Walnuts & cheese



The Dordogne Valley is the largest producer of walnuts in France and the cultivation of this tasty delight is an integral part of the region’s cultural and farming history. Four main varieties (Marbot, Corne, Granjean and Franquette) are grown here, protected by an AOP (Protected Designation of Origin) label that guarantees high quality standards. They are also very healthy, rich in fibre, Omega 3 and Omega 6, vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and manganese. Accompanying many a dish and delicious in every way – walnut oil drizzled on a salad, kernels roasted or caramelised, dipped in sugar or chocolate, made into ice-cream or even as an aperitif called Vin de Noix… www.noixduperigord.com

Curious walnut amateurs are invited to meet the producers and visit mills, distilleries, restaurants as well as farm- inns involved in its cultivation by following La Route de la Noix. This route also leads to the walnut museum Les 4 Demoiselles in Saillac, presenting a complete history of the walnut since its introduction by the Romans. www.4demoiselles.fr

Also not to be missed are some traditional walnut mills like Le Moulin à Huile de Noix in Martel where they still grind the walnuts into tasty oil and serve it at the farm inn. The Castagné family has been running it for six generations.

The last three have been making walnut oil from the mill built in 1870.




Small, round and very tasty, this famous goats cheese has been made here since the 15th century from the animals farmed on the plateaus surrounding the sacred city of Rocamadour. 40 million of these 35g cheeses are produced each year. This AOP (Protected Designation of Origin) delicacy made from non-pasteurized milk is soft and creamyand, depending on the length of ageing, can have a milder or stronger taste. Used in various recipes, it is often served with a drop of honey or warm in a salad with walnuts. Even better when accompanied by aglass of local red.


A visit to the Borie d’Imbert farm, 3km from Rocamadour, is a great way to discover the production process and for children to witness the milking and stroke the goats. www.laboriedimbert.com



The annual cheese festival of Rocamadour takes place every spring on Pentecost Sunday. At centre stage are the goats and the RocamadourAOP cheese but artisanal cheesemongers from other parts of France sell a huge

variety of cheeses here too. Starting early with the blessing of the flock, the festival carries on with all sorts of family friendly activities, a countryside lunch and a charming celebration of one of France’s quintessential delicacies. www.visit-dordogne-valley.co.uk



The Romans were the first to plant apple orchards in this region and they have flourished particularly well in the soils of the high Limousin. In the ‘50s the ‘Golden Blossom’ apple variety became particularly successful. So much so that its excellent taste have been awarded an AOP (Protected Designation of Origin) certification. The only apple variety in France with this classification, Limousin apples grown in and around the Lubersac-Pompadour area have also recently been awarded the prestigious label ‘Site Remarquable du Goût’. Growers in this area have committed to an ecological ‘zero pesticides’ policy. Tasting visits and picking fruit straight off the tree in season is possible at the Soleil Limousin orchards.




Near Terrasson and the famous Jardins de l’Imaginaire, the Moulin de Maneyrol specialises in the pressing of walnuts to extract the oil.


In Vézac the Moulin de Trel offers guided tours of the walnut oil production process. www.perigordnoir.com

The century old La Vie Contée mill, near the village of Ligneyrac, produces excellent walnut oil near the castle of the former Viscount of Turenne.