Loire Atlantique Cuisine and Wine

Muscadet and moules, Loire Atlantique, Western Loire, France

As a coastal region, it is obvious seafood and shellfish will be important - local specialties in Loire Atlantique.

Spoil yourself with scallops from Le Croisic or moules (mussels) and a glass of chilled white Gros Plant - even drier than Muscadet .

Salt from Guerande, richer in minerals than salt from Ile de Re, is great for grilling whole fish such as sardines from La Turballe which are sold in the streets at 13 to the dozen.

If you prefer fresh water fish, then you can enjoy some choice specimens served in beurre blanc (a sauce made with shallots, butter and white wine said to have been created in Western France) with delicious vegetables grown near the riverside.

Inland, Loire Atlantique’s meadows and marshes have given the region fine Chateaubriant beef fillets and tasty Challan duck.

Nantes has a reputation for gastronomy and is the birthplace of the famed LU biscuits which appeared in the late nineteenth century - named after Mr Lefèvre and Miss Utile. BN (Biscuits Nantais) biscuits, gateau Nantais, or Nantes cake, (a mix of sugar, almonds, butter and island rum) and the burnt sugar sweets known as berlingots were all created here.

Restaurants in Nantes could be the ideal place to sample Muscadet, the dry white wine produced from local vineyards and so perfect with seafood. There are numerous cellars in the area such as Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire and Muscadet de Sevre et Maine.

The resort and ancient port of Pornic also creates some delights for the taste buds. Soft cure Nantais cheese made from untreated milk with a washed rind is made here (said to have been created by a priest from the Vendee escaping the Revolution) and the little company of La Fraiseraie grows and processes strawberries into everything from jam to ice cream using natural products.

Take some home and pick your own - from mid-May. Shop Tel: (00 33) 2 40 82 08 21. The Breton beer-making tradition lives on in Brasserie de la Cote de Jade which uses traditional brewing methods to make specialist ‘Brigantine’ beers and lager and is open to visitors. Tel: (00 33) 2 40 82 87 16.

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