For anyone looking for a slow pace of life, somewhere where there is no choice but to relax then the Dordogne Valley is the perfect answer. In Martel, we stayed at the Relais Sainte-Anne which is one of those hotels, although only three star, which is a real find. The owners are a young couple. He is the chef and she looks after the hotel. We were greeted on arrival by three dogs which made my day. It is located in a former girl’s school, and all the rooms are different. There is a gorgous outdoor heated swimming pool. You need a car to get around but for a weekend away, it is ideal and very romantic.
Foodies will be in their element in the Dordogne, unless worried about calories, as fois gras and duck tends to dominate the menus. Rather than following a ‘wine’ route, the area promotes the ‘nut’ route, with field of walnuts which are grown here in quantity. I tasted the most delicious nut tart at Le Cantou restaurant in the pretty red village of Collonges La Rouge where the buildings are red because of the iron in the surrounding rocks. The restaurant kindly gave me their recipe.
Mix together 1/2 litre of liquid cream, two eggs, 200 grammes of powder sugar, and 200 grammes of crushed (into very small pieces) walnuts. Turn into a shallow baking tin and cook in the oven for 1/2 hour at 200º centigrade.
There is also an alcholic nut drink which is made locally and, as I understand it, only sold locally. Served very cold from the freezer, it is both an aperitif and after dinner drink. A drizzle also livens up vanilla ice-cream.
A more detailed feature that I wrote on the Dordogne can be found on the www.JustAboutTravel.net website.