Taking a seat at a restaurant table resplendent with colorful dishes, and featuring all the freshness of spring does wonders for the morale. Gardens may be stirring after their long winter slumber, but dining tables are where spring flavors truly are in full bloom. As traditional riverboats drift lazily down the Loire River, the sun is returning to the kitchens and producing its bounty of asparagus, strawberries and herbs.
Spring clearly is shaping up to be a gourmet season at the Château Le Prieuré and Château de Beauvois. One-star Michelin chef Richard Prouteau, and Chef Régis Guilpain have selected the best of what spring has to offer and have designed a menu where fresh flavors reign supreme. The starter menu showcases the bright white of spring with white for the natural asparagus and horseradish cream, green for the pea velouté, artichokes and spring vegetable stack, and green once more for the organic asparagus and its verbena/tarragon sorbet.
Nature has brought its inspiration to the kitchen with its most prized treasures. Scallops and langoustines reach their full potential in April and May. The tangy taste of the Timut peppercorns and citrus fruit risotto is a match made in heaven with the generous lightly-seared pearly scallops, while the langoustines and scallops together are imbued with lemongrass and green berry lentils.
The chefs also have taken a seasonal approach to the selection of meat courses. The saddle of lamb is accompanied by sesame seeds with wasabi, spring vegetables and moussaka cannelloni. The tender, melt-in-the-mouth veal is served with the perfect seasonal accompaniment – an asparagus and bacon beignet. Springtime beef is a delight for the taste buds and is presented with artichokes and new potatoes for a bright, all-spring dish. The dessert menu is infused with rose red strawberries, which are served plain or with a balsamic sorbet, or they are featured with a stunning asparagus crème brûlée on a shortbread biscuit base for a sublime ending. Spring also is the ideal season for mouth-watering dessert pairings, such as a multi-textured rhubarb dessert served with ewe’s milk cheese.
Outside both chateau, the parks and gardens are an open invitation to enjoy the fragrances of spring and stretch the legs. Further down the road, the Loire River should be explored by cycling along the banks or embarking on an excursion aboard a traditional riverboat to the sound of the lapping waves. As a cultural treat for both the mind and eyes, pay a visit to the Château de Villandry and Château de Langeais. The Château de Langeais, built in 992 A.D. features a distinctive dual architectural style, with a feudal design facing the city and a Renaissance-inspired style facing the courtyard. The Château de Villandry is guaranteed to take your breath away with its majestic size and its spectacular sculpted French formal gardens that are a true work of art. Enjoy a walk through the maze if you dare.
Whether dining or enjoying the great outdoors, spring is the season when nature truly comes alive, so sink your teeth into all that nature has to offer!