Loire Valley Cuisine
While the Loire Valley’s reputation for wine production is of the highest acclaim, the gastronomic delights of the region should not be underestimated. Offering cuisine that is rich in flavour yet refined enough for even the most delicate palette, the Loire’s fare focuses on locally sourced produce that ensures all meals come right from its heart. Plus, like so many other areas of France, the Loire Valley lays claim to the production of cheeses that complement its elegant wines superbly.
Locally farmed meats
One of the true culinary delights of the Loire Valley comes via local establishments’ desire to use locally sourced produce. The agricultural industry thrives here, with countless farms providing restaurateurs with red meat and poultry for use in dishes that are succulent and delicious. The small black hen known as Geline de Touraine, for example, is delicate and fresh to the taste, offering a culinary experience that is distinct to the region. Deer and boar are commonly available during the hunting season, while the running waters of the Loire provide fish lovers with excellent pike and firm, tender zander.
Though the meat dishes of the Loire Valley are rich and packed with distinct flavour, it is perhaps the fruit and vegetable industries that give the region’s cuisine its unique taste. Approximately twenty percent of all apples and pears available in France are grown on farms across the Loire Valley, and other produce such as cherries and asparagus make their way into the recipes of local diners and leading establishments alike. These fruits, of course, also prove vital to the preparation of the mouth-watering desserts that top off each meal. The famous Tarte Tatin, which originated in nearby Sologne in the 1880s, is made with caramelised apples and now one of France’s most widely recognised desserts
Cheese and dairy
French cheese is world renowned, and the Loire Valley is no stranger to excellence in its production. The goat’s cheese Crottin de Chavignol is particularly acclaimed, and famously originates in the tiny eponymous community of just 200 inhabitants. Protected by the AOC Seal, the cheese’s dough is complemented by its mature rind, resulting in a crumbly texture and a subtle, nutty taste. Cheeses derived from cow’s milk are also notable in the region, with the rich Curé Nantais being known for its interesting history and ideal match with Muscadet wine.
With vineyards stretching across the land, and a wine heritage that has few equals, a holiday to the Loire Valley would be incomplete without sampling some of its white wines. From the crisp, dry Sauvignon Blancs to the sweet, Chenin Blanc based dessert wines, these delicate, balanced products are a delight to discover.