Saone et Loire Cuisine and Wine
The cuisine of Saone et Loire is as rich as any in Burgundy, based on meat, cheese, creamy sauces and wine.What better place to try bouef bourguignon (beef stewed slowly with mushrooms, little onions and red wine) than the home of prime Charolais beef and Cote Chalonnaise and Maconnais wines. You'll find the history of this exceptional breed in Maison du Charolais in Charolles www.institut-charolais.com
Tel: (00 33) 3 85 88 04 00. Good grazing around Charolles also produced fine lamb. The Charollais breed was developed by crossing English Leicestershire rams with the local sheep. Ham from the Morvan hills tastes as good as (some say better than) that from Parma. It's also the basis for a variety of charcuterie and a terrine with parsley in aspic.
Saone et Loire is a major producer of goats cheeses and le Charolais and le Maconnais both have the coveted AOC label of quality. Try blue Bresse cows milk cheese. Bresse chickens also have an AOC label. Reared under strict conditions, they are the only birds in France to have this award. Try le Poulet de Bresse a la crème and you'll know why. Louhans Tourist Office organizes guided visits to its Bresse poultry market in the main street each Monday morning.
Other regional delicacies include fat Burgundy snails in garlic and butter and diced carp, eels and pike made into a creamy poached dish made with white wine and onions called la pochouse, served with toasted garlic bread. You'll be spoilt for choice with wines to accompany your meal; like Bouzeron, Givry, and Rully from Cote Chalonnaise and Saint-Veran and the more famous Pouilly-Fuisse amongst others from Maconnais. La Route Touristique des Grands Vins de Bourgogne covers 40 wine villages. Details from Tourist Offices.
Buy produce like honey, mushrooms, fruit and vegetables from the Saone Valley in local markets and try regional dishes in village Cafes de Pays and rural Fermes Auberges.