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This six-day travellers delight features lots of not only hands-on cooking, and exploring local sites, villages, and artisan food makers, but also time for you to relax, read books, or just walk and talk. Start on Friday or Saturday, wrap up on Wednesday or Thursday, and savour the full breadth and variety of every flavourful moment in-between. Loire Kitchen truly share the best of what their gorgeous region has to offer during this amazing stay!
Accommodation is on site, so your comfortable bed is but a couple of flights of stairs away. The well-appointed double bedrooms all feature a toilet and shower room tiled in classic French patterns. The first floor rooms offer views of the adjacent church tower and farmland, the top floor rooms offer sweeping views of the river and surrounding farmland of the valley.
Arrive late afternoon / early evening on your first day to a tasting of local wines. Then, join Loire Kitchen in the kitchen to prepare dessert before sitting down for a delightful three-course meal. Relax with an after dinner drink in the lounge or library, then off for a pleasant night’s rest in your charming and cosy en-suite room.
After a farmhouse breakfast of local breads, pastries, yogurts, cereals, and other delights the next morning, you will head off for a tour and shopping trip to a local farmer’s market in one of the following: Saumur (Saturday) or Neuville or Montsoreau (Sunday). Located in beautiful, inspiring surroundings, all these markets offer an abundance of visual delights, treats to sample and opportunities to explore history and culture.
The group will be COVID-19 aware, and ensure that you avoid areas with lots of people. You will also be given time to wander around, have a coffee, and daydream. You will return to Misse and lunch on the goodies you picked up.
After lunch, you will menu plan for dinner and dive into a series of cookery sessions where you learn techniques and then prepare dinner. You will have an early evening break to freshen up and catch your breaths before sitting down together to enjoy your efforts.
After breakfast this morning, you will gather for a cooking session focusing on lunch dishes which you will then enjoy together. After lunch, you will visit deepen your knowledge and appreciation of local products by visiting a local producer of one of the following: nut oils, cheese, snails, mushrooms, and/or a vineyard, depending on the season, for a tour and tasting.
You will return to Misse in time for you to go for walk, chill in the library with a book, or simply hang out with a glass of wine, before you enjoy a three-course dinner.
After breakfast today, you will have a cookery session where you tackle a complex dish or technique that fits with your interests. After lunch, you will visit a chateau or fortress town such as Chinon or Villandry. If you have a car, you are also welcome to have the afternoon off to explore on your own.
You will gather again in the kitchen early evening and learn some new cocktail making techniques. You will sip your libations while watching and / or participating in some hands-on demonstrations of some ‘small plates’ that you will enjoy as part of an ‘apero’ (French tapas) dinner party.
Today, after breakfast, you will embark on a walking or biking tour through the vineyards along the Loire on a dedicated cycle / walking path between Saumur and Chinon. You will take a leisurely pace, visiting a vineyard and other sites along the way, enjoying lunch and a fun-filled afternoon on this very scenic route. Loire Kitchen will happily provide vehicle support for anyone not wishing to cycle. You will return for a cooking technique demonstration, followed by dinner.
The last morning after breakfast, you will have your final cooking session, followed by lunch and then farewells.
Please note that the holiday schedule described above serves as a guide. There may be occasionally a need to change the order or location of certain events due to the season, weather or other logistical practicalities. If so, Loire Kitchen always aim to deliver the same experience and similar atmosphere.
Aaron is the C-of-M's executive chef. He comes from a family of restaurateurs and has been cooking professionally since his late teens. He has enjoyed a diverse career having worked as a violinist and conductor before embarking on a career in new media, working as an internet or “dotcom” evangelist. He has worked in Europe, Asia, Middle East and the USA. Cooking, wine tasting, and writing about food has remained a constant throughout. He has been writing and blogging about food since the late 90s, starting with lapasta, and has continued with contributions to many sites.
Located in the small farming commune of Missé in the most southern part of the Loire Valley, the house rests on the verdant banks of the Thouet River, a tributary of the Loire. Ancient Gallic for “tranquil,” the Thouet forms an oxbow (circles back on itself) here, forming the Cirque de Missé (Circle of Misse), thus the name. The house has fantastic views of farmland, cows, and pheasants. Further down the road, you’ll find vineyards as it is a part of the Anjou wine region.
This location provides dozens of pleasant walks along the river and outstanding hilltop views of the Thouet Valley. Comfortably secluded, although the châteaus and castles of the Loire Valley including Chinon and Saumur are a short drive away, the Thouet Valley exudes peace, relaxation, and contemplation. Add to that the medal-garnering vineyards encircling the area, the beautiful and abundant produce, award-winning goat cheeses and other renowned culinary specialties, and you have the perfect place to eat, cook, and feast the senses.
Built on the grounds of a 12th-century abbey, the house stands next to the Church of Saint-Pierre, on the trail used by Breton and Norman pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela. The original bell-cote, sitting in the shadow of the more modern 17th Century bell tower, is visible from the lane leading to the house. The pilgrims' route, now part of the Thouet valley bicycle trail and the French national hiking route, GR36, runs from Ouistreham on the Norman coast to Bourge-Madame on the Spanish border.
The biggest megalithic burial site in the region, consisting of seven dolmens, lies just up the road from Circle of Misse at Taizé.
Just a little further on, sits the beautifully quirky Chateau of Oiron. Now a contemporary art museum, it served as the inspiration for several scenes in the fairy tale Puss in Boots and was home to an eccentric who collected many strange items to fill his cabinet of curiosities. The church at Oiron, also worth a visit, is a jewel of gothic and renaissance architecture.
A half-hour from Circle of Misse, the historic city of Saumur dominates the Loire with its imposing Castle, offering the visitor a true taste of Loire architecture, fine wines, and culture.
Chinon, home of the French author Rabelais, the ruins of Chinon castle, and a prized red wine is also half an hour away. A stroll down the wonderful tiny streets of Chinon reveals a wealth of restaurants, cafes and smart shops. In the 15th century, Chinon castle was the residence of Charles VII, the Dauphin of France. It is the place where Joan of Arc came on March 8, 1429, to recognize the Dauphin and to urge him to declare himself king and raise an army to liberate France.
In the 11th century it was the primary residence of Henry II. He, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their son King Richard I “The Lionheart” and Isabelle of Angouleme, wife of King John “Lackland”, were buried at the nearby Fontevraud l’Abbaye. Snugly in château country, Fontrevraud l’Abbaye serves as a perfect jumping-off point to many of the most famous châteaus and vineyards of the Loire region. Châteaus include Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Ussé, Langeais, Montreuil-Bellay, Villandry, and their accompanying towns and cities. Vineyards include those of: Bourgueil, Saumur, Anjou, Chinon, Thouarsais, Vouvray, Savennières, Touraine, and Haut-Poitou.
Tours Val de Loire Airport
Transfer available for additional US$84 per person
Nantes Atlantique Airport
Transfer available for additional US$120 per person
This is the default choice for transatlantic and long-haul travelers. As the second largest airport in Europe, it has regular flights from/to almost every major city.
On arrival at CDG airport, you can:
Paris Orly Airport (ORY) is the second airport of Paris. There is a direct bus service to Paris Montparnasse, from where you can catch high-speed trains (TGV) direct to Tours (St Pierre des Corps) and Poitiers. Loire Kitchen can provide pickup at Tours or Poitiers stations.
Nantes Atlantique Airport (NTE) is the nearest International airport. It is served by flights from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Airport transfers (price each way):
Train transfer fees:
Driving is an excellent option if you want to fill the car with food and wine to take home. There are ample opportunities to visit wineries, cavistes, and food stores. Loire Kitchen will send directions and GPS coordinates.
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookCulinaryVacations.com. All major credit cards supported.
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