We arrived in the picture-perfect village of Domme on a Sunday at 1pm-ish on our way back home from Périgord, with no reservation and no hope about the prospect of finding anything decent to eat for lunch. So many Sundays spent stranded in like-sized French villages have given us a gloomy outlook on this subject and we usually end up settling for those decrepit D-listers that shine only when everything else is closed: that last stiff little quiche at the bakery about to close, that anemic gas station triangle sandwich of chicken and mayonnaise or (don’t judge me) Burger King, two Big Kings (no tomato). After getting turned away at the only open restaurant we saw, near the parking lot, we decided to just walk and look, cross our fingers and hope for something not terrible. What we found was something so far from not terrible, a highlight of our trip.
Tucked away on a sleepy little street in the town of Domme, forged in stone, is a lovely little restaurant called Cabanoix et Châtaigne specializing in IGP Périgord everything. Despite our lack of reservation and our arrival 10 minutes before the kitchen was supposed to close, they welcomed us with kindness and made space at a small table near the host desk. We perused the chalkboard menu and put in our orders quickly, enjoying a glass of Lo Doma IGP Vin de Pays du Périgord, a soul-warming Cab/Merlot, while we waited.
When the amused-bouche arrived, we understood the quality that we were in for. This was a lovely shot of warm pumpkin velouté, seasoned with turmeric and topped with house-made goat cheese chantilly, then sprinkled with poppy seeds.
Because you can never get enough pâté in Périgord, we ordered their house pâté to share, which brought together crumbly bits of IGP Périgord duck and creamy, silky duck foie gras in two perfectly seasoned loaves of forcemeat, easy to smash over fresh bread. Yum.
As during our entire Périgord trip, I was in the mood for hearty comfort food and that’s exactly what I got with the Tatin de Canard Forestier au Sauce de Cèpes. As I write this, eight months later, there is 0 struggle to remember the taste and texture of this dish, which was so immensely satisfying paired with a glass of red and the company of my man in this cozy restaurant in Domme. IGP Périgord duck confit was pulled apart into tender, juicy and immensely flavorful threads of meat, cooked with a bit of cream and layered, along with a mix of button and wild forest mushrooms, on top of thinly sliced potatoes. This disk of deliciousness was then topped with a buttery, crunchy, flaky – oh la la, mais what? – pâte feuilletée, baked to absolute nutty and caramelized perfection. And just in case that wasn’t generous and rich enough, the tatin was served in a pool of a glittering, glossy sauce made with shallot, morels and white wine and – of course – montée au beurre for good measure. Nutty, earthy, gamey flavors oozed across crispy, juicy, creamy textures. Very clearly 100% homemade and from the best local ingredients.
Ben had his own moment with his equally rich and heart-warming Parmentier de Confit de Canard, a kind of périgourdin shephard’s pie with duck confit replacing beef. Even taking a quick picture seemed too intrusive, so unfortunately none exist of this one. But it was delicious.
Cabanoix et Châtaigne was a wonderful surprise, as was the village of Domme in general. After lunch, we took a walk along the historic ramparts, enjoying spectacular views of the Dordogne River and rolling hills around it. We also discovered Histoires de Lire, a perfect little bookshop with a very nice selection of vintage editions, which will stay in that special place in my heart reserved for unforgettable bookshops: Le Bookstore in Biarritz, The Last Bookshop in Oxford, El Ateneo in Buenos Aires… Anyway. Go to Périgord, visit Domme and eat – no matter what – at Cabanoix et Châtaigne.