Tag Archives: Bourgueil

A cycling holiday in the Loire Valley

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This post was going to be about safety and cycling, but there are so many excellent websites dealing with this that my mind switched to options for a cycling holiday in the Loire.  The different nationalities, ages, abilities and ways guests have enjoyed cycling from Les Mortiers is interesting too.

There is a link to a cycling safety website is given below. The site has many other useful links on the subject and worth looking at if you are considering cycling on holiday.

A well seasoned and keen cyclist might look for a specialist offer, where everything is provided,  at a price. However, the region is so well provided for cyclists that, unless you want to spend  every day on the saddle, then being free to pedal as you wish, when you wish and as the weather suits you is a good option.  If your partner or the family do  not share your enthusiasm for a daily ride, then self-catering with cycles provided, or bringing your own, is a good option.

The wide spectrum of people who cycle for instance from our own property is interesting.  Here are a few examples:

  • Keen cyclists from the USA, one family brought their bikes in their suitcases.
  • A father who cycled each morning for the bread with both his children on one bike, one at the front and one at the rear.
  • A family who brought a tag along bike with them, the first we had seen but very popular now.
  • A lady from the Netherlands with a bike with hydraulic brakes.  Mike was in awe!
  • An Estate Agent  from Canada who was privileged to visit Cyfac, a local and highly renowned company making high end cycles and frames for many of the bikes in international races. He was awestruck by the bike he was given to road test
  • A New Zealand girl traveller sponsored on a cycle trip around the world and currently in South America. Her bike was wrapped with inner tubes to mask its value against theft.
  • Guests who have pushed themselves to the limit, not having ridden since childhood and not walking far the next day!
  • An amateur cyclist from the USA who rides like a professional and even helped us put the roof on the new extension to our house!
  • And a family who experienced an exploding tyre whilst they had stopped at Lac Rillé for a picnic! It happened during the excessively hot summer.
  • And, of course, like many of our guests a short cycle in the morning for fresh bread and croissants or  a coffee in the bar.

The countryside, quiet roads and forest routes in Anjou and Touraine are perfect for cycling, whatever your style. The slide show link below has some views from cycle rides around where we live. For the less adventurous a ride to Lac Pincemaille is a pleasant outing with well marked trails through the forests, whereas the more experienced venture to Bourgueil, along the banks of the Loire or as far as Chinon. Information is readily available for the many routes marked around the region. The most famous being the Loire a Velo. We have a library of local cycle routes for our guests including maps for the local area and further afield for the more intrepid or those who carry bikes on their car wishing to cycle a particular route.We have cycles available for your use and a rescue service, if required.

Just for interest, below are some Solex bikes which were for sale at a recent Vide Grenier (car boot sale).

P1050350

Cycling around Les Mortiers

A site with some useful guidance about cycling and keeping children safe.

www.frenchholiday.co.uk

 

Graded grains make finer flour – Le Moulin Boutard, Bourgueil

I was kicking myself as I typed the title for this post!  We could never fathom the French system to classify flour and know which one to use and yet the famous catch phrase for a well known UK flour held the answer.

Graded grains make finer flour!

A few years ago  we  met Madame and Monsieur Piaumier, owners of the Moulin Boutard, at a Craft Fair in the grounds of the Chateau at Giseux. Monsieur Piaumier explained the finer the flour the ‘whiter’ it is, the higher the category the nearer it is to the wholemeal flour which we were looking for.

So the flour we use now ranges from Type 55 for making croissants, Type 65 for pizza dough, through to Type 170 for rustic wholemeal bread. We also get rye flour, spelt and a speciality mix of chestnut flour, fig and hazel nut for cookies.

This website gives some good descriptions of the different types.

The Flour Bin – Home and Artisan Bakers Supplies

Through the generations

In the nineteenth century, there were no less than 22 water mills on the River Changeon., but they closed one after the other when industrialised production of flour and bakery goods started to arrive.

The Moulin Boutard was a true water mill until 1956, when it too was mechanised to keep pace with the demands of the market. It is the only mill still operating in the Bourgueil area.

The mill is owned by the Piaumier family, a family with a traditions of seven generations of millers. The family member who will make it the eight generation is currently working in a mill near Tours.

A Short History 

The changes at the Moulin Boutard over the years demonstrate how life changed so much more quickly from the 19th century onwards compared with when it was built by the monks of Bourgueil in the XII century.

1850 – The mill was extended

1928 – Mr. Albert Piaumier became as tenant operator of the mill

1930 – A diesel engine was installed and it is still in operation today,

1957 – The production rate is increased by the modernisation of equipment and it is then possible to mill 300 kg of wheat per hour instead of 100 kg.

1963 – Cleaning equipment and storage is installed.

1966 – A bulk tank is installed for receipt of wheat. This is the first mill equipped with this system in Indre-et-Loire. Also machinery installed for the manufacture of animal feed.

1974, – The son of Albert Piaumier, Paul, bought the Moulin Boutard from Madame Garnier Moreau.

I983 – A major change in the milling equipment increasing throughput up to 10 quintals (ie 100 kg) per hour.

1998 – Moulin Boutard gets organic certification

Graded grains make finer flour

Graded grains make finer flour

Ets Piaumier et Fils, Moulin Boutard, 37140 Bourgueil

 

Chouze sur Loire 8 eme Festival des Quais

Local  residents of Chouze alongside the River Loire.

Chouze sur Loire is a small village on the north banks of the Loire, one which you could easily zip through with a passing ‘that was a nice place’, but you will be missing out on its secrets.

Like many of the villages on the banks of the River Loire it has contributed to the wealth of the area and its rich trade.  The river Loire after all was the main thoroughfare for the area and a vast array of goods were shipped along the river, timber to build houses in Nantes, oranges and spices for the wealthy chateaux owners and later for Cointreau and Combier to make their renowned liquers.

However, take a detour from the road at Chouze sur Loire down to the river.  There you will find the vestiges of an old port, a cobbled road and some extremely pretty houses facing the river.  You might even spot an old Loire river barque with a decorated mast.   Each boat mast had a rigid ‘flag’ showing either the mariner’s trade or a suitor’s love emblem for someone on a passing boat.

So that’s Chouze sur Loire, but what other secrets does it hold?  The last Sunday of May each year it holds a festival – Festival des Quais – and Chouze sur Loire becomes alive again as it celebrates its heritage.

Art, Loire, Terroir – it’s all there on 30th May

During the day there is a chance to sample local food and wine, listen to music and enjoy special events with the children.  There are marked pedestrian walks of 4k, 8 k and 12k along the Loire, passing gardens and watermills along the way.

And the festivities continue into the evening too!  There’s Irish music, an illuminated show celebrating life on the River Loire and a grande finale of fireworks, something which the French do spectacularly well.

and into the evening too!
Irish music, water spectacle and fireworks too.

Make a date in your diary to visit on 30th May if you are in the Saumur, Bourgueil or Chinon area, it’s within easy reach.  Too late to plan a holiday this year, well the Festival is always the last Sunday in May, which happily coincides with the English Bank Holiday each year.  It really is a good time to visit this part of France, local asparagus and strawberries are ready, the evenings are light and warm and the first bottles of the previous year’s wine are available.

Retro Sunday in France

My first memories of France still tug at the heart strings the longer I live here.  Here are a few photos taken on a short visit to Saumur and return through the forests of Bourgueil.

Lazy Sunday Morning

April 2010 or 1970?

The writing's on the wall!

Once a shop, now a home, but love the writing on the wall.

Sign-writing is becoming a lost art!

What is it that brings those nostalgic feelings to the front?

What is it that is so special about the French way of life that these images evoke?

Whatever it is – I love it!

A Michelin Star for Le Chai at the Manoir de Restigne

There are nine Michelin Star restaurants in Indre et Loire and latest is the Le Chai restaurant at the Manoir de Restigne, near Bourgueil.

The restaurant is described as “Une Table Gourmand au Coeur du Vignoble” and being only 30 minutes from home so we had to visit. We arrived to a warm welcome and soon knew this would be a great evening at Le Chai. It turned out to be a real treat for all the senses.

The dining room has high ceilings, tuffeau stone walls, oak beams and quiet, stylish decoration, somewhere Great Aunt Gertie would be equally as well at home as would a young couple enjoying their first romantic meal together.

The wine list had a good selection, including from some of the best local viticulteurs in our area and all at sensible prices too.  Our aperatif was a sparkling Montlouis wine, new to us and a pleasant surprise. With the entree we really enjoyed Frédéric Mabilleau’s Saumur Chenin, apricot and honey aromas, a beautiful light gold liquid.

We chose the Menu Decouverte at 45 €, with a good selection of dishes, an elegant amuse bouche of five delicate tasters and wonderful contrast of flavours and textures, the lightest of salmon mousse and an astounding combination of flavours, an entree of black pudding and scallops with the lightest of touch.

A main course of the most tender pigeon and foie gras wrapped in chard followed by an imaginative cheese course – a ravioli in a stock with a hint of liquorice,  a beignet of goats cheese, and a pasta roll filled with cheese.

Then a complete surprise – the desert before the desert –  a coffee bar topped with spun sugar in the form of a spring.  It glistened in the light!

Manoir de Restigne

Then the main desert of apple, decorated with the finest slice of sugared apple and a white chocolate ‘flag’ carrying the Manoir’s name,  and served with cardamon ice cream.

Manoir de Restigne

With our coffee there was a trolley of delights; cannelés de bordeaux, an almond cake, chocolates and the most amazing macarons I have ever tasted.

These photographs do not do justice to the quality and the presentation.

You just have to go there and experience it for yourselves.

The ethos of Le Chai shines through with both the food and the wine we enjoyed.

” … committed to an ethical and responsible approach, seeking to respect our natural environment. The restaurant Le Chai proposes dishes created from natural products, with bread and wine certified organic.”

Just wonderful!