December 16, 2014

 

 

Discover a culinary mecca amid the picture-perfect hills, dense forest, and rolling rivers of the Dordogne region tucked in southwestern France.

Called the Dordogne today, many locals and foodies still prefer its older name, the Périgord. In a region dotted with historic chateaus and storybook castles, nose-to-tail cooking and foraging aren’t new concepts, but rather centuries-old traditions. Each season, the vibrant landscape bursts with fresh fare, from wild strawberries in early summer to mushrooms a few months later, and then the region's most prized treasure, the Black Diamond Truffle. Harvested during the coldest months of winter, from December to March, this truffle has inspired more than just delicious recipes—although plenty of those, too.

Some 600 miles south of Paris, this epicurean niche is a land of plentiful wine, cheese, and truffles. However, while the lifestyle here is steeped in tradition and a slower pace, these old-world specialties also hold some very new-world beauty secrets. In the vineyards of the Périgord Pourpre region, where winemakers grow some 13 appellations, including reds, like Bergerac, and whites, like Montravel and Monbazillac, grapes can do more than just produce some of the world’s most cherished vinos. The skin of red grapes also hold an intensive, anti-aging polyphenol called Resveratrol. In fact, in 2002, Estée Lauder introduced the world’s first skincare product with Resveratrol: Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lifting Crème. Now, its groundbreaking skincare experts have found a new source of rare beauty ensconced in the dark oak forests of the Périgord Noir.

On tables throughout the Périgord's four regions, the Blanc, the Vert, the Pourpre, and the Noir, you'll find sophisticated cuisine anchored by hearty farmhouse fare, like stews, casseroles, and stuffed dishes. Of the latter, poulet aux champignons is a popular recipe featuring a stuffing flavored with mushrooms, bacon, and shallots. However, for local chefs, black truffle season is the most exciting, flavoring everything from main courses to even desserts, like a complex chocolate and truffle cake. Found deep in the forests of the Périgord Noir, under mighty oak trees, the Black Diamond Truffle is one of the world's rarest culinary treasures. It also holds an incredible secret for sustaining younger, healthier-looking, skin. Mining the power of nature, Estée Lauder’s proprietary nine-step process has now distilled the Black Diamond Truffle into a potent new energy infusion for Re-Nutriv Diamond.

With history dating back the ancient Romans and even prehistoric times, the Périgord is still deeply bound to its culinary traditions; its kitchens present an ever-evolving collaboration between man and nature. Local chefs tap into a bounty of regional ingredients for artful dishes that satisfy well beyond the mere charge of sustenance, stirring the soul and sparking the senses. Today, a cheese course before dessert remains a mainstay of any proper dinner, as does local wine. Some of the most typical selections are blue cheese sourced from nearby Roquefort, as well as local Echourgnac made by Trappist nuns since 1868 in the l’Abbaye d’Echourgnac. In a terroir blessed with nutrient-rich seasonal ingredients, both cooks and beauty experts have uncovered luxurious ways to nourish wellbeing.

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