Mayenne Cuisine and Wine

Cider apples grown in Mayenne, Western Loire, France

Welcome to the land of poultry - poulet, turkey, goose and guinea-fowl are all excellent here!

Mayenne chickens can be seasoned a myriad ways, but apple and honey is the local recipe par excellence. In an area where fishing is so popular most restaurants will offer a variety of fish dishes.

Be different and try the local sandre au berre blanc (pike-perch with a sauce of butter, shallots and vinegar). Sample Port-Salut, an excellent but strong local cheese produced in the Port-Salut abbey in Entrammes, near Laval and today more associated with Brittany.

Other Mayenne specialities include butter, honey, pomme (a sort of reduced apple jam), aniseed sweets and crottins craonnais (a chocolate delicacy).

Vine culture is limited in Mayenne and cider is the most common alcoholic beverage. Visit the Musee du Cidre de Melleray at Lassay-les-Chateaux to learn how cider and apple and pear brandy are made. Follow the process from picking to bottling and sampling the produce. Open every day Easter to end September. Tel: (00 33) 2 43 04 71 48.

Interestingly there are many theories surrounding the origins of Mayonnaise sauce which may or may not have originated here. One theory is that it was unnamed until after the Battle of Arques in 1589 when the then duc de Mayenne lingered over his meal of chicken with cold sauce before being defeated by Henri IV in battle.

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