- Regional specials
In this fertile land traversed by the mighty Loire, where the sun seems to shine everyday, it is hardly surprising that a getaway break or holiday turns out to be a delicious journey with many generous and authentic meals along the way.
Not just ordinary fruit & veg!
The region’s markets are laden with locally grown produce: artichokes and mushrooms vie for attention alongside sorrel and shallots. Last year’s harvested ‘Doyenné de Comice’ pear (grown only in the Loire Valley) sits together with cherries and greengage plums. There’s so much choice, you’ll have no problem filling your basket!
Thrills but no frills
Simple recipes using locally grown produce can produce some of the most delicious ‘no frills’ tastes. Take for example ‘Les Galipettes’, a large mushroom grown in the limestone quarries and caves around Saumur. Simply grill these with some garlic….superb! ‘La Fouace’, a sort of flatbread that is ideal to nibble in-between courses or as a starter topped with ‘rillauds’, small pieces of pork, flavoured, seasoned, and cooked very slowly in stock. Delicious!
Perch, pike and eel, straight from the waters of the Loire, pan fried with butter or stuffed with sorrel. On a sunny day, nothing beats the atmosphere of a riverside restaurant with lots of dancing and the inevitable plate of fried fish…it’s our tradition!
Someone once said that eating ‘Crémet d’Angers’ was like eating a cloud! OK, a little bizarre but then it is rather different. Fromage blanc (or whipping cream) mixed together with egg whites creates a fluffy, snow-like topping to a strawberry, plum or apple base – something for all seasons! Equally irresistible are ‘les Quernons d’Ardoise’ – small squares of nougatine of caramelised almonds and hazlenuts, covered in a blue chocolate (making it look like a slate tile)… a real treat and a hint of the creativity of the area’s chocolatiers!
In the kitchens of the great restaurants of the region, there is a new generation of chefs, mixing it up and looking to bring new flavours and exciting new ways of presenting the classics. There are many good examples in Angers, but two: ‘Favre d’Anne’ and ‘Une île’ are gastronomic finds that rival the refinement and inventiveness of some of France’s great food establishments.
Cointreau, Menthe-Pastille, Guignolet, Triple Sec… names of some of the great liqueurs that evoke another era and yet are still found in the trendiest bars and restaurants around the world. It is here in the Anjou that these fine spirits have been produced for centuries; their recipes jealousy guarded. Two of the stars of the show are Menthe-Pastille, which has acquired an international reputation for its minty taste and, of course, Cointreau, a subtle blend of sweet and bitter orange peel!