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VALUES: EATING AND DRINKING IN TOURAINE

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LES VALEURS : A LA TABLE DE LA TOURAINE

Rabelais once described the region as the biggest orchard in France. Since then, Touraine has lived up to its reputation as a particularly fertile region. Charcuterie, fish, cheese, fruit, vegetables, wine: the region overflows with local produce, used to create its delicious and plentiful cuisine. Eating and drinking in Touraine is always a treat for the taste buds.

There’s a unique balance here between green fields, France’s longest wild river, coastal winds and sunshine. This region, known for its culinary heritage and gentle pace of life, is home to rich, fertile soil which produces an abundance of fruit and vegetables. A veritable garden, sweet, plump peas, beautiful asparagus, all kinds of tomatoes, pears, apricots and apples all grow in Touraine. With the region’s market gardening history and focus on quality, market days are a sight to behold. Local market stalls are piled high with a wide range of tasty, colorful food. Another of the region’s treasures: its wine, of course. The variety of its grapes produces exceptional red wines which are tannic yet light, delicate white wines, both dry and sweet, and unique sparkling vintages. It’s an incredible wine-growing region and you’ll enjoy every last drop that Touraine has to offer. Irrigated by the Loire River, which is more than 1,000 km long, the region is also home to plenty of fish too. Enjoy filleted or fried pike, tench, gudgeon and salmon. Until the turn of the century, sturgeon still swam in the waters of the Loire River, steeped in royal history; its caviar was served at aristocratic meals. Game and mushrooms abound in Touraine’s forests and are the basis of well-loved and plentiful recipes. The black truffle of Touraine, grown near Azay-le-Rideau and Richelieu, is another of the region’s specialties, just like saffron.

All these delicious ingredients lead to delicious recipes. Beuchelle Tourangelle, perfectly prepared by Chef Régis Guilpain at the Château de Beauvois, is a unique local specialty made using sweetmeats and calf kidneys, mushrooms and cream. Foodies will also be delighted by the deliciously tasty local specialties of pork rillettes and rillons. Rillettes de Tours have Indication Géographique Protégée (protected geographic status) and are sometimes served with bread rolls at fairs and markets. Charcuterie is another of the region’s key products: andouillette sausages in Vouvray wine, charbonnée, a stew made with pork offal and red wine, traditional Easter pâté and pâté de couenne, made using pork rind. When it comes to desserts, there’s plenty to choose from: fouace, a local brioche made with honey, spices and nuts, nougat de Tours, a tart garnished with almonds, apricot marmalade and candied fruit. And of course, there are Touraine’s pears! In Tours, they’re “smacked”. Pears are dried out in the oven and then flattened: they can be eaten like dried fruit or cooked in traditional recipes.

You’ll love eating and drinking in Touraine. As a staunch defender of France’s culinary tradition and heritage, Chef Régis Guilpain at the Château de Beauvois creates delicious dishes which are full of regional produce. His dishes change with the seasons, based on availability at local markets and whatever inspires him: taste them for yourself with the “Le Beauvois” lunch menu or the tasting menu.

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