What to eat and where: Centre
Specialities like Cendré d’Olivet (a cow’s milk cheese) and Pithiviers (a puff pastry pie filled with almond paste) take their names from the places where they are produced. But did you know that the famous French tarte tatin also originated here?
- Geline de Touraine – an old breed of black hen also known as a ‘Dame Noire’. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in Loches, November 2013.
- Rillettes – a coarse pork pate from Tours.
- Rillons de Tours – cubes of belly pork fried with herbs and spices.
- Andouillettes – tripe sausages, traditionally marinated and cooked in Vouvray.Fruit and vegetables
- Tours prunes – no ordinary prunes, the pruneaux de Tours may be filled with apricot jam and crushed almonds. Pay a visit to Huimes, where you can see the ovens (fours a pruneaux) where the plums were dried in limestone cave dwellings.
- Garlic and basil – the annual Foire à l’Ail et au Basilic in Vieux Tours is a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. It is held every 26 July.
- Quince – used to make cotignac d’Orléans jelly, a speciality sold in small pine boxes. In the past, Orléans supplied French kings with cotignac.
- Pears – dried (poires tappées from Rivarennes) or used to make eau de vieBread, Cheese and wine
- Fouaces – the writer François Rabelais was born in Chinon and helped make the fouace famous, publishing a recipe for the saffron spiced rolls in his work Gargantua and Pantagruel.
- Sainte-Maure de Touraine – a log shaped AOC goat’s cheese covered with a grey mould. Inside is a long piece of straw to help hold it together. Takes its name from Sainte-Maure de Touraine near Chinon.
- Le Cendré d’Olivet – a cow’s milk cheese, rolled in ashes. Made in Olivet, where cattle graze along the River Loire.
- Wines – reds: Chinon, Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil; whites: Vouvray, Montlouis, Amboise, Azay le Rideau; sparkling: Vouvray, rosé: TouraineSweet treats
- Forestines – from Bourges. Pretty pastel coloured boiled sweets filled with chocolate praline.
- Macarons aux Fruits d’Orléans – a relatively recent invention from 2006, they come in four flavours: strawberry and Orléans vinegar, pear and ginger, creamy hazlenut, candied rose petals with lime and cinnamon.
- Nougat de Tours – not nougat as we know it, but a cake. Much like a bakewell tart with apricot jam, frangipane and a handful of dried fruit. Local boulangers and pâtissiers are involved in an annual competition to produce the best nougat in the area.
- Mazet pralines – in 1903 Léon Mazet arrived in Montargis, where he set up Maison Mazet to sell his caramelised nuts, which are still being made with traditional methods.
- Pithiviers gâteau – a puff pastry pie from Pithiviers, traditionally filled with almond paste.
- Tarte Tatin – invented by Stéphanie Tatin at Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron in an attempt to salvage a traditional apple pie gone wrong.
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