Friday, July 20, 2007

A visit to St. Yrieix de Perche

Yesterday we visited Saint Yrieix de Perche. The name alone makes it worth visiting, but the real attraction is the Limoges china outlet stores. Incredible bargains on this beautiful china.
We had a nice drive up about 3 hours from our place through some beautiful country side, past Cahors, past Brive on the Autoroute then across country seeing lots of fruit orchards, mainly apples, in rolling countryside.

St Yrieix itself is a thriving & very pretty town.

Unfortunately the day was overcast so the pictures don't really do the town justice.

Our first order of business was lunch at Le Cheval Blanc (The White Horse). We ate out on the covered patio. We all had the Carte de Jour, three courses for 15 Euros. Our starter was a salad of green lentils with little cubes of ham & chicken gizzards with a light vinegar sauce; very nice it was. The main course was bavette (skirt steak) with fried potatoes and dessert was two slices of pie (apricot & grape) with a little piece of lemon cake. This along with two pichets of house red set us up for shopping.

you can see there is lots of china and the pictures show only the crates out on the sidewalk outside the two main shops. Here's an interior shot of just some of the stacks. There must be,literally, tons of china in all shapes, sizes and patterns. All at incredible prices.

We were looking for some everyday china and were able to buy a set of 12 for just over 40 Euros. A dozen cups & saucers and a dozen big coffee mugs set us back another 30.

The best part for me, however, was the incredible food shop in St Yrieix. I remembered buying cheese in it a couple of years ago, but hadn't fully remembered just how magnificent this shop really is until this trip.

Here's a picture of the bulk beans, rice & pulses
outside the shop. And, yes, casoulette lovers they

do have Tarbais beans. Inside there is an even greater selection of rice, flours and grains. I particularly liked the large bag of raw refined sugar.

There is an amazing array of sauces, herbs & spices plus all kinds of preserved and candied fruits. The goodies just go on & on. This is definitely a food lovers paradise. You can see some of the goodies & order them on: Love the name and expect they may have been before the famous site in the states.

There are two large cabinets full of cheeses in perfect condition. (for pictures see my post on the cheese thread of eGullet)

Given all this bounty I couldn't help buying something. So I bought two cheeses (showing great restraint), a Selles sur Cher which is a chevre and is mild & Ok, but nothing special and a Bleu de Gex which was terrific! I've never has this bleu before and found it very very good.

I also bought two little treats. One was chocolate covered raisins from Bordeaux which had been soaked in cassis. Absolutely wonderful, but surpassed by the dried & sugared wild cherries. These are dynamite.

If you are touring any where near St Yrieix de Peche make sure you spend some time here. Its a super little town and off the tourist track. Great place!