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Eating on the road

Dallas, Texas
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Eating on the road

My fiancee and I are spending our honeymoon driving across Dordogne and then on to Languedoc and Provence. Obviously, eating is a big part of what we're looking forward to and I'm making reservations now for many of the meals.

However, I'm not sure what we'll do about the unplanned meals. Many of our meals will likely occur while we're in-between destinations or after normal dining hours. I'm trying to figure out what our best options will be for those, so we don't waste a lot of time hunting down food in unfamiliar towns, or worse yet go hungry.

Any advice for eating on the road in Sarlat, Dordogne generally, and as we travel across southern France would be greatly appreciated. If you have any thoughts, please respond.

A few specific questions:

- If we're looking for picnic ingredients, what kind of establishments should we look for? Is there a "supermarket" in/near Sarlat or should we expect to visit specialty shops (boucheries, fromageries, boulangeries) to fill out the picnic basket? (Many days we won't be near a market day.)

- Obviously, it's difficult to generalize with accuracy, but what are typical hours for specialty food shops? Would it be silly to expect to find, say, a bakery open after 6PM in Sarlat-sized towns? Do such shops typically have morning hours only?

- For faster, smaller meals on driving days, are there certain types of restaurants we should look for? I assume brasseries and bistros are the best option for single-course meals.

- Is takeaway so thoroughly despised that we'd be exposing ourselves to physical harm inquiring about it even in casual restaurants? If not, is there an easy way to tell whether a request like that would be inappropriate in a given restaurant?

I realize this post probably demonstrates an alarming tendency towards "American"-style eating on-the-go and I realize that's defeating the purpose of the trip in some ways. Still, I think fast, smaller meals are a necessary evil of car travel. We will be having plenty of relaxed 3-hour dinners during the trip so all is not lost. ( :-) )

Any input would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Edited: 6:24 pm, August 29, 2012
Limerick, Ireland
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for Limerick, Killarney
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1. Re: Eating on the road

There is an excellent Carrefour Market in Sarlat on the Brive Road.


They have a bakery and generally an excellent range including fabulous fresh veg and fruit. They are open from 9am - 8pm Monday to Saturday and from 9-12 Noon on Sundays.

There is also a fabulous street market in Sarlat on a Saturday but it means that traffic will be very busy.

Generally most towns of any size will have a boulangerie and small supermarkets where you can buy some cheese or meat. Or even a small coffee/sandwich shop. As my newly enhanced waistline testifies, you won't go hungry in the region :o)

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Eating on the road

Sarlat is a bustling market town, so there's no shortage of food specialty shops to choose from. Practically every decent size village in that area (and even some small ones!) will have a charcuterie, to buy terrines, pates, rillettes,cured meats and home-made delicacies which you can buy by the portion or by weight, as well as a boulangerie/patisserie - perfect for baguettes, quiches, savoury tartes, gateaux. If there's no fromage shop, the local Carrefour or Intermarche supermarkets will have a cheese counter longer than my street. The hardest thing will be to narrow down you daily selections! But be warned - most will close from noon till about 2/3pm - so get your supplies early, and then find somewhere idyllic for the picnic. They re-open in the afternoon, usually till about 6.30/7pm. You don't need to ask for takeaway from restaurants, as many charcutiers are high-quality and will offer a meal serving each day, eg a chicken casserole or lasagne etc. They will heat that for you if you ask. The only restaurants I can think of which do takeaway would be the pizzerias. Just make sure you have a small sharp knife, eating utensils, plastic plates and a corkscrew in your car!

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3. Re: Eating on the road

I agree with Bean that this is the region won't let you go hungry, We had many wonderful picnic lunches. Most of the restaurants in town only open from 7pm. We had diffidulty finding sit down dinners before seven. There are so many wonderful desserts to try. We often ordered light dinner but enjoyed our desserts most diligently. Just make sure to pack your good appetite.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Eating on the road

You can get all your picnic needs at any of the 3 major supermarkets in Sarlat. Each one is situated on an major road on the way in/ out of the town so easy to find. Alternately the covered market in the main square is open every morning although to be honest I think you're better off at the supermarket choice wise. When on the road and it's lunchtime we always look for bars/restaurants with white vans parked out the front. Sounds strange I know but this means it's a restaurant where the local tradesmen eat and you can usually get a really good menu (set price 3 course meal). One tip when on the road on a Sunday always pack food to eat along the way as many places close on a Sunday especially in the smaller towns and I am sure you do not want to end up eating at McDonalds! And just one other tip - dont try to fill your car with fuel on a Sunday, petrol stations are unmanned and automated on Sunday most only take french credit cards Enjoy your trip

Mequon, Wisconsin
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5. Re: Eating on the road

Karen-thanks for the tip on the white van. I've never heard that, but will be on the lookout.

6. Re: Eating on the road

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