Storified by Arya McLean· Fri, Apr 12 2013 17:19:34
This is a traditional Perigord gourmet cooking recipe by Chef Eric Barbe, which he serves at the Le Manoir de Bellerive, a four-star hotel with a gastronomic restaurant near the Dordogne River. Located in the heart of Perigord, the manor is a magnificent property where time seems to stand still and local heritage is honored. Perigord is known for exquisite black truffles that are some of the best in the world, but perhaps even more than that, Perigord is famous for its walnuts. Groves of walnut trees the line the landscape of Perigord Noir, some of which have existed for more than seventeen thousand years.
The walnut has played an important role in the culture and commerce of the region. Historically, peasants used to pay their debts with walnuts and merchants considered walnut oil as precious as gold. Walnuts thus make an appearance in many Perigord dishes, both sweet and savory, and are made into oils and liqueurs. One of the most popular walnut recipes known around France is the Perigord walnut cake, a soft and fluffy cake with crunchy walnuts covered with chocolate icing and garnished with more walnuts. This is a very simple and quite an easy cake recipe to make.
While the Perigord diet is considerably rich by most standards, the region has the second-lowest rate of heart disease in the world. Locals attribute this fact to the walnut, which contain properties that lower cholesterol levels, reduce stress, and impart energy.
To make this recipe, you need walnut alcohol or liqueur. You can also use Nocino, which is a dark brown liqueur from Northern Italy made from unripe green walnuts. The walnuts are steeped in the spirit and mixed with syrup. This kind of liqueur has a bittersweet flavor and can be made at home, which is popularly done in local villages.