Loire-Inspired Wine & Food Pairings
The Loire is both a river and a way of life. On its long course from the mountains of central France to the Atlantic Ocean, it passes through some of the country’s most fabled landscapes and history. Known as the “Garden of France” because of its fertile soil and balanced climate, the Loire Valley has long been a source of the ingredients for classic French cooking.
In fact, it’s where classical French cooking was created. When Catherine de Medici arrived from Florence, Italy, in the 16th century to marry French King Henry II, she brought Italian chefs and their sophisticated cooking to the uncouth French court. De Medici, like many of the French royalty and nobility, lived in the fabulous chateaus that line the banks of the Loire, rather than dangerous and fetid Paris.
It was that example which inspired French cuisine. In a later era, this was the cooking that Julia Child made famous. Like much of Child’s cooking, the cooks of the Loire and northern France used butter from nearby Normandy instead of olive oil.
Wine developed along with the food. The range of wine styles is unsurpassed. Dry whites, sweet whites, sparkling and red wines come from the profusion of vineyards that take advantage of the Loire’s easy climate. Many are produced by an exciting new generation of growers, often from small family estates. Increasingly, they work organically and naturally. They reinforce the Loire Valley’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Loire Valley’s best spring vegetables, fruit, river fish and meat inspire the pairings that follow, and are an easy way to eat and drink French history.