Monday 28 November 2011

A Good Cheese Board

At Loire Valley Time Travel we choose the restaurants we use carefully. Typically they are family run, friendly establishments where local French people eat. One of the things many people look forward to in French restaurants, whether they are local or just visiting, is the multitude of delicious cheese varieties. Cheese is so much a part of the daily diet here that many restaurants include it as a standard part of the menu. Diners are invited to serve themselves from a trolley or a platter that is passed from table to table as required. The cheese selection normally includes some hard mountain cheese, some blue, some local goats milk cheese, some camembert or similar and some soft mild creamy cheese along with the occasional unusual or surprising flavours. There really is something for any cheese lover here.

The cheese and dessert trolley pictured is from the Hôtel de la Gare in Montrichard. As well as the cheeses there is a selection of classic desserts such as îles flottantes or, after the generous meal you get here, you may want to stick to fresh fruit and a handful of locally harvested walnuts.

If you love cheese and want to experience a typical French lunch in a small country town as part of your sightseeing tour, email us and book a day trip in the Loire Valley.

Friday 18 November 2011

Ever heard of bernache?

If you visit the Loire Valley in October you will be in for a seasonal treat. With the grape harvest finished the winemakers set about their art. For a brief period, little more than a fortnight, the grape juice in the fermentation vats, not yet wine, but no longer just juice, is available. In the Loire region it is known as bernache. At the wineries we visit you can sense the excitement amongst the staff. The new wine is on its way, and even while it is still at the sweet and fizzy stage they are already forming an opinion about what the vintage will be like. Every year is different because here in the Loire we are reliant on the weather to deliver the right amount of sunshine and rain. No irrigation is allowed and the winemaker must watch the conditions very carefully to judge the perfect time to harvest.

Bernache is drawn directly from the vat
for clients to sample.
If you would like to sample this regional and seasonal speciality, then email us and ask us to design a tour for you in late September or October.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Part of the Fun

Part of the fun of a day out with us is that you get to drive around the lovely rolling countryside in a car that is a French icon. Back in the fifties and earlier, many comfortably off French families owned a car like Célestine, and she elicits excited comments and friendly waves from people on the street. You'll feel like celebrities, travelling with us!

Quite a few of our clients are car enthusiasts and own classic cars themselves. They are always keen to get a peek under the bonnet and discuss the finer points of the workings and design. Kim, from Boston, is the daughter of a mechanic, and loves old cars. She is seen here with her friend Katie checking out Célestine's engine in the carpark of the Relais (French style truckstop) we had lunch at.

If you want a nostalgic day out in 'chateaux and wine country', whether you are a classic car fan or not, email us and we will design a tour just for you.