Cuisine Périgourdine - Dining in the Four Colors of the Dordogne-Perigord.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman


The four regions of Périgord-Dordogne are divided by color
 on local maps.
Map courtesy of the Comité du Tourisme de la Dordogne

The Dordogne- Périgord

The Dordogne is a department in the administrative region of Nouvelle Aquitaine. During the French revolution, the old province of Périgord became the department of the Dordogne; the borders of the new department and the ancient province being practically identical. However, despite the two-hundred years that have passed since the name was changed, Dordogne's residents still call the area Périgord and call themselves Périgourdins. Long after the department of Dordogne came into being, the Périgourdin promoters divided the province into four regions using colors that describe the geography of each region.

Château de Biron,
Photograph courtesy of Renaud Camus

Cuisine Périgourdine

Cuisine  Périgourdine is one of France's most significant regional cuisines, and Périgourdine dishes will be on menus all over France. As the Cuisine of Périgord developed, each of the colored regions shown above claimed bragging rights for particular specialties. However, good recipes are shared, and the dishes noted in this post will be on menus all over Périgord. If, in this post, I have given a particular region unwarranted honors, then I hope the others will forgive me.

Périgord Blanc -White Périgord

White Périgord is the central region of Périgord and home to the city of Périgueux, which is the Préfecture, the departmental capital of the Dordogne/Périgord. The city of Périgueux is considered the creative heart of Cuisine Périgourdine.  Périgord Blanc took its name from its exposed limestone cliffs. The River Isle runs through the region, and the City of Périgueux and the River Auvézère runs through part of the area.

Farmers' market in Périgueux.


On the menu in Périgord Blanc:

Salade Périgourdine - Salade Périgourdine is probably the most famous duck salad in all of France, usually served as a cold entrée, the French starter; occasionally, it may be served as a light lunch.  This duck salad is served on lettuce or other salad greens with a vinaigrette dressing and traditionally duck gizzard confit constitutes the chief duck ingredient; however, that can vary with the chef and the price you will pay. Slices of smoked duck breast may be added and as the restaurant moves upscale, pate de foie gras, a pate of fattened duck's liver, may join the list of ingredients.


Salade Périgourdine au foie-gras

Photograph courtesy of Trip Advisor


Filet de Bœuf  Grillé Sauce Périgueux  A grilled fillet steak served with Sauce Périgueux. The fillet is the most tender and expensive of all beef cuts; however, it is not the tastiest, for that you need an entrecote. In France, however, you can have the best of all worlds as all beef fillets will be served with a sauce. Sauce Périgueux is a rich sauce made with the truffe Périgourdine, the black Périgord truffles, and Madeira wine,       with the herbs used depending on the chef. There is only one, even more famous dish served with truffles and a Madeira wine sauce, and that is the Tournedos Rossini. That dish was created in Paris, but its black truffles and foie gras, fattened goose liver, certainly came from Périgord. To order your steak in France cooked the way you like it, click here.


Fillet of Beef Sauce Périgueux.
Photograph courtesy of hegyessy.    

On the menu in Périgord Blanc:


Salade Périgourdine -A salad in the manner of the province of Périgord. This salad is a cold entrée, the French starter. It is a duck salad served on lettuce or other salad greens with a vinaigrette dressing. Traditionally duck gizzard confit constitutes the chief ingredient; however, that can vary with the chef and the price you will pay. Slices of smoked duck breast may be added and as the restaurant moves upscale pate de foie gras, a pate of fattened duck's  liver, may join the list of ingredients.


Cassoulet Périgourdine -  Cassoulets are substantial and filling heavy winter stews, and the Cassoulet Périgourdine is one of France’s most famous. As may be expected, its ingredients honor duck or goose. This hearty stew will include a stuffed neck of a goose or a duck, flageolet beans, duck confit, and garlic sausage and tomatoes.


The geese of Perigord
Photograph courtesy of Simon Bonaventure


Charlotte aux Fraises du Périgord – A strawberry Charlotte made with the abundantly cultivated strawberries of White Périgord. A strawberry Charlotte is made with sponge cake or ladyfingers placed around the layers of strawberries and custard or whipped cream; it will be served chilled.  White Périgord is the center of strawberry cultivation in Périgord and the variety and tastes will amaze you. After tasting a few you will understand why 20% of all French strawberries come from Périgord.


A Strawberry Charlotte turned into a birthday cake.

Photograph courtesy Kim Hyeyoung


The original Charlotte was created by Antonin Carême, France's most famous 18th-century chef, and the undisputed master of French patisserie. In 1815, after the fall of Napoleon I, Antonin left France and became the Chef de Cuisine to the Prince Regent of England, the son of the Mad King George. Antonin often named new dishes after his employer's family, and when he created this dish, he called it after Prince George's mother, Sophia Charlotte. In 1819 Antonin became the chef of Czar AlexanderII, and there he created another Charlotte, the Charlotte Russe. The Charlotte Russe was created to honor Czar's sister-in-law Charlotte; Princess Charlotte was married to the Czar's brother Nikolai. Charlotte Russe, Russian Charlotte, is similar to the original Charlotte but filled with Bavarian cream and decorated with whipped cream rosettes. 


There is a possibility that I am wrong in assigning the name Charlotte to Princess Sophia Charlotte. My great-great-grandmother was also called Charlotte; however, I admit that I have no proof that she ever met Antonin.

La Roque Gageac, one of the most beautiful villages in France.
It is nestled against one of the limestone cliffs of Périgord Blanc.

Périgord Vert - Green Périgord

Périgord Vert is covered with chestnut forests and green valleys. Green Périgord is named for its verdant hills and valleys in an area crisscrossed by many streams and rivers. The Dronne Valley were the Rive Dronne passes through should not be missed.

Châtaignes - Chestnuts.
Photograph courtesy of Otto Phokus

On the menu in Périgord Vert:

Tourain Blanchi or Tourain Perigourdin – The garlic soup of Perigord. A velvety, mild, garlic soup flavored with goose or duck fat, thyme, sage, and a hint of wine vinegar. This soup is usually served over a slice or two of French bread. With slight variations in the recipe, this soup will be on menus all over the South-West of France.


Cou d'Oie Farci – A goose's neck stuffed with goose meat and depending on the chef, the season, and, of course, the price, it may be made with added foie gras and truffles or just chestnuts.


Blanc de Turbot Roti Gnocchi a la Farine de Châtaigne - A filet of roasted turbot, served with gnocchi made with chestnut flour. With so many chestnuts in Périgord, many excellent chestnut dishes were created.


Roasted turbot.

Photograph courtesy of Mike_fleming


Cuisse de Canard Confite dans sa Graisse aux Cèpes – Duck’s legs confit cooked with porcini mushrooms.

Duck legs confit with mushrooms.

Périgord Noir, Black Périgord.

Black Périgord is in the southeast of the Dordogne and famous for its dense forests, including chestnut forests. The Dordogne and Vézère Rivers run through this region.

The village of Beynon and the forests of Périgord Noir
Photograph courtesy of Andrew Lawson

The town of Sarlat.

Sarlat is correctly called Sarlat-la-Caneda but called Sarlat by everyone. Sarlat is the most important town in Black Périgord, even though its population is under 12,000. Sarlat has made many contributions to the region’s history and to Cuisine Périgourdine. Most of the dishes that originated from Sarlat include the words Salart or Sarlardaise in their names. The town of Sarlat itself is full of history with many buildings from the late middle ages. Despite its small size Sarlat has over 250 listed buildings and 60 registered monuments. Lovers of Medieval art as well gourmets roam the town.

Photograph courtesy of Andrew Lawson


On the menu in Périgord Noir:


Velouté aux Châtaignes de Perigord – A velvety soup made with the Label Rouge, red label, chestnuts of Perigord. No other French chestnuts have been awarded the Label Rouge for consistent quality and their only competitor are the AOP chestnuts from the Ardèche.


Joel Robuchon’s chestnut veloute

Photograph courtesy of Krista


Brouillade de Cèpes et Copeaux de Parmesan – Brouillade, a light version of scrambled eggs; here it is prepared with porcini mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. The original Brouillade recipe is claimed by Provence, where it is called Brouiado. However, other regions of France have a

strong claim on their versions. To make a brouillade, egg whites are beaten

separately, and only mixed with the yolks while cooking; it creates a very light and airy version of scrambled eggs. The Périgord, with so many forests, is an abundant source, in season, for many wild mushrooms, especially cepes, French porcini mushrooms, and chanterelles. Every restaurant will have an agreement with their own ramasseurs, gatherers of wild mushrooms and herbs, who, in season, will bring wild mushrooms daily.


Filet de Bœuf a la Sarladaise - This is the classic beef dish from Black Périgord. Here, a filet of beef is piqued with small pieces of the area’s famous black truffles. The filet is barded and roasted and cooked with red or white wine and then served with Sauce Périgueux. Barding requires wrapping the meat with fat before cooking. Barding is essential for cuts like this that are roasted as a beef fillet has little external fat. Unless the beef is barded before being roasted, it will dry out.

Sauce Périgueux is made with the black Perigord truffle and Madeira wine. The herbs used may vary with the chef, but it is usually prepared with veal or beef stock and will be served with meat, duck, or goose dishes.


Magret de Canard aux Pommes Sarladaises Duck breast fried or grilled, served with Pommes Salardaises. Pommes Salardaises are potatoes baked in duck fat and flavored with garlic and parsley.


Magret de Canard with Pommes Sarladaise

Photograph courtesy of Thomas Claveirole


Dos de Cabillaud en Croûte de Noix du Périgord – A thick cut of cod, the fish, cooked inside a covering of Périgord walnuts. The walnut is France’s favorite nut, and when the word noix alone is on the menu, it is a walnut. Only two walnuts are considered the very, very best; the Noix de Périgord AOP, the walnut from Périgord, and the Noix de Grenoble  AOP, the walnut from Grenoble. Apart from the fresh nuts, Périgord also sells walnut liquors and walnut oils. Perigord has routes de noix, walnut roads like the wine roads in the wine country. Their routes de noix run through the region and are a wonderful way to see the country and stop off in country restaurants. The tourist information offices in each area will provide the map or email a copy before you leave home.


A walnut.
Photograph courtesy of Erich Ferdinand

Black Périgord has become internationally famous for its prehistoric sites. Many sites have prehistoric wall paintings, including the Lascaux cave that is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Not all the caves may be visited, and others are restricted. For example, the Font-de-Gaume Paleolithic cave paintings in Périgord Noir are carefully preserved, and entrance is limited to less than 200 visitors per day. Book ahead and read up on the finds and paintings as most of their guided tours are in French only.

Périgord Pourpre - Purple Périgord

Purple Périgord is the wine-growing center of Périgord, hence the name. Here the most important town is Bergerac. Around the town are the Bergerac vineyards, and just over the Dordogne river are the Monbazillac vineyards.

Bergerac is a beautiful town. The town itself and the surrounding area is called the Pays de Bergerac, and apart from being home to the Bergerac wines, it is another center of Cuisine Périgourdine.

Photograph courtesy of Jacques Bodin

Bergerac wines have at least ten appellations, wine-growing areas. The Bergerac wines include dry reds, roses, dry white wines as well as semi-dry and very sweet white wines. Just across the River Dordogne are the vineyards for the Monbazillac sweet white wines that are part of the 13 appellations. To taste and learn about the different Bergerac wines take their wine road, their Route des Vins de Bergerac and a designated driver!; 

Among the appelations are: Bergerac AOP, Côtes de Bergerac AOP, Montravel AOP, Haut-Montravel AOP, Côtes de Montravel AOP, Monbazillac AOP, Pécharmant AOP, Rosette AOP, and Saussignac AOP.

The English language website for the Pays de Bergerac is:

On the menu in Périgord Poupre:

Coq au Vin de Bergerac et Croutons Aillés – Coq au Vin made with one of the red wines of Bergerac and served with garlic flavored croutons.


Coq au Vin

Photograph by courtesy of jeffreyw


Rosace d'Onglet de Bœuf aux Lardons  A decoratively sliced hanger steak prepared with bacon pieces and served with a sauce made from the natural cooking juices, shallotsthyme, and a Bergerac red wine. A hanger steak may, mistakenly, sometimes be called a London broil in the USA. A rosace describes how the steak will be served; it indicates the steak will be sliced and presented with a fan or flower shape.


Escalope de Foie Gras Sauce Monbazillac - A slice of fattened duck's livevery, very lightly fried, and served with a sauce made with the sweet Monbazillac wine. The fattened duck liver cannot be well cooked; it would dissolve! The sweet white Monbazillac wines are often compared with the Sauternes produced just 130 km (82 miles) away in Bordeaux. However, while the manner of production is similar, the percentage of the different grapes used does differ, and that clearly affects the taste,


Warm escalopes of foie gras with cardamom,
glazed root vegetables, verjuice, and sultanas sauce
Photograph courtesy of HannahWebb


Magret de Canard Sauce Monbazillac –Duck breast fried and served with a sauce made from the natural cooking juices and the sweet Monbazillac white wine.

Bottles of Monbazillac wine aging.
In the cellars of the Château de Monbazillac

Bergerac and Panache

From Bergerac, the word panache began its modern usage in the English language. Then, at the end of the 19th century, the French playwright Edmund Rostand wrote the play, Cyrano de Bergerac. The play was based on a real 17th century Cyrano de Bergerac and has remained popular in French and English translations for over 100 years. When the play was translated into English, the translators could not find a suitable English word for panache which describes Cyrano's flair, style, and exaggerated grace. So panache entered into its modern form in the English language. Two French-language movies have been made about Cyrano de Bergerac, the last in the 1990s.

Statue of Cyrano de Bergerac.
There are several Cyrano statues in the town of Bergerac.
This one is in La Place Pélissière. 
Photograph courtesy of Trip Advisor

Fetes, Festivals, and Fairs in the Dordogne-Périgord.

Throughout the year, there are hundreds of fetes and festivals in the Dordogne -Périgord. Probably half of these celebrations are connected to food and wine. Apart from the beautiful towns and villages, there are hundreds of castles and chateaus.

Every one of the four colors of Périgord has its own Tourist Information Office:

Tourist Office of Périgueux

Tourist Office Sarlat Périgord Black

Tourist Office of the Périgord Vert Nontronnais

Tourist Office Bergerac Perigord Poupre:

The main English language website for all of Dordogne-Perigord is:

(Click on the British flag for English).


Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman


Copyright 2010, 2015, 2020


With thanks to Michel Masse for suggestions and corrections. 


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