Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Cycling Holidays France – Food and Wine Specialities of the Loire Valley

Also known as ‘the garden of France’, the Loire Valley is famous for its peaceful rivers, undulating countryside, pretty villages and picturesque châteaux and is a wonderful destination for cycling holidays in France.

The scenery of the Loire Valley is simply spectacular and is best enjoyed on two wheels or on foot and, if you have worked up a hearty appetite after enjoying a peaceful cycle in the countryside, you won’t be disappointed as the country is known worldwide for its culinary delights.

One of the biggest joys of cycling holidays in France is the freedom to explore off-the-beaten-track locations where you can sample some of the amazing dishes this region has to offer.

Cycle Breaks offers inspiring short breaks and longer holidays in cycle friendly picturesque locations both in the UK and abroad. Our cycling holidays in France, Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain are suitable for couples, families, and groups of friends and included in the price are en-suite hotel accommodation (with breakfast included), a detailed itinerary with maps and clearly described routes, luggage transfer and bike hire (often with the option of electric bikes).

Cycling Holidays France – click here to find out more about cycling tours in France.

What to Expect on the Menu in the Loire Valley
If you are cycling for long periods in the day, you will quickly build up an appetite and, of course, France is well known for its food. In France, just as in England, different regions are famous for different dishes, and here we shall put the spotlight on some of the specialities you may well find at one of the restaurants en-route.

Pork Rillettes – This is prepared in such a way that it resembles a rough pâté, making it a great appetiser. The pork is chopped, salted, then slowly poached in its own juices. The dish is usually served with bread and, although pork is used for this particular dish, other meat can be used to make rillettes.

Andouillette – If you want to go for something unusual, this is well worth a try and is basically a coarse smoked sausage made of pork intestines. You can eat it either hot or cold and it is generally served with onions, or in a red wine sauce.

Beurre Blanc – Although by no means a dish in itself, Beurre Blanc (or white butter) is a popular, classic, hot butter sauce that is often served with fish in the Loire Valley region. It is made with white wine, shallots and butter and can be served with river fish, which is plentiful in the Loire region, such as salmon or trout.

Coq au Vin – This is a popular traditional rustic dish which is served all over France, with regional variants. It is basically a delicious aromatic stew made of a strong-boned chicken slow cooked in wine. It’s usually served with boiled potatoes and the juices can be mopped up with delicious fresh bread.

Goats Cheese – Goats cheese is popular in the Loire Valley, such as Sainte Maure, a long cylindrical shaped soft cheese which is delightfully crumbly. One of the most popular cheeses, however, is Crottin de Chavignol, which is spreadable and can be identified by its small cylinder shape. 

Tarte Tatin: This is a dessert speciality of the region and is basically an upside down tart made with caramelised apples. It was invented by two sisters who ran a hotel in the late 19th century and has become popular ever since. It can be served with ice-cream, crème fraîche or double cream.

Some of the Popular Wines in the Loire Valley
As in many regions of France, the Loire Valley is popular for its wines. If you are out for an evening meal, or want to take a bottle of wine home with you, the following wines are a speciality of this region: Bourgeuil, a red wine from the grape variety Cabernet Franc, Red Chinon, a mainly red wine also from the grape variety Cabernet Franc, Pouilly-Fumé, a dry white wine made from Sauvignon Blanc and Vouvray (sparkling and still), made from the grape variety Chenin Blanc.

Why Choose a Cycle Breaks Holiday?
At Cycle Breaks, cycling is our passion. If you are thinking of taking a cycling holiday in France, we are happy to talk through the options with you  We can also tailor itineraries to individual requirements. We will arrange accommodation, luggage transfers and provide detailed tour notes to ensure you can relax and enjoy your holiday in France.

Cycling Holidays France – click here to find out more about cycling tours in France.

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