In January, our Gastronomy & Wine Program invites you to explore the flavors of the Loire Valley, embracing local gastronomy and wines:

From savoring rillettes to sipping Sancerre, immerse yourself in the traditional foods and wines cherished by the locals. The Loire Valley transcends its opulent châteaux; it's a region steeped in culture and history, once home to renowned royalty and nobility, where sumptuous cuisine and exquisite wines flourished.

Castle of Saumur and vineyards, one of the most famous castles of the Loire Valley.

This makes it an ideal destination for food enthusiasts. Located around 50 miles (80 km) from Paris, the Loire Valley evolved into an idyllic retreat—a countryside haven for leisure, hunting, and exclusive social gatherings.
In 1577, a decree by the Parliament of Paris compelled wine merchants to stock up on local wines, catalyzing the development of vineyards in the Loire Valley. This led to the flourishing of industries, particularly in cheeses and other local specialties, promising an exceptional experience for any visitor to the area.
So, whether you're wandering from Amboise to Tours, or Orléans to Chenonceau, if you're exploring this part of France, be prepared to indulge in the culinary and oenological delights of the Loire Valley. Bon appétit!
  1. Wine
    Scene from Sancerre- a wine region in France.

While the Loire Valley may not boast the most renowned wines compared to other French regions, did you know that it ranks as the top French region in white wine production with appellation and holds the #3 position for all types of wines combined after Bordeaux and Rhone?

Just about 2 hours from Paris, some of the prominent names from this area include the Sancerre and Chinon AOC, available in red, white, and rosé.

There's also the white wine Pouilly Fumé, made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape. Often mistaken for Burgundy's Pouilly Fuissé, made from the Chardonnay grape, Fumé boasts a fresh, dry taste in contrast to Fuissé's floral, nutty profile. Other notable wines from the region are Anjou Rosé and Muscadet blanc.

  1. Beurre Blanc Sauce
Also known as Beurre nantais, owing to its origin in the city of Nantes along the Loire river, this sauce includes butter, vinegar or white wine, and shallots. It serves as a warm accompaniment to seafood, traditionally paired with poached or grilled fish like pike, salmon, and codfish. It complements grilled shellfish such as shrimp, crab, and lobster perfectly. Join us on the 18th of January for our Cooking session to learn the secrets of preparing this versatile and delicious sauce!

  1. Tarte Tatin
 Did you know that the famous tarte Tatin originates from the Loire region? Courtesy of sisters Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin, who invented it in the late 19th century, this dessert is a variation of the tarte aux pommes (apple pie), featuring caramelized apples topped with pastry. Join us on the 18th of January for our Cooking session to learn the secrets of preparing this indulgent tart!

  1. Goat Cheeses Traditional French goat milk cheese Saint-Maure-de-Touraine.
France is synonymous with cheese, and the Loire Valley reigns supreme in goat cheese production. Notable varieties include Bûche de chèvre (originally from Poitou-Charentes), Saint-Maur (Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine), Crottin de Chavignol (from Chavignol, home to just 200 residents), and Valençay, recognized for its distinctive pyramid shape; Legend has it that the pyramid's tip was cut off because Napoleon Bonaparte, vexed by the sight of a pyramid after his defeat in Egypt, removed it with a sword.

  1. Rillettes
Rillettes, somewhat akin to pâtés and terrines, involve slow-cooking shredded meat preserved in fat. In the Loire Valley, notable variations include rillettes de Tours, named after the city of Tours, and rillettes du Mans, named after Le Mans, the capital of the Sarthe department. Both varieties are made from pork.

  1. Biscuit Sablé
Originating from Sablé-sur-Sarthe in the Loire region, this biscuit is made from flour, butter, sugar, and sometimes egg yolks, swiftly mixed to achieve a "sandy" consistency.

If you enjoyed this article, come and discover more about Food and Wine from the Loire on the 18th of January (Cooking Class) and the 24th of January (Wine Seminar).

Stay tuned; in February we will discover Food and Wine from Jura and Savoy...

Delphine Gastronomy & Wine Program Manager             

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