Food Travels-France, Part Une. Loire Valley.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Summer's almost here and I wish I were vacationing in Europe. A while ago, my friend Pierre and I took a weekend trip to the Loire Valley, where we visited castles galore and (I) ate like crazy. Despite butchering the language, there was no reprimanding by indignant French people; instead I think they appreciated the fact that I even tried. After amusing numerous shop owners though, I just gave up and reverted to:
Me: Bonjour Madame! Parlez-vous anglais?
Every single French person: Oui. A little.
Me: Yay!

There's something to be said about French cuisine in the countryside. It's so refreshingly simple, and oh so delicious, no doubt due to the freshness of the organic produce and free-range livestock. I must have eaten spoonfuls of pure beurre with everything because it was just so sublime, a notion I would find disgusting elsewhere.

The quaint B&B we stayed at.

On our first stop, we visited the Ch√Ęteau de Chambord, an impressive sight for its distinctly French renaissance style. It was also said that one of my favorite liqueurs, Chambord (raspberry) was introduced to Louis XIV on his visit to the chateau. Magnificent Views from the top.

Another castle visited: Chateau Blois.
Infanta Marie Therese and her distinctive silhouette.
No lunch would be complete without the requisite jambon beurre, no? Thin, unctuous slices of flavorful ham layered upon a buttered french loaf....
For dessert, I had the “religieuse” or "eclair of the nuns", a pastry aptly named for its resemblance to nun habits. Kinda cheeky don't you think?
Before we knew it, it was dinner time. So on to Restaurant La Cave, an establishment which not surprisingly is situated in a cave or troglodyte. Troglodytes are perfect for shelter, retaining heat during the winter and keeping things cool in the summer. Within the Loire valley, many troglodytes play host to maturing cheeses and wines. 

Starting the evening right with a chilled sec Vouvray made from Chenin Blanc.

Foie Gras with prunes and a sprinkle of fleur de sel. Delicate and briny. 
Confit de Canard with roasted vine tomatoes.
Apricot Frangipane tart with creme anglais.Chocolate mousse. This was meh

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