Enjoying The Loire's Cuisine

Because of the overwhelming access to the Atlantic, the Loire River, and its tributaries, mush of the cuisine found in the Loire Valley is based on seafood and fish.  In the lower Loire, the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean drives much of the cuisine, with many plates serving oysters (huîtres) and mussels (moules), frequently prepared in a simple manner with white wine and shallots.  As you travel further inland, the menus tend to switch from fruits de mer, to freshwater fish like pike (brochet), shad (alose), and crawfish (écrevisses).  These fish are most frequently served in a sauce based on the local wine, the most famous of which is beurre blanc (butter, white wine, and shallots).

For those who prefer their meats to fish, the Valley produces an array of pork products that are prepared into different types of boudin (sausages), jambon (ham) in Sancerre, and rillettes in Anjou.  Wild game once extensively hunted by royalty and is still available.  Many restaurants will have menus that include quail, rabbit, boar and other game.  The best match for these dishes is Cabernet Franc from Chinon.

For those who don't care for
viande (meat) or poissons (fish), the Loire Valley is known as the Garden of France.  There are an abundance of asparagus, cucumbers, leeks, tomatoes, and fennel served up from the farmlands.  The orchards of the valley provide apples, pears, cherries, melons, strawberries, and blackberries, which are frequently made into tarts.

Like the rest of France, cheese plays an important part of the cuisine of the Loire.  The most famous local cheeses are made from goat's milk into
Crottin de Chavignol, Valencay or Selles-sur-Cher.

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