Close to the Loire river and its fertile soil, Anjou enjoys an abundance of local produce, including freshwater fish, fruit and vegetables, which are all used in the region’s traditional, rustic and deliciously slow-cooked cuisine. Dishes are comforting and local specialties are incredibly appetizing. Described as “decent, constant, sincere, with pure lines and simple forms” by Edmond Sailland, aka Curnonsky, the famous gastronome and culinary critic, Anjou’s regional cuisine is truly mouth-watering.
Regional dishes feature a wide range of fruit and vegetables, fish from the Loire river, charcuterie, cheese and fruit-based desserts, not forgetting the fantastic wines from the local area. The region’s cuisine focuses on traditional dishes, served with a wine sauce or hidden in a pie with a golden-brown crust. One of Anjou’s most well-known dishes is gouline, the local word used to describe a young child’s face. Gouline is packed with local flavors: button mushrooms, rillauds (pork belly), local shallots with protected geographical indication (PGI), sweet Chenin wine and Tomme d’Anjou cheese are included to create a delicious filled pie. Rillauds are a culinary specialty of their own! Cubes of salted pork belly are slowly cooked in lard until brown; they can be eaten hot or cold, but must be enjoyed with a glass of local wine. The members of the Confrérie des Faiseux de Rillauds d’Anjou (the local guild of rillaud makers) preserve and promote this traditional dish, wearing robes and even singing songs! Another unmissable dish: the traditional Anjou veal rump stew. Braised veal fillet (including the fat) is cooked slowly in the oven with wine, onions, mushrooms and carrots, before cream is added to the sauce; a tasty crowd-pleaser. The Loire eel also features in Anjou’s cuisine: it’s served, cut up, in a fish stew with mushrooms, onions and bouquet garni and a deliciously smooth wine sauce. When it comes to desserts, there’s one clear winner: plum pie. The pie, made with two layers of short-crust pastry, is filled with a generous helping of sweet, strongly fragranced Reine Claude plums; a warm slice is utterly heavenly. Something light to finish off? It has to be crémet d’Anjou. Curnonsky described this creamy local dessert as a “feast for the gods”. He continued: “no Chantilly cream could ever match this fluffy, fragranced, light, smooth mound.” But what is it? Crémet d’Anjou is a combination of fresh whipped cream and egg whites, poured into a mold and served cold with crème fraiche, sugar or a red berry coulis. Grab a spoon!
Delicious Anjou cuisine. When visiting the area, treat your taste buds and head to Le Sévigné, Château de la Perrière’s gourmet restaurant in Avrillé, where you can enjoy the superb combination of griddled turbot fillet and rillauds, beautifully prepared by the Chef and his team. Bon appétit.