Divine dishes for a royal region

The culinary delights of the Loire valley

Venison and wild boar, pike and perch - game and freshwater fish are the mainstays of the cuisine of the Sologne region.

In the region of Blois-Chambord, we take game seriously! Deeply rooted in the local culinary heritage, it expresses the power and finesse of the wilderness. Great favourites are wild boar and venison.

Venison is described as "the ultimate meat" by Jean-Marc Molveaux, Michelin-starred chef at the Orangerie du Château in Blois "It's an exceptional meat, tender and refined," he says. Game has long been associated with sauce and marinades, rather rustic and quite heavy.

"Recipes typical of a good inn" says Jean-Marc Molveaux, "but it also lends itself to a lighter preparation, highlighting its finesse." The result is wonderfully juicy roasted meats, hams and steaks, with a panoply of aromatic nuances.

A dish at Le Medicis. © Le Medicis

Game in winter, fish in fine weather

While game is the culinary star of the cold seasons, the fish of the Loire take centre stage in the spring. Some are well known- eels and pike for example, but the royal river also offers fishermen the sublime perch. Chef Christophe Cosme of ‘Rendez-Vous des Pêcheurs cooks it at low temperatures and stuffed with langoustines. Or the minnow, with its season starting in May at the Orangerie du Château, not forgetting the famous Chambord carp.

The fabulous texture of catfish

Other fish long forgotten for their culinary value are making a big comeback on the tables of Blois restaurateurs to the delight of their customers. Christophe Hay of La Maison d’à Côté makes it a point of honour to work with these hidden treasures.

The catfish has been rather ignored, while it offers a fabulous texture, similar to that of monkfish.

Christophe Hay, starred chef at La Maison d'à Côté in Montlivault
Strawberries in the markets of Blois © Blois Chambord Tourist Office

Market gardening

Thanks to its mild climate, the Loire Valley is home to a rich vegetable production industry, the most common being strawberries, asparagus and sweet potatoes. Local produce can be bought by visitors or tasted at all the good restaurants of the region.

Charlotte, Mara des bois, Gariguette ...

These names identify different varieties of strawberries grown in the Loire Valley, and all are well known to gourmet chefs. The local microclimate makes it possible to produce particularly sweet fruits. Whether on their own, with cream and sugar, or ice cream, or in pastries or jams, the local strawberries inspire our chefs from the beginning of spring onwards. By them directly from the field or at the dinner table at the Ferme-Auberge of the Poulas family, in Mur de Sologne.

Asparagus - White Blois and Green Chambord

Asparagus, whether the white Blois or green Chambord variety, is another excellent crop grown in these fertile lands. Its cultivation is facilitated by the sandy and loamy soils of the banks of the Loire.

White asparagus, sweet and full of character, is the oldest and most widespread variety, traditionally accompanied by a truffle vinaigrette. The green asparagus of Chambord is so tender that it doesn't need peeling. It's cultivated by about fifteen organically certified farmers and is best appreciated sauteed, in a soup, in a salad or just poached. It is the ideal partner for local fish dishes.

More exotic produce

The great market gardening curiosity of the Blois region is the sweet potato, a tuber originating from Asia which is today part of the culinary landscape of the Loire Valley. Its unique texture lends itself to the same recipes as the potato, giving an exotic touch to the traditional local recipes. Mashed fried or boiled, it blends perfectly with game and fish.