The culinary specialities of Anjou will bring a gourmet side to your visit.
The local food and dining scene is part and parcel of Angers’ reputation for good living. Here, the preference is for generous, authentic and inviting cuisine. Anjou’s sunny and fertile lands crossed by the Loire give an abundance of locally grown products that gourmets love!
For sweet tooths
Some say that a good Crémet d’Anjou tastes like you are eating a cloud. The Crémet is a creamy speciality made from a mixture of whipped crème fraîche and whipped egg whites. Depending on the season, you can find strawberry, Mirabelle plum or apple versions.
Quernons d’Ardoise are an utterly irresistible treat. These tiny rectangles of caramelised almond and hazelnut nougatine dipped in blue coloured chocolate are frighteningly good. The local people of Angers enjoy their sweet treats as the reputation of the city’s chocolate makers would only confirm.
In the same vein, you also have the Caramande, a crunchy triangle of slivered almonds in salted butter caramel, covered in dark chocolate. Need we say, it is impossible to resist? Then there is the Tuffline, a raspberry fruit paste on a layer of marshmallow and entirely covered in white chocolate – a true delight no matter your age.
By the water
Freshly caught pike-perch, eel or pike from the Loire are wonderful served with beurre blanc sauce or alternatively stuffed with sorrel. In fine weather, nothing equals the atmosphere of a riverside café for some whitebait beside the water.
Angers is home to some fantastically retro liqueurs like Cointreau, Menthe-Pastille, Guignolet and Triple Sec. Thanks to the cocktails of some of the hippest barmen around the world, these evocative names with their almost outdated flavours are coming back in again. Angers’ distilleries, however, care little about the latest trends, and their stills keep on producing the secret recipes produced over the centuries out of tradition. Among the stars of the region, Cointreau, a subtle blend of sweet and bitter orange peel, and Menthe-Pastille, a clear and delicate peppermint liqueur, are famous the world over.
At the stove
There’s nothing superfluous or fussy about Angevin cuisine. Rather it uses simple products and recipes to bring maximum enjoyment. Galipettes, a sort of over-size button mushroom grown in Saumur’s tufa caves, are simply grilled and seasoned with garlic. The fouace, a bread made from left over dough that used to be thrown in the oven to bake while the oven was warming up, can be eaten before or alongside a meal. Locals like their fouaces filled with rillauds, which are small pork belly pieces that are slowly cooked in a pot.
This way for fruit and veg
In this land of plenty, cooks don’t have to look far to fill up their baskets. On the markets, the variety of vegetables is tantalising. Artichokes from Coutures and button mushrooms compete with sorrel and ‘banana’ shallots for star position on the market stalls. Once winter has passed, the Doyenné de Comice (a pear originating in Anjou) is replaced by cherries and Reine-Claude plums. The latter taste great at the end of summer in the famous local pâté aux prunes or plum pie.
In the kitchens of Anjou’s finest restaurants, a new generation of chefs today have fun reinventing the classic local dishes. Behind their cooking stations, these flavour-obsessed chefs who have studied under some of the greats, give their menus a down to earth twist and skilfully surprise diners. Vying with one another in terms of refinement and inventiveness, Angers’ contemporary fine dining establishments, like Le Favre d’Anne and Une île, have earned themselves Michelin stars.