France: Loire Valley

Around Angers

The birthplace of Chenin Blanc
By Jim Budd

This Guide was last updated on 19 April 2011
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Food specialities

Rillettes de Porc: a delicious, rough-textured hash of pork conserved in its own fat. Very fatty, this dish requires a high acid wine to cut through the richness so try a young Cabernet Franc or an Anjou Blanc.

Rillauds de Porc: large cubes of pork, salted and cooked for a long time till tender. Known in Touraine as rillons. Can be served hot, warm or cold. Still rich but not so fatty as rillettes and they work well with a young Anjou Blanc, Anjou Rouge or Anjou Gamay. See also Fête de la Rillaudée under 'Events'.

Andouillette: although best known around Tours this large sausage made with pork offal – rustic and very strongly flavoured – is still popular here. Difficult to be neutral about andouillettes – you either love or hate them. Often grilled in Anjou. Good with Chenin Blanc or a young red – Anjou Rouge or a light style Anjou Villages.

Fricassée Poulet Angevine: chicken sautéed with local wine – either an Anjou Blanc sec or demi-sec – with local cream and local mushrooms added at the end. Choose an Anjou Blanc, a Savennières or even one of the less sweet cuvées of Coteaux de l’Aubance.

Beurre Blanc: a Loire classic – a rich sauce, made from a reduction of shallots, wine vinegar and a little wine to which butter is added, to accompany grilled or poached fish. Ideal with a Savennières around five years old.

Friture: fry-up of tiny river fish, popular throughout the Loire and a speciality of the guinguettes (typical riverside restaurant-bars) along the river.

Matelote d’anguille: eels caught in the Loire stewed in wine, this dish is eaten from Nantes through Chinon, with slight regional variations.

Crémet: a delicious mixture of fromage frais, crème frais, whipped egg whites and caster sugar and put in a mould. Served as a dessert with seasonal fresh fruits or a fruit coulis or both. A Coteaux du Layon or a Coteaux de l’Aubance will add to the pleasure.

Pâte de Prunes: double-crusted pie with a filling of Reine-Claude (greengage) plums. Only available when this fruit is in season from mid-August until September. Widely available from patisserie shops, a Coteaux du Layon or a Coteaux de l’Aubance is a natural partner. 

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