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A Taste of the Loir Valley

22 July 2020

Patrick Lehoux, Saint-Vincent-du-Lorouër. 24h/24h Rillettes for all

Since 2019, Patrick Lehoux in The Loir Valley has been selling the famous French rillettes from a vending machine next to his shop in St Vincent-du-Lorour. He also sells rillonsand sausage. In the first month alone he sold over a thousand portions as people flocked through day and night, now there are approximately 700 withdrawals per month of this famous chacuterie. So good are the cold meats that M. Lehoux has been given the Gold Medal at the Parisien Agricutural Show.

Restaurant Le Lucé

 

Photo credit: Adam Lynk - The Loir Valley

Photo credit: Adam Lynk

 

Restaurant Le Lucé, has only recently opened in the magnificent Chateau du Grand Lucé. The chef is Maxime Thomas who learnt his trade under the watchful eye of Anne-Sophie Pic. His dishes are complemented by fresh produce from the garden and orchards. The menu offers just three choices for each course that change with the seasons. The bistronomique lunch menu is just 42€ and the gastronomique dinner just 75€.

 

Photo credit: Restaurant Le Lucé - The Loir Valley

Photo credit: Restaurant Le Lucé

 

The Wines : Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir wines

 

Photo credit: Stevan Lira - The Loir Valley

Photo credit: Stevan Lira

 

The wines of the Loir have long been celebrated – by Ronsard and Rabelais for example, and were served at the table of Henri IV as they were a great favourite of his. The unique Jasnières wine is solely associated to the Loir as was one of the first French wines to be accorded AOC status in 1937.  Grown from Chenin Blanc, the white obtains an exceptional bouquet almost as soon as harvested and often become fine wines when kept.

Côteau du Loir was recognised as AOC in 1948.  The reds are light and are renowned for their spicy tones. They come from the Pineau d’Aunis grape variety.

To taste and purchase these exceptional wines – amongst others, there are many caves in the Loir that almost an open door policy. Six growers however have signed a hosting quality charter that signifies that they offer AOC educational tasting, sales by the unit and a characterful environment.
Wine Cave – Christophe Croisardwww.laraderie.fr
Photo credit: Stevan Lira - The Loir Valley
Photo credit: Stevan Lira
Wine Cave – Amandine & Xavier Fresnaultwww.fresneau.fr and  www.coteauxduloir.com
Wine Cave – Olivier Championwww.jasnieres-champion.com
Photo credit: Stevan Lira - The Loir Valley
Photo credit: Steven Lira
Wine Cave – Claire, Francine & Raynald Lelaiswww.domainelelais.com
Wine Cave – Vins Gigouwww.gigou-jasnieres.com
Wine Cave – Sébestien Cornillewww.domaindelarochebleue.fr

Le Comptoir Gourmand (La Chartre-sur-le-Loir)

Le Comptoir Gourmand (La Chartre-sur-le-Loir) offers fine food at its best!  Jams, pickles, coffee, sweets, chocolates, spice, teas etc. There is a tea room with an indoor garden, library, wine cellar and a cosy room with a log fire.

Boulangerie Pâtisserie à Lhomme

Boulangerie Pâtisserie à Lhomme is a gourmet destination where everything is home made – macaroons, pastries, chocolates and the Sarthe speciality – the apple cake. They even do take away picnics.

Délices et Casteloir Delicatessen (Château-du-Loir)

Délices et Casteloir Delicatessen (Château-du-Loir) offers exclusive products, specialities of the Vallée du Loir with free tastings, a superb wine cellar, gourmet hampers, freshly roasted coffees and citrus specialities too.

Other specialist producers …

Mousse et Chocolat (Château-du-Loir) – gourmet souvenirs for all tastes of fine chocolates, artisanal biscuits and more than 150 beers

Gaec des Deux Saints (Nogent-sur-Loir) – Since 1965 organic produce such as apple juice, apple and blackcurrant, sparkling and still drinks, tomato juice, green tomatoes, potatoes  etc

Torréfacteur des cafés Lucor (La Flèche)Luc and Corinne are coffee roasters extraordinaire offering eight varieties of Arabica coffee, twelve superior teas and bio chocolate

Sablésienne (La Flèche) – a family biscuit business that has been here since 1962 and produces biscuits free from flavourings, preservatives etc.

La pâtisserie Guillermard (La Flèche) – Sebastian Guillemard is a supreme chocolate, ice cream, pastry chef with over 30 years’ experience making the finest products. His Prytannéens (local speciality) and macarons are well renowned.

 

Photo credit: La pâtisserie Guillermard - The Loir Valley

Photo credit: La pâtisserie Guillermard

 

Guillaume Leroy – Drive (La Fleche) – the best fruit and veg in town – sold fresh from a vending machine so available 24h/24h.
Guillaume Loyer raises the finest poultry that has won many prizes over the years at agricultural shows

Not to be missed …

Photo credit: Vallée du Loir - The Loir Valley

Photo credit: Vallée du Loir

 

Museum of Coffee Pots and Household Objects – Close to Chteau-du-Loir this unusual museum contains all sort of bits and pieces made in enamel such as old plates and saucepans.

Le Moulin des Quatre Saisons – Le Moulin des Quatre Saisons is a wonderful restaurant in La Flèche on the River Loir. They have been making take-away baskets of delicious food throughout lockdown to the delight of local residents.

A veritable hidden gem …
there’s more to the little Loir without the “e” than you might think

Travelling to the Vallée du Loir: Take the Eurostar or fly to Paris and travel from Paris Montparnasse Train Station via TGV Atlantique direct to Le Mans (55 minutes) – gateway to The Loir. It’s also only a two-three hour drive from Caen.

 

Notes for editors: The Loir Valley is situated between Le Mans, Tours, Laval and Angers.  The little Loir, a cousin of the larger Loire, into which the river flows, means ‘dormouse’. This conjures a very apt description of the area – sleepy, rolling French countryside, with charming villages and enchanting towns that seem to belong to a past era when life was less busy and complicated.

The Loir has throughout history been lauded for its gentle style of living. The river was always the lifeline bringing building materials to construct some of the luxuriant châteaux such as Château du Lude, grand enough to rival those of the Loire further south. There are some gorgeous gardens otherwise explore nature where outdoor activities abound.

This is the most northerly outpost of Loire AOC wines which can be enjoyed in the restaurants scattered throughout the region such as Le Moulin de Quatre Saisons in La Flèche.

For more information please visit www.vallee-du-loir.com.