Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 877 : The last days in the Loire Valley

Since we last caught up, we’ve had some pretty fun stops in the Loire Valley finishing with a 4:30 am wakeup and a sunrise drive to Paris for a vertibly dreamy morning breakfast before hopping on the Eurostar back to London and then home tomorrow to New York City, gosh I can’t quite believe that my trip has come to an end!

But before that – we’ve had some pretty exciting excursions in our final days and moments in the Loire Valley. Where have we been?

Well we went to Selles sur Cher – the little namesake village of the fabulous ash ripened goat’s milk disc known as one of the classic Loire Valley goat’s milk cheeses the world over. Right near the town square, there is one small cheese shop with the classic Jacquin chevres – I just absolutely had to get one of the demi-sec chevres, aged giving it a firm, tangy, milky and citrusy consistency with a chalky and bright yet rustic and slightly earthy finish. Perfection with a glass of Sancerre! Apart from the classic chevres, they are also known for a Bleu de Chevre – a semi-soft goat’s milk blue that is among the most refined and elegant blues I’ve ever had, citrusy, bright and grassy yet slightly spicy, tangy and piquant. A beautifully delicate cheese that just melts on your tongue. Great with either a white or red or perhaps even a sparkling.

Where to next?

How about the town of Valencay?! Another classic Loire Valley goat’s milk cheese – ash ripened as well but in the shape of a pyramid. The cheese has such a presence that the local boulangerie / patisserie even makes a chocolate mousse in the same shape and style in case you were more of a fan of chocolate than cheese.

Tiny towns in the French countryside with such large presences in the global cheese world – sometimes size doesn’t matter, right?

What else was on the agenda?

A very special lunch at the Chateau de Rochecotte in Saint Patrice. 19th century opulence meets inventive modern cuisine in a terribly dramatic and old fashioned French dining salon. A rouget salad with classic provencal touches followed by a “mille-feuille” with cod, eggplant, roasted tomatoes, and basil pistou. Finished with the most gorgeous cheese tray of the region – goat’s milk cheeses, washed rind cheeses, firm cheeses, and of course some blues. This was a lunch to savor – to appreciate your surroundings, the company, the trip, and the experience.  It was a moment to pause and say thank you.

Overall a wonderful trip to the Loire Valley – I cannot believe it is over and now back to London, one of my favorite cities in the world for a last night in Europe before heading home.

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