Wednesday, 8 April 2009

A Selection of Loire Restaurants from Saumur to Amboise

Speaking to Madame Laroche owner of the Auberge Bienvenue in Doue La Fontaine the other evening she gave me her update of the new TVA (VAT) ruling for restaurants in France. She tells me that the 5.5% TVA is sure but will not come into effect until 2010 and then it will only apply to the food element of the meal and not the wine. So we will have to wait a while longer.

Never mind though as the food there was superb as usual. The menu Selections du Terrior is already very good value at 24 euros for 3 deliciously presented and prepared courses along with the surprise "amusee bouche" that appears. We chose a local wine from our friend David Lecomte at Chateau Du Passavant, an organically produced Cabernet Franc - Les Neprons 2004 which went superbly with the Entrecote Francaise Au Tanin D'Anjou et Fruit Rouges.

Another longstanding favourite of ours if you are heading to Saumur is Le Pot de Lapin. "Bistro à vins avec cuisine traditionnelle du marché" Olivier Thibault offers a superb selection of local Loire wines many of which you can sample by the glass for only 3 euros. The menu is all chalked up on a large slate board and you can choose from a simple selection of tapas to a more hearty full three or four course meal prepared from fresh local ingredients. There is also a great selection of wines from the south of France including an Domaine Olivier Pithon from Rousillon La Coulee 2006 (Jo Pithon's brother - another superb Anjou producer) a delicious blend of Grenache noir, Carignan and Syrah. Yum!

A little further along the Loire River and a great stop for a day trip is Amboise home to Clos Lucé the last home of Leonardo Da Vinci. We stopped in at the newly opened La Reserve and had the Italian influenced menu de jour for under 12 euros, a french slant on mozzarella and tomatoes, lasagne and panacotta washed down with a small pichet of local Touraine sauvignon blanc. Extremely good value and a tasty lunch break.

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