Taste some regional treats!
Taste some regional treats! - Atlantic Loire Valley, France
Enjoy this selection of culinary specialities from the Pays de la Loire, the envy of other regions! From rillauds and Mayenne cheese to gâteau nantais or Vendée ham, this is bound to make your mouth water...
The ultimate winemaking region, Maine-et-Loire also knows a thing or two about food! An example of this is rillauds, pieces of pork belly confited in fat. Those with a sweet tooth will no doubt covet the quernon d'ardoise, a little square of crispy nougatine covered in blue-coloured chocolate, or the crémet d'Anjou, a cloud of fromage blanc and whipped cream sauced with red fruit coulis. Other specialities include fried eel, pâté with prunes and fouaces (fougasse), little loaves of bread garnished with different things and baked.
Mayenne's culinary heritage is going through an exciting time! In terms of cheese, Entrammes, an organic delight made from raw milk, has taken over from the famous Port Salut that was once made by local monks. Along with potatoes and beef, it is one of the ingredients for tourte mayennaise, a brand new speciality. The pâtisserie Derval de Laval, meanwhile, has created Sabots de Pégase, a chocolate filled with caramel-hazelnut ganache. Finally, trout from Parné-sur-Roc has long shown off its delicate flavour in the region's best restaurants.
Welcome to the land of meat and charcuterie. The leaders of the pack are Loué chicken and Maine d'Anjou beef, and above all the famous rillette, pork cooked in pork fat and then shredded. Perfect for keeping warm in winter, the marmite sarthoise combines rabbit, pork belly and chicken with cabbage and Paris mushrooms, all simmered in a vegetable broth with Jasnières, the local white wine. Also try the famous sablé biscuit, a kind of shortbread created in Sablé-sur-Sarthe.
Developed over a century ago by Clémence Lefeuvre, in a restaurant in Saint-Julien-de-Concelles where Aristide Briand liked to go, the famous beurre blanc sauce is a wonderful accompaniment to fish from the Loire such as zander or pike. A few hundred yards away, the Cité des Ducs de Bretagne no longer makes its boiled sweet, but still delights with its gâteau nantais, cooked with almonds, butter and rum. The Curé Nantais, a soft cheese with a particular flavour, is made in Pornic in a factory that the general public can visit, while fleur de sel has given Guérande its reputation.
Home to the mogette, the large white bean that goes so well with meat dishes, the Vendée also produces an excellent ham prepared with salt, a mix of herbs and the local eau de vie. In terms of the sea, sardines from Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie already have a solid reputation, as does the Vendée Atlantique oyster. We could also mention sole sablaise, Noirmoutier potatoes and préfou, bread filled with butter and garlic, not forgetting the famous brioche vendéene and bottereaux, the pieces of fried dough loved by little ones!