Food and Wine from the Loire Valley, Class 1 Part 1

Our first cooking class featured food (and wine) from the Loire Valley. We started with a very green Frog’s Leg Soup, followed by two excellent appetizers: one of scallops served in the shell and the other of pork belly nibbles with mustard sauce. Being from the Loire Valley, these all had very elegant French names.  The dishes were accompanied by several wines from this region: a Chenin Blanc for the soup and a Muscadet for the appetizers.

1st Course: French Pea and Watercress soup with Deboned Frog’s Leg ‘Persillade’.

First off, kale and broccoli were substituted for the peas and watercress (not yet in season). This was a very green soup.

Frog's Leg Soup

Frog’s Leg Soup

I don’t think I have ever had frog legs before, or if I did they weren’t that memorable, tasting of course, like that proverbial ‘chicken’, in this case, very small pieces of the brown meat of a chicken. Initially they were soaked in milk to remove the blood and gamey flavour.

frog legs soaked in milk

frog legs soaked in milk

Reaction to the soup: Meh.. Probably I would have liked it more if it was pea and watercress?

Loire Valley Chenin Blanc white wine

Clos de Saint Yves Chenin Blanc Wine

Wine pairing was a Loire Valley 100% Chenin Blanc. $35 and I only gave it 12/20. I would not buy this wine.

Then two wonderful appetizers…

Nantaise Saint-Jacques Blanquette with Muscadet.

If I was only so-so about the first dish, this was not true about the second. These were scallops in a wine sauce au gratin, served in scallop shells and super yummy.

two types of scallops: the one with the orangy rim contains the roe.

two types of scallops: the one with the orangy rim contains the roe.

the muscle was removed from all the scallops and the roe separated

the muscle was removed from all the scallops and the roe separated

the scallops were placed in a shell

the scallops were arranged in a shell

a wine sauce plus breadcrumb/cheese mix were added to the scallops that were then baked.

a wine sauce plus breadcrumb/cheese mix were added to the scallops that were then baked. Et voilà!

Forgotten Healthier Version of Touraine Pork Rillons with Mustard Dip.

Not sure how much healthier this pork belly recipe is than the original but it was really good. It reminded me of the ‘crackling‘ on the pork roasts that mom used to make, and I know they stopped sell pork roasts with all that extra fat years ago. Loved it! The mustard sauce was sublime.

Pork Rillons and Mustard Sauce

Pork Rillons and Mustard Sauce

Both appetizers were served with the same wine: a Muscadet SO from an area near Nante. It was dry and acidic, fruity and spicy, flavours that should go with things creamy or fatty. I had the first taste just after a bite of creamy scallops and found the wine a bit fishy. However the second slurp wasn’t fishy at all. And with the Pork Rillons it went perfectly!

Haut-Censy Muscadet

Haut-Censy Muscadet

A drawing of Chateaux Chambord in the Loire Valley. Later I noted that the Loire Valley was all about the quality of light – greys, blacks, whites – different values and value keys. On another page I was wishing I had black and white film in my camera as colour film couldn’t really capture what made the Loire Valley so special.

Chateaux Chambord looked like something a Disney King of Diamonds would live in...

September, 1978. Chateaux Chambord looked like something a Disney ‘King of Diamonds’ would live in.

The second part of our Loire Valley menu: these items were followed by a main course of light salad with hazelnut-crusted goat cheese plus the dessert of cookies with homemade Cointreau ice cream.

Class 2 of this series moved north and slightly east to the ‘Food & Wine of the Province of Champagne’.

Class 2 Part 1: appetizers of Belgian endives in a Béchamel sauce and savoury eclairs with smoked salmon, with Champagne, the real thing!

Chef Eric posts many of his recipes on his website: http://www.911cheferic.com/

8 responses to “Food and Wine from the Loire Valley, Class 1 Part 1

  1. Pingback: Food and Wine from the Loire Valley, Class 1 Part 2 | Albatz Gallery & Blog·

  2. We’ve just returned from France. I miss it already! Love your drawing of Chambord. It is a very complicated desiqn. I did hear that Disney modeled many of it’s princess castles after Chambord.

    • It’s been 35 years since I was in that part of France. I ended up in the Loire Valley when I was hitch-hiking with another woman, and the first ride we got after leaving the ferry was to Tours, the entrance to the Loire Valley. I glad to hear that France is still ‘missable’; so many things have changed so much in that time.

  3. Pingback: Food and Wine of Champagne Class 2 Part 1 | Albatz Gallery & Blog·

  4. Pingback: Food and Wine of Champagne Class 2 Part 2 | Albatz Gallery & Blog·

  5. Pingback: Food and Wine of Loire Class 3 Part 1 | Albatz Gallery & Blog·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s