A TASTE OF THE LOIRE VALLEY – FRANCE

The climate here remains favourable most of the year.  Spring is a wonderful time to visit the Loire Valley, the fruit trees in the region’s many orchards bursting into colour as soon as the weather warms up and gets sunnier. During the spring season, the Loire Valley sees temperatures increase after the winter. The average high temperature rises from 10°C in March to 14°C in April to 19°C in May. The summers in the Loire Valley tend to be warm and sunny. The high temperature usually averages around 22-23°C in the afternoon.

The top three things to do/see in the Loire Valley

Tour the Château de Chenonceau

Perhaps the most famous of the many castles in the region, Chenonceau is a sight to behold. Spanning— literally— the River Cher, this attractive mix of late Gothic and early Renaissance architectural styles is best known for being the residence of Queen Catherine de Medici. The endless rooms and halls are decorated sumptuously, and feature historical info to boot.

 

Partake in some wine tasting at Bouvet-Ladubay

For an extensive guided tour of one of France’s best producers of sparkling wine, look no further than this winery. It possesses no fewer than 10 miles of wine cellars— with a tasting at the end of the tour. Worried about walking so many subterranean miles? Fear not; the winery offers cycling tours.

Take in the art at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours

This delightful art museum, housed in the bishop’s former palace, is located in the peaceful heart of Tours’ old town. It features one of France’s most extensive collections of art, with artists including Rubens, Monet, and more. Don’t miss the sculpture collection, which includes ancient classical Roman and Greek pieces, as well as sculptures of historic French monarchs.

 

The Loire cuisine is rich in flavours and textures, drawing on the fresh ingredients that are grown in the region. A wide array of fruit and vegetables grown here include: white and green asparagus, Nantes lamb’s lettuce, leeks, radishes, artichokes, button mushrooms, cherries, strawberries (a star on the summer market stands is the Mara des Bois, small and juicy variety), apples and many more.

Born and “bread” – fouace or fouée

The Loire is the birthplace of writer François Rabelais and his most famous character, Gargantua – a giant with an enormous appetite and a craving for the local fouaces – little pockets or turnovers stuffed with many different fillings such as rillettes (a pork paté-style dish), melted butter or goat’s cheese. A staple of the local cuisine, this traditional bread can be found in regional restaurants and markets – one is plain and baked in a wood-fired oven, the other looks and tastes more like a brioche. It makes a perfect side dish or appetiser.

Something’s fishy

Freshwater fish is a popular part of the Loire Valley diet and has been caught by locals since pre-Roman times. Sandre (pikeperch) and brème (bream) are especially popular. These have a delicate flavour, which is complemented by a sauce that really brings this flavour out, such as beurre blanc. This sauce is made with butter, shallots and vinegar. You can expect mouth-watering food and wine, with meals included everywhere except Amboise where there’s a wonderful selection of restaurants for you to choose from.

Cheese, please!

A haven for cheese lovers, the most popular type of cheese in the Loire is goat’s cheese, which comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures. Each one has its own distinct taste and can be paired perfectly with one of the local wines of the region. You might like to try Sainte Maure, a long log-shaped cheese, which goes well with a red Chinon wine, or Selles-sur-Cher from the neighbouring Blesois region, which requires a fresh, crisp wine such as a white Muscadet.

 

Yours Truly,

Charlotte Fellows

Researcher and Writer

 

 

 

 Sarah McNaught

Managing Director

lovegoostrey@gmail.com

 

Comments

  1. Reply

    I took a tour of the wine cellars and a boat ride along the river. Very tranquil indeed.
    However, I found the hotel food similar to that of a Youth Hostel.
    So, be aware that you will need to accept hard rolls, tepid tea, rubbery cheese and slimy fish.
    Best to eat in the town and enjoy great food, culture and a great buzz.

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