Loire gastronomy and wines

Loire Valley gastronomy, a way of life

Rillettes and Loire wines, Crottin de Chavignol goat’s cheese and white butter sauce... The inventions of the cooks and farmers of the Loire have long delighted the palates of the whole country!

Terrasses de café sur la place Plumereau Terrasses de café sur la place Plumereau © P. Cornet

Culinary specialities for every taste

Charcuterie tourangelle : saucissons, rillettes, andouillette et rillons Charcuterie tourangelle : saucissons, rillettes, andouillette et rillons © C. Lazi

Loire Valley gastronomy is a delight for the most delicate of taste buds. If you like fish, then savour succulent zander or pike served with the famous white butter sauce invented here in the region and made with semi-salted butter, white wine and shallots.

Meat lovers should opt for Géline de Touraine, also known as La Dame Noire - a small black hen with particularly delicious meat. Or perhaps Rillons or Rillettes from Tours, sausages made with Muscadet wine or Rillauds from Anjou. Serve these specialities with the local Mogette beans for a 100%-Loire Valley dish!

Fruit aplenty

Poires tapées Poires tapées © C. Lazi

Fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant in this fertile country. There are top-quality apples, pears, cherries, asparagus and lamb’s lettuce, all full of flavour to serve with your meals. When dessert time comes round, how could anyone resist the famous Tarte Tatin from Sologne. Just as delicious a choice is an Angers plum pie full of greengage plums – known in France as Reine-Claude plums because they were a favourite of Claude, the wife of King François I!

The Loire Valley, one huge open-air cheese platter

Cheeses for the finest tables

Fromages de chèvre AOC et verre de vin Fromages de chèvre AOC et verre de vin © C. Lazi

Serving the right wine with the right cheese is no laughing matter here in the Loire! The Crottin de Chavignol – the famous small, round goat’s cheese with its tender centre and ripened surface – should be served with a white Sancerre. The cylindrical Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine – with its straw running down the middle of it goes perfectly with a Touraine Sauvignon or a Chinon.

The Loire Valley also has some cheese-making jewels made with cow’s milk. The Cendré d’Olivet, for example, surprises by the variety of its coatings (ash, hay or pepper, for example), while the richly-flavoured Curé Nantais boasts an interesting history. Its recipe is said to have been passed on in the 19th century by a churchman in Saint-Julien-de-Concelles in the Nantes vineyards. It is therefore only natural to serve it with a Muscadet wine.

Elegant local wines

From Sancerre to Muscadet, the land of a hundred wines!

In the Loire, the soils and the particularly mild climate produce wines with plenty of local character and some stylish vintages.

Les vignobles de l'Anjou Les vignobles de l'Anjou © E. Caracciolo

Sweet or dry, sparkling or still, red, white or rosé… you are sure to find something to suit you among the region’s prestigious AOCs. Just a few mouth-watering names for you: Sancerre – one of the best-known French wines around the world, Chinon – a classy red wine already much appreciated by Rabelais’ Gargantua, Muscadet, Saumur…

To get to know them better, follow the Loire à Vélo from the hills of Sancerre to the region of Nantes. There are sure to be wine-tasting opportunities along the way!

Alcohols and spirits: another facet of local culture

Beers, eaux de vie, aperitifs and digestifs also have their place in the Loire heritage

Did you know that the region is also rich in beers, with brewing continuing today in a number of towns and cities: Sancerre, Orléans (and its famous Johannique beer) and Chambord.

And did you know how we make our pear eau de vie here in the region? In the orchards of Orléans, the bottles are placed directly on the trees, incredible as it may seem. The fruit that grows inside each bottle gives the eau-de-vie all the more flavour.

Touring the distilleries

Distillerie Cointreau près d'Angers Distillerie Cointreau près d'Angers © N. Souto

You can also choose your itinerary to take you around the region’s many distilleries. In Saumur, the Combier distillery is the oldest in the Loire Valley. In Angers, learn the secrets of manufacturing Cointreau, the famous orange liqueur distilled since 1849.

Also in the Anjou area, you can enjoy Guignolet, a cherry liqueur. 

Finding the best places to eat

A variety of labels to guide you

Along the little country roads between Saumur and Nantes, you will come across one of our “Auberges de Village” offering a warm welcome and fresh, seasonal produce.

You can also trust your taste buds to restaurants bearing the “Cuisineries Gourmandes”, “Touraine Gourmande”, “Cuisine en Loir-et-Cher” or “Restaurateurs de France” labels guaranteeing top-quality service and good local food.

Riverside guinguettes: fresh fish and music

On the banks of the Loire in summer, in La Poissonnière, Saint-Rémy-la-Varenne, Montjean-sur-Loire and Tours, just follow the sound of music and it will take you to waterside cafés serving such specialities as Loire whitebait, eels or zander in white butter sauce... all in the easiest-going of atmospheres.

Gastronomy in pictures