250g chestnut cream (available in all supermarkets in pretty tins!) 2 eggs, 40 g (3 tbsp) butter, 1 pinch of fleur de sel, 100 g almond flour Method Preheat the oven to 160°C (320F). Melt the butter in a pan and set aside. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Mix the egg yolks and the chestnut cream together, then add the melted butter and almond flour, mixing well between each addition. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gently fold the egg whites into the previous mix. Butter the muffin or cake tins, then fill to the 3/4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


48 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

Apple and Quince Harvest Cake

Ingredients 3 large apples, 1 large quince or 2 small ones, 175g butter plus extra for greasing, 2 eggs, 180g soft brown sugar, 100g blanched almonds, processed to breadcrumb texture, 2 lemons, 85g self-raising flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 50g almond flakes Method Peel, core and roughly chop the apples and quince. Put the fruit into an oven-proof dish and cover with 50g of brown sugar as well as the zest and juice of a lemon. Bake at 180oC until the pieces are soft but not quite broken down. Cream together 150g of butter with 150g of soft brown sugar. Transfer to a bowl and beat in 2 eggs, one at a time. Add the blanched almonds and flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture. Mix the fruit in. Put the mixture in a greased, lined baking dish. For those who want specifics – about a 20cm dish will do. Bake for 30 minutes. In the meantime, melt 30g of butter with 25g of brown sugar in a pan, plus juice of a second lemon. Add almond flakes. Remove cake from the oven and spread mixture over top of the cake. Put back in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes longer, until brown. Leave to cool and then cut into pieces. Delicious.

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Tel: 0044 7841e-mail: 220 980 jayseabea@hotmail.com Email: jayseabea@hotmail.com www.fourgonconlusions.co.uk www.fourgonconclusions.co.uk The Périgord Local • September - November 2018 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Périgord Local


50 • THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL

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F

ollowing the great success of the Spring Market held at Lavercantiere at the end of April, CSF Dordogne Est & Lot are organising an autumn market to be held on the 27th October 2018. The Halloween and Autumn market will take place at L’Espace Maurice Faure, Prayssac from 10.00 until 16.00 There will be the usual stalls of Local Crafts, Plants and Second-Hand Books, although this time at the Book Stall we are aiming to have books for all ages, adults, children and even bedtime books for babies!! There will also be a stall of hard-to-obtain British products, in time for the Christmas festivities. It may seem a long way away, but Christmas really is just around the corner, so take advantage of our stall of Christmas Cards and Christmas Decorations. Get in ahead of the rush!! Or try your luck at the Tombola – who knows – the perfect Christmas gift might be there for you. In addition, there’ll be a Raffle, with some enticing prizes including a signed copy of the latest Bruno Chief of Police novel by the renowned author Martin Walker.

There really will be something for everyone. Why not enter our Pumpkin Carving Competition? Both adults and children can have a go at it – just bring along your carved pumpkin. You can make it scary or funny or perhaps a bit of both!! And just for the kids – we have a fancy-dress competition – with judging at 3pm. Think of it as a dress rehearsal before Halloween for their Trick or Treat costumes!! Our ‘dream team’ who did the catering at the Spring Fair will be in attendance and tea and cakes will be available all day. There will also be hot sausages and bacon from La Saucisserie and fish and chips from Cod en Bleu. So, come along and support our CSF Association which provides help and support to English speaking people living in France touched by cancer. Should you wish to apply for a stall or would like to donate to any of the CSF Stalls – plants, books, British Produce, Tombola or Raffle prizes please contact - Janet Whyte; Delot-vice-treasurer@ cancersupportfrance.org. We will also be giving a donation to La Ligue Contre Le Cancer.

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THE PÉRIGORD LOCAL • 51

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info@leggett.fr www.leggettfrance.com Tel: +33(0)5 53 56 62 54 Head Office: 42 Rue de Ribérac 24340 La Rochebeaucourt France

Published March, May, July, September and December each year The Périgord Local • September - November 2018


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The Périgord Local Issue 4 September-November 2018  

The free regional magazine for the ‘English speaking’ people, their businesses & the limitless culture of the ancient Périgord region of Fra...

The Périgord Local Issue 4 September-November 2018  

The free regional magazine for the ‘English speaking’ people, their businesses & the limitless culture of the ancient Périgord region of Fra...