AUTHENTIC FRENCH EXPERIENCES IN LOIRE
Just a short distance from Paris, the Loire Valley spans 280 kilometers and is located in the middle of the Loire River…France’s longest river. It was the region of choice for royalty and nobles to build towering castles and immense hunting lodges. Today, 42 Loire chateaux are part of UNESCO. It is a gastronomic paradise with its vegetables, meats and cheeses. Loire is also home to impressive vineyards well-known for their still and sparkling whites, red and rose wines. There are 6 appellations in Loire including Sancerre, Vouvray, Chinon, Saumur, Muscadet, Cheverny and Pouilly-Fume.
We are very excited to share exclusive and authentic experiences that we’ve uncovered in Loire for our clients! Below are some examples that we can include in your custom-designed vacation adventure!
DOUBLE MICHELIN-STARRED CREATIVITY!
One of our most exclusive experiences to date! Visit a large Loire food market with double Michelin-Starred Chef Remy Giraud where you will select exciting ingredients to prepare during your private culinary class later that day. With no pre-planned menu in place, get your creative juices flowing with the Chef who loves to impart words of wisdom to his students! This type of unplanned class is highly unusual and rarely available at other culinary schools!
HUNTING AND COOKING TRUFFLES
Visit Loire’s pre-eminent truffle farmer and work him and his highly trained Lagotto Romagnolo dogs to hunt for what’s known as black gold. He is so committed truffles…both in quantity and diversity of species, that he was technically named the first truffle farm in France! You will go on a private hunt with the farmer and his pups where you will also how to avoid purchasing fake French truffles. We will then go into the truffle farmer’s private kitchen and work with one of the area’s premier chefs to cook a three-course truffle lunch. Enjoy the fruits of your labor with some amazing Loire wine!
WHY ESCARGOT IS SO EXPENSIVE!
Ever wonder why escargot is so expensive? You are about to find out! Learn how the snails reproduce, are raised and cared for. The farmer, who left her corporate job to do what she loves, will share guarded insights into the lengthy preparation process required before the snails are even ready to touch the garlic and butter! Help prep the snails and enjoy their amazing taste with French baguettes and delicious Loire wine!
LOIRE’S MAGNIFICENT CHATEAUX
Believe it or not, Loire is home to 42 amazing UNESCO chateaux as the region was once the playground for royalty and noblemen. This is Chateau de Chenonceau best known for its famous resident, Queen Catherine de Medici. And best of all, you will travel to the chateaux in style…in a beautiful 1950’s Citroen sedan! Your guide is not only an expert on chateau history, but she also shares little known information about their previous residents and their roles in more recent history. For example: did you know that during World War I, a wing in Chateau de Chenonceau served as a hospital?
THE WORLD OF UNDERGROUND MUSHROOMS
Did you know that in Loire, most mushrooms are grown in underground caves that were created after limestone was removed to build the region’s beautiful chateaux? At this farm, which is 14 kilometers long, mushrooms are planted, picked (by HAND!) and delivered to markets and chefs each day. The patriarch of this family business could not be more passionate about his product! After trying one raw, I was impressed with how flavorful his Paris mushrooms (aka button mushroom) are. He says it’s because they grow near the limestone. You will love visiting this amazing cave and learn how this farmer cultivates his mushrooms. He will then give you a special treat…a private lesson on how the French prepare their mushrooms!
THE UNEXPECTED INVENTION OF TRIPLE SEC
The founder of Combier started his career as a chocolatier where he added an orange liqueur to his chocolates. His customers loved this liqueur so much, he changed his business model to focus solely on producing flavored liqueurs. In fact, Combier is THE inventor of Triple Sec! See where they produce ALL of their liqueurs for world consumption (you’ll be shocked by how small the distillery is). Taste samples from their expansive line of liqueurs and syrups (I guarantee there will be some flavors that you never thought could be liqueurs!) and learn how to make a few trendy cocktails!
THE WORLD’S ONLY COINTREAU PRODUCTION FACILITY
This renowned orange liqueur has been made in the same location since 1849. In fact, this is the only place in the world where Cointreau is produced! (They are very serious about consistency of quality!) You will enjoy visiting this beautiful factory with its copper distillery and you will discover the multi-step process used to make this delicious spirit. Taste some of the Cointreau products and enjoy a special cocktail made with this premier liqueur.
GO BACK IN HISTORY WITH A CITROEN 2CV (AKA DEUX CHEVAUX)
Now this is how to properly travel around the French countryside! These two horsepower cars were sold by French manufacturer Citroen from 1948-1990. And thanks to one of my partners, you can enjoy driving a deux chevaux for an afternoon, a full-day or even a weekend! (This is a very popular experience with my clients!) We will even custom-design a special itinerary for you (map included, of course), so you can experience some of France’s most charming villages in style!
SANCERRE WINE APPELLATION
Simply one of Loire’s most famous and loved appellations! Savignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are the most planted grape varieties in this beautiful countryside where the white wines are known for their acidity and citrus notes. Visit award-winning Sancerre domaines and taste their amazing nectar!