Orléans vinegar ©C. Lazi - CRT Centre-Val de Loire

Delectable
Loiret

As far as the table goes, Loiret's got talent... and even if gluttony is considered a sin... is it not such a sweet one?! So whether you have a taste for sweet or savoury, forget all your resolutions and totally indulge in the thousand and one gourmet delights that comprise a typical Loiret meal, bearing witness to its fine country fare from start to finish. An alphabetical tour of Loiret's specialities...

Andouillette de Jargeau © M. Perreau - CRT Centre-Val de Loire
Andouillette de Jargeau © M. Perreau - CRT Centre-Val de Loire

A

L’Andouille de Jargeau

Nearly nine centuries have gone by since the Jargeau pork butchers began producing their famous 'andouille' chitterling sausage, made of equal quantities of pork tripe and minced meat in natural casings. With mashed potatoes as an accompaniment, this flagship of local gastronomy is pure delight!

B

Beer

'Johannique' beer from Orléans is an unfiltered beer made of malt from wheat and barley grown in Beauce, with the addition of Sologne heather honey. Not forgetting hops, spices and citrus peel: the result is a subtle bittersweet balance.

'Bell de Loing' is a triple fermented beer made in Amilly. It comes in 'dark ale' or 'amber beer' and is brewed, in particular, from malted wheat and barley grown by farmers in Gâtinais and Beauce.

All to be consumed in due moderation!

Bouteilles et verres de bière © T. Martrou - CRT Centre-Val de Loire
Bouteilles et verres de bière © T. Martrou - CRT Centre-Val de Loire

C

'Cendré d'Olivet'

Born on the banks of the Loiret, in Olivet – hence its name – this traditional cheese is now produced in Châteauneuf-sur-Loire. Made from cow's milk and similar to camembert, the cheese is swathed in ashes, originally added to protect it from flies.

Cotignac – a childhood favourite for many a local

An inimitable thick and creamy quince jelly, Cotignac has been produced in and around Orléans since the late Middle Ages. Today, only one Cotignac producer remains to make this sweet delight that was once sold to relieve digestive disorders... It is still presented in its small old-fashioned round box made of spruce and referred to locally as a 'friponne'. The lid is traditionally broken to be used as a spoon.

Cotignac d'Orléans © C. Mouton - CRT Centre-Val de Loire
Cotignac d'Orléans © C. Mouton - CRT Centre-Val de Loire

Cotignac – a childhood favourite for many a local

An inimitable thick and creamy quince jelly, Cotignac has been produced in and around Orléans since the late Middle Ages. Today, only one Cotignac producer remains to make this sweet delight that was once sold to relieve digestive disorders... It is still presented in its small old-fashioned round box made of spruce and referred to locally as a 'friponne'. The lid is traditionally broken to be used as a spoon.

L

“Loiret gourmand”

Born from the imagination and the skill of Loiret's bakers and pâtissiers, this cake has no specific recipe! It was originally made with honey and strawberries. Then it was transformed into a semolina base, flavoured with preserved apricots, before finally coming in the form of a hazelnut dacquoise with preserved pears... So many good reasons to come and to return to Loiret to test its ever-changing recipes.

Le Loiret gourmand
Le Loiret gourmand

M

Macarons aux fruits d'Orléans

A speciality created in 2006 by local bakers and pâtissiers, these fruit macaroons epitomise the lightness of meringue in four different flavours: strawberries deglazed with Orléans vinegar, pear and ginger compote, hazelnut cream, preserved rose petals – lime and cinnamon. Pure pleasure!

Gâtinais Honey

It was once called the 'gold of Gâtinais' As from the Middle Ages, its sweetness and its delicacy rendered it a favourite in royal circles. Several apiculturists have chosen to perpetuate this age-old tradition, by producing highly appreciated honey from a great diversity of flowers... In Château-Renard, the apiculture museum exhibits several glass-covered hives and hive boxes for visitors to observe the bees at work.

www.museevivant.com

 

Pots de moutarde d'Orléans © C. Lazi - CRT Centre-Val de Loire
Pots de moutarde d'Orléans © C. Lazi - CRT Centre-Val de Loire

Orléans Mustard

Originally made from a recipe dating from 1580 and since forgotten, Orléans mustard was offered a new lease of life in 2002 thanks to the Maison Martin Pouret, already a vinegar producer. A blend of premium quality ingredients, including Guérande salt and Orléans' famous vinegar, offer a fine creamy paste with aromas that are as delicate as they are intense, to please the most discerning of palates.

P

Le Pithiviers

The origins of this pastry date back to the Gaulish people among whom a similar pastry was highly popular. Pithiviers, named after its town of origin, comes in two different versions: the glazed version made from powdered almonds, sugar, icing sugar and kirsch and the puff pastry Pithiviers which is similar to the French 'galette des rois'.

La Poire d’Olivet

Williams pears are used to make this famous brandy, produced in the region around Olivet. Its taste is quite inimitable and it can easily be recognised thanks to the slowly matured whole pear which grows from a budding fruit placed inside the bottle in the spring.

La Poire d’Olivet
La Poire d’Olivet

Fish from the Loire

Wild and untamed, the River Loire abounds with fish, much to the pleasure of fishing enthusiasts and gourmets alike. Among them, to name but a few, pike perch, pike... to prepare and appreciate in a thousand different manners, as well as smaller fish that are perfect pan-fried in batter (bleak, gudgeon, roach). Not forgetting twait shads, eels and crayfish. Succumb to these delicious fish varieties, accompanied with a glass of Loire Valley wine.

Pralines from Montargis

These traditional pralines are still produced using the original recipe – deliciously grilled and caramelised almonds. Montargis' praline Mecca is undoubtedly La Maison Mazet, where a centuries-old tradition has been perpetuated since 1903.

Fleur de safran © R.Baudu - ADRT LOIRET
Fleur de safran © R.Baudu - ADRT LOIRET

S

Gâtinais saffron

The queen of all spices! Just like honey, saffron enjoyed quite a reputation in Gâtinais for many a century. However prestigious this fine spice, its production – which was in excess of 10 tonnes in the 19th century - was abandoned. Yet, since 1987, thanks to the creation of the 'Safraniers du Gâtinais' www.safrandugatinais.fr, local producers have breathed new life into their forefathers' traditional skills. Their work involves both faith and passion, for it takes 150,000 hand-picked crocus flowers to make just 1 kilo of saffron...

Worth a visit: the saffron museum in Boynes, the historic cradle of saffron in Loiret. It will take you on a journey through six hundred years of saffron production, from the 15th century to the 1930s.

V

'Giennois' wines

The area around Gien's wine-making history dates back to the Gallo-Roman period! An AOC (controlled designation of origin) since 1998, 'Coteaux du Giennois' wine (sauvignon, pinot and gamay, in white, red or rosé) offer the perfect accompaniment to goat's cheese and Loire fish – both local specialities.

'Orléans' wines

Orléans wines were awarded the AOC (controlled designation of origin) in 2006, a consecration for these regularly prized wines. White auvernat, pinot noir and pinot meunier offer light and fruity white, red and rosé wines, ideal with fish, cooked meats and game.

Orléans vinegar

Orléans is unquestionably the capital of vinegar! In the 18th century, no less than 300 producers shared the skill and the know-how that led to the 'Orléans method' of making vinegar in barrels, the result of which is a truly unique taste. Today, Martin-Pouret, established in 1797, is the town's only remaining traditional vinegar producer.

 

Vin blanc de l'Orléanais © T. Martrou - CRT Centre-Val de Loire
Vin blanc de l'Orléanais © T. Martrou - CRT Centre-Val de Loire

Market days!

And of course, there's no place quite like the market, or an excellent restaurant, to discover and taste all these delectable specialities...
Loiret boasts no less than 123 markets, held every week across its towns and villages.
Other gourmet rendezvous: gourmet fairs such as the Tigy asparagus fair in May or the Andouille de Jargeau fair in June; the Mareau-aux-Prés grape harvest fair in October...You can also purchase our country fare direct from the farm. Dozens of local farmers, boasting the 'Bienvenue à la ferme' (welcome to the farm) quality label offer a range of cheeses, fruits, vegetables and meat, direct from the producer to the consumer…

http://www.mtonmarche.com/marche/marches-loiret.html
http://www.bienvenue-a-la-ferme.com/centre

A table !

Among these professionals, twenty chefs are keen to uphold their region's gourmet tradition under the collective banner 'Toques du Loiret'. www.les-toques-du-loiret.com. They concoct inventive recipes based on local produce which they strive to preserve and promote, over their respective culinary skills.

And let's not forget our 34 'maîtres restaurateurs' (master chefs), who all guarantee 100% 'home-made' preparations using unprocessed products: www.maitresrestaurateurs.com