Food and Cuisine in the Loire Region
The Loire captures the essence of "French Cookery" and is the region where you should embark on a search for "French Cuisine" - this is the heartland with dishes that have become national and worldwide favourites.
The gentle landscape, languid rivers, elegant architecture, and pleasant summer climate give rise to a relaxed pleasant lifestyle embracing the riverbank picnic, the café lunch, the long slow meal - all of the elements of the good life.
Come and share our gourmand enjoyment!
About the Food of THE LOIRE
The region is the birthplace of the shredded potted meat, rillettes, (a close cousin to pate) that is now enjoyed all over France. In the Loire and in particular in Tours you will find rillettes prepared with not only boar but also duck, goose, rabbit and even fish such as tuna. Tarte Tatin, see recipe below, with that winning combination of caramelised apples, sugar and pastry is a winner as is coq au vin, that delightful blend of chicken and wine.
Food-wise the region is known for two things: prunes and mushrooms. The luscious pruneaux de Tours come from dried damson plums from round the city of Tours and are delightful on their own or in tarts. The mushrooms are grown in disused underground limestone caves and are of a special quality.
Special cakes and pastries are also a feature - take time to enjoy the gateau de Pithiviers, sweet puff pastry filled with cream.
Out and about in the Loire
Cheese, wine and bread!
Sainte Maure de Touraine
Sainte Maure de Touraine is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) goat's milk cheese from the Loire that is creamy and mild, while the wine comes from the Anjou area renowned for its rose wines.
Afternoon in the sun
Chinon Cabernet Franc
Take a romantic Loire chateau, a fine Chinon Cabernet Franc, an hors d'oeuvre selection, and a beautiful day - what more would you want?
Wine, cheese and bread again!
Pays Nantais Muscadet
A table under a leafy willow with a crisp chilled Muscadet from the Pays Nantais, a Camembert cheese, salad and a baguette
Wine, bread and cheese again!
Chinon vineyard picnic lunch
A picnic break between vineyards on the bank of the L'Indre looking at the town of Chinon with the chateau rebuilding in the background
Rillettes (French for planks from the appearance when spread on bread) is a preparation of meat similar to pâté. Originally made with pork, but now also from duck, goose and rabbit.
Coq au Vin A classic French stew of rooster cooked with wine, smoky bacon, mushrooms, onions and optionally garlic. The older the rooster the better the flavour!
Tarte Tatin (Caramelised apple tart)
By accident or design, this 1888 Loire creation by the Tatin sisters, Caroline and Stephanie, is now one of France's most popular desserts.
150gm icing sugar
1 kg apples - peeled and quartered
1 sheet sweet short pastry
- Preheat oven to 180ºC.
- Melt butter in high-sided skillet and sprinkle in icing sugar. Add apples and stir to combine.
- Cook for 20 minutes then turn up heat for 10 more minutes, or until the apples turn golden brown. Don't let burn!
- Place apples in a buttered glass baking dish. Cut pastry to shape and place over the apples, tucking the pastry down round the edge of the dish.
- Bake tart at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Release sides, place serving plate over the baking dish and flip quickly.
Serve warm either plain or with cream or ice cream.
- Use the best apples available (ideally Reine de Reinettes) but Granny Smith or Golden Delicious will do.
- The secret is to caramelise the apples in the butter and sugar - not burn them!
- Cut the pastry circle big enough to form the base and sides.