Loire Valley, part 3 (Muscadet and Chinon)

15-DSC05526 Only a few hours on our watch to spend in Muscadet, but our destination was specific; Domaine de L’Ecu to meet Monsieur Fred Niger Van Herck. I first tried Muscadet just over four years ago when tasting for a summer menu, it was a Domaine de L’Ecu wine and I’ve been searching for that same WOW in a Muscadet ever since. I wanted to know what it is that make their wine so crisp and clean, and superior to other Muscadets and only an hour drive from Dominique and Noelle home was a worthwhile diversion on our path toward Chinon. Continue reading

The Power of Loire, part 2

Our friend Seamus Sheridan of Sheridan’s Cheesemongers in Galway and Dublin, connected us with Dominique and Noelle Pairochon, a lovely couple living in Chalonnes-sur-Loire who would be our hosts for several days. Dominique is an executive for a large French bank, the Deputy Grand Master of the Fins Gousiers of Anjou (aka “Fraternity of Fine Wine and Food of Anjou), former honorary mayor of Challones-sur-Loire, and one hell of a nice guy. Noelle is his adorable wife and was our gateway to learning about home cooking and hospitality in the French countryside. Continue reading

The Power of Loire

At 629 miles, the Loire is France’s longest river, flowing north from it’s source in Mon Gerbier de Jonc, just west of Valence to Orleans, then turning west to its outflow into the Atlantic near St. Nazaire, in Brittany. As most major rivers, it has served as a trading avenue and thus facilitated an outgrowth of population from its banks. With the people comes a need for food, recipes, and thereby a culture of food and cuisine.

The Loire Valley is often called France’s garden and is known by many as one of the world’s top wine producing regions. The Loire River creates a unique microclimate that has spawned many farms and is home to a huge variety of plants and wildlife, both in and around it. All of which have had a heavy influence in France’s culinary history and traditions. Continue reading