The green and fertile valleys of the Loire grow the vines, fruit and tender vegetables which give the region its title of ‘Garden of France’. Loir et Cher is particularly known for its asparagus, artichokes, strawberries and Sologne honey.
Rivers supply salmon and trout. Sandre (pike-perch) is a favourite river fish often served in a beurre blanc or mushroom sauce.
Wild boar, venison, pheasant, and wild mushrooms come from the marshes and forests of the Solonge.
Cultivated mushrooms grown commercially in limestone caves left by tufa stone quarrying top the menu in the restaurant at Les Roches mushroom cellar at Bourre. Take a tour of their growing caves from April to Nov. Buy regional produce including mushrooms at the Val Saint Andre mushroom cellar, Villiers-sur-Loir which also gives tours all year from Tues - Sat.
Enjoy quality AOC wines including Valencay and light fruity red Touraine wines made from Gamay grapes in the Cher Valley. AOC goat’s milk cheeses, made by farmers of the lower Vendome area, go perfectly with Coteaux Vendomais wines and crusty bread. Choose little round Selles-sur-Cher, soft log-shaped Saint-Maure-de Touraine or Saint-Pierre Valencay.
For dessert, fresh goat curd cheese from the market is delicious with sugar or fruit.
Lamotte-Beuvron in the Sologne is the place to sample the region’s famous tarte tatin - upside-down apple pie - created originally by culinary accident.
‘Fraise-Or’ Distillerie Girardot on the road to Chenonceaux specialises in liqueurs based on fruits and spices - even rose petals. Chocolate lovers should treat themselves to something special from Blois’ famous Chocolaterie Poulain. Tour the factory, founded in 1848.