Monsieur Jouan´s cherry trees

chez jouan_

“Have you tried them?“ said the old man, plucking a the cherry from the tree. „C´est permis!“ His gesture was casual, he must have done this a thousand times before. His rutted, sun tanned face bespoke of many summers spent outside, his hands of hard work. From our garden, I had seen him busy in the vinevard all afternoon, approaching our house as he was working his way through the grapevines. At the beginning of our conversation, he seemed slightly reserved, or perhaps he´s not a man of many words, but when we told him where we came from and how much we liked our holiday home, he introduced himself as the former owner of the lovely ferme, adding not without pride he had spent most of his life there. Then, as suddenly as he had shown up, he left to continue his work, reminding us of the cherries : „N´oubliez-pas les cerises!“

cherry sauce & tree 2chez jouan 2chez jouan 3chez jouan_-9

That´s how we met Monsieur Jouan and received official permission to indulge. And to indulge, se régaler, that really is the easiest thing to do when you´re in the Southwest of France, in Périgord no less, land of the ducks, foie gras, walnuts and truffles. During summer, there are also the strawberries and peaches, and of course the cherry trees, three or four of which I found in the garden surrounding the beautifully renovated old farm house we called home for the length of our stay. The scenery is so idyllic, so quiet, it almost feels like being fallen out of time – well , almost, because we did enjoy all modern day comfort, including the most perfect pool and, yes, a TV set (it was the European football championship after all, and well, France kicked Germany out…). Other than that, the cottage is completely tucked away from all touristic trouble, quite literally where the streets have no name, and “Chez Jouan ” is all it takes as an address.

magret & dark cherriesSpeaking of Monsieur Jouan again, of course I followed his invitation to do a bit of cherry picking in the afternoon, ending up with a small crop of dark cherries, enough for a sauce to come with the quite irresistible duck breasts I had bought. A couple of peaches, however, actually destined to accompany my magrets, made a later appearance, a glorious one no less. La soupe aux pêches, chilled peach soup, turned out to be a great way to end those warm summer nights we´ve had, watching the sun set by the pool, overlooking green hills and vineyards, the kids playing football by the big old cherry tree.

I made the soup again the other night, and I intend do so whenever I `ll long for those evenings that ended watching the sun set by the pool, overlooking green hills and vineyards, and kids playing football by the cherry tree.

PS: For more information about our cottage and three other lovely holiday homes, click here (website in English, French and German) or send an email to

peach soup-5chez jouancherry pickingpérigord view

Magrets de canard with red wine cherries & pommes salardaises (serves 2-4):

Red wine cherries sauce:
400-500 g dark cherries, pitted
3 big tbsp local honey
2 small glasses of red wine
1 sprig rosemary
a good dash of black pepper

In a saucepan, bring red wine and cherries to boil over medium heat. Stir in the honey, add the rosemary and season with black pepper. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Leave to cool.

Potatoes Salardaises:
600 g new potatoes, peeled and sliced into 2-3 mm thick rondelles
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
sea salt
4-6 tbsp duck fat

You can start to cook the magrets and potatoes at the same time.

In a large thick bottomed pan, melt 2-3 tbsp duck fat over medium heat. Add potatoes, fry for 5-7 minutes, until golden, then flip potatoes, fry for a further couple of minutes, adding some more duck fat every few minutes.
When almost ready, add garlic and fry for 1 more minute, stirring to avoid garlic broom browning. Add parsley, tossing everything together. Take off the heat after 20 more seconds, season with salt and serve immediately.

magrets de canard:
2 large breasts about 350-400 g each

Using a sharp knife, incise duck skin in a cross wise pattern. In a thick bottomed pan over medium heat, fry duck breasts skin side down until all the fat is rendered, about 18 minutes. Spoon fat from the pan every once in a while (adding to the potatoes or saving it for another time).

When the skin is well browned and crisp, flip magrets over and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Leave to rest on a plate. Slice and serve with red wine cherries, potatoes and a good glass of red.

peach soup-2

chilled peach soup
6 peaches (mine were yellow)
3 glasses white wine
1 glass sugar
juice of 1 lemon
zest from 1/2 lemon
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
a few mint leaves

Plunge peaches in boiling water and blanch for 2-3 minutes, until they´re easy to peel. Set aside – cut in halves if you prefer.

In a large pot, bring wine with sugar, lemon zest, star anise and cinnamon stick to boil. Add peaches, lower the heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add lemon juice.

Leave to cool, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours minimum. Decorate with mint leaves just before serving.

magret & dark cherries-2


    1. Dear Nadia, now it should work. I was waiting for the approval of the owner of the beautiful house that´s pictured, for I didn´t want to show images of his stuff without permission of course. Sorry for the trouble!! Sabine


    1. Hi Amanda, now it´s public! I had it password protected for a moment because I wanted to wait for the house owner´s approval – didn´t want to show his property and plates without him seeing what I had written and pictured! Thanks for reporting back, always a pleasure to read from you! S. xx


    1. I guess so far I´ve had the best summer holiday ever. Hope the memories linger on as we´re already back home in Paris! But if not, cooking always helps to bring back those special days. I hope you´re enjoying summer as well, Amanda!


    1. Oh yes, it is. I´m already thinking about when to return there. From Paris it´s not that far, you know, actually quite a good distance to travel with little kids (who sometimes can be hard to entertain in the car ;-))

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is outstanding, what a gorgeous place and an adorable little one, delicious meals and lovely photography. Love your cherries and peaches! ❤ 🙂


  2. Sabine, this takes me back to one holiday in France where there was always a bowl of cherries on the table, a bowl large enough to fill half a bucket. How I gorged on them. You write so well and your photographs so enticing that I immediately want to take over that cottage and have a vacation there. I may do just that, one day 🙂


    1. Mary, you got me there. I wanted to stay as well 😉 at least during summer. It was such a relaxing way to spend a few good days. But if I had stayed longer, I would have gained some pounds, that´s for sure 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, that´s such a lovely thing to hear in the morning ;-)! It really is a special place there, a cottage you wish you could stay a little longer…and longer…


  3. Oh, what memories you evoke… Those pictures are just gorgeous, reminding me of the time I spent in Tremolat in the Dordogne….
    Cannot wait for my summer when I can try your peach soup – looks divine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The area is so incredibly beautiful, isn´t it? I knew I would love it even before I went there, and the food….I´m getting hunger just thinking of all those beautiful things they have there!
      Hope you´ll try the “soup” , it´s so refreshing and light!


  4. Oh sieht das alles köstlich aus. Und Entenbrust mitten im Sommer würde ich hier auch gerne mal zu kaufen bekommen. 🙂 Mit der Kirschsoße ganz sicher köstlich. Und die Pfirsichsuppe muss auch überaus erfrischend sein. Hhhmmm…. Danke für den wunderschönen Post. Das sieht nach einem traumhaften Urlaub in einer schönen Gegend aus.
    Liebe Grüße.


    1. ja, es ist da ein Entenparadies! U d abgesehen vom wunderbaren Essen eine wunderschöne Gegend, finde ich. Wenn man Urlaub abseits vom großen Trubel sucht, so wie wir. Schöne Grüße und vielen Dank für diese schöne Nachricht! Freu mich sehr. Sabine


      1. I’ll probably visit Stéphane again in Libourne – My French Heaven – I’ve been 3 times already. But I lived in France as a child and have seen much of it, except for the west coast.


  5. how beautiful and idyllic your holiday sounds! i was just thinking this morning that now that strawberries and blueberries are done, cherries and peaches must be here and i need to make a trek to our local farm to harvest some.

    the duck looks so delicious, i don’t believe i’ve ever made this poultry before and now i feel so inspired to try with your recipe!


  6. Love the houses!! Totally my thing and I have the Périgord on our list for so long already. Now I must gather the friends to rent with when the children are older. Doing fine by the way already done U3 and Impfungen, how time flies.


  7. Such a beautiful post and if that is your little girl – she is beyond adorable – so very sweet. As the mother of two lovely lovely girls, I know a little of your joy! The stone cottage and garden are perfect – so picturesque. I’m such a Francophile. And your recipes are beautiful. What a treasure your blog is.


    1. Bonjour Lindy, what a wonderful thing to read in the morning, thank you so much! I do agree, these little ladies are too adorable – most precious time in our lives while they´re little!


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