Gastronomy

The goose dominates the gastronomy of Perigord and, in particular, the duck (Riberac is known as the capital of Foie Gras), but very fresh seafood is also widely enjoyed in the region. The Dordogne department is the largest producer of strawberries in France and also grows more walnuts than any other (or did until the storm of 27th December 1999, when around 20% of the walnut trees were blown down). For the affluent, autumn and early winter are the wild mushroom and truffle seasons.

There are far too many restaurants, locally, to list here. The vast majority are good and a fair number are excellent. Value for money is extraordinary - there are at least four restaurants in Riberac alone, which produce a very acceptable lunch menu from 14 euros. For a 4/5 course dinner including wine, expect to pay 35 euros upwards.

We have, of course, our own favourites, which we will happily share.

France has the lowest rate of vegetarianism in Europe (1%). It is,therefore hardly surprising that they have adopted a simple approach to vegetarians - they just ignore them. Don't despair - there are a few establishments locally who are happy to do vegetarian meals with a bit of notice.

Incidentally, to the French, a vegetarian is someone who doesn't eat meat, so fish is often included on 'vegetarian' menus. Also, 'vegetable' soups are often as not made with chicken stock.

Wine

The principal wine of the region is the Bergerac - red, dry white and rose. In addition there are two well kept secrets here - the sweet white Montbazillac dessert wine (delicious with foie gras) and the powerful Pecharment reds.

These local wines are all excellent value for money. Some visitors in the past have made an enjoyable day's outing to the neighbouring Bordeaux regions of Pomerol and St Emillion. Tasting can be lengthy affairs, so take a non sampling driver!