Africajarc 2014 Best music festival!

One of the musical highlights of our summer in France was ‘Africajarc’. Cajarc on the river Lot, east of Cahors, hosts this music festival every year celebrating the sounds of Africa. The whole town is taken over by stalls selling African food, clothes, musical instruments and music and in the evening the big concert. It’s usually on in July each year. Here’s the 2014 programme http://www.africajarc.com/programmation.php with contact details

Angélique Kidjo was fantastic!

She was born in Benin but is now based in Paris. Africajarc is a lovely small venue where you can get right up close to the artists. While we were having a hot chocolate after the concert we got speaking to one of the guitarists of the band, he’s based in New York – then Anjelique Kidjo appeared and got into her black sedan with her minders. Our rockstar moment!

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Eating out in the French countryside

A plate of black gascon noir charcuterie

A plate of black gascon noir charcuterie

Or inside if it's a bit cold, lovely big log fire

Or inside if it’s a bit cold, lovely big log fire

It was a hot balmy evening for early September and we decided to try out our local ‘ferme auberge’  in a little hamlet called Mas de Monille. Here they grow, prepare and cook all their own produce. This particular farm specialises in the black gascon pigs, ‘Gascon Noirs’ which is rare breed in SW France.

Black gascon pigs

Black gascon pigs grazing in local fields

We had the most delicious meal starting with an aperitif and a plate of charcuterie and french crusty bread, followed by a plate of ham, gerkins, pate and hot black pudding (see above), followed by slow cooked pork, two different types of homemade sausage (one made with the rind – really tasty) and a plate of aligot (cheesy potatoes), followed by local cheeses and a homemade pudding, all washed down with local wine and eau de vie. Really great value for 29 euros http://www.masdemonille.com

The cook and owner

The cook and owner with the homemade charcuterie

It is a lovely place to visit, buy good quality meat from happy outdoor reared animals and eat wonderful, simple food beautifully prepared. Also good for walking around the area and seeing the pigs grazing. Lovely walk along footpaths to St Projet.

The restored farmhouse at Mas de Monille

The restored farmhouse at Mas de Monille

You can eat out in the garden on hot afternoons

You can eat out in the garden on hot afternoons

 

 

 

On foot in Barcelona

A lovely bar - forgotten the name!

A lovely tapas bar – La Bodegueta, meaning little wine cellar, run by all male staff

http://rambla.labodegueta.cat

Had a lovely few days in Barcelon earlier this year to celebrate Bern’s special birthday. They stayed in a posh hotel and we investigated using Housetrip. Not an altogether successful arrangement as the flat owner didn’t want to rent to us when we arrived!

Tapas in Barcelona

Tapas in La Bodegueta

Cerano ham and tomato, tomato bread, manchego cheese and grilled peppers all washed down with a cold glass of Cava.

Fish stall in Santa Katarina market in the old part of Barcelona

Fish stall in Mercat de Santa Catarina in the old part of Barcelona, lovely cheap tapas at Bar Joan in the background

Wonderful cheap tapas at the Bar Joan tapas bar in the Mercat de Santa Catarina in the old part of town. You can have a cheap and tasty lunch here and then go on to queue at the Picasso Museum 10 minutes walk away.

LONELY PLANET REVIEW

Along with the popular Cuines de Santa Caterina, there are a couple of bar-eateries in the Mercat de Santa Caterina. Bar Joan is known especially to locals for its arròs negre (cuttlefish-ink rice) on Tuesday at lunchtime and paella on Thursdays. It’s a simple spot, with only tapas or the menú del día (daily set menu), but it’s friendly and good value

Meat counter Santa Catarina market

Meat counter at the Mercat de Santa Catarina

Painted pigeons near our apartment in the old part of town

Painted pigeons near our apartment in the old part of town

Gaudi's La Familia Segrada - obscured by a tourist bus, sorry  'bout that!

Gaudi’s La Familia Segrada – obscured by a tourist bus, sorry ’bout that!

Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagrada_Fam%C3%ADlia