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France Grand Chapitre

Bailliage of France
Touraine, October 13-17, 2021

A perfect and engaging trip to Touraine
" The gastronomic programme was varied and well designed "

We asked the Chargé de Missions Roger Tracy to describe this event, which brought together 65 people for the Gala Dinner.

“Our trip to Touraine was perfect and engaging. Our tours of the stunning Valencay, Chenonceau, Beauregard, Villandry and Amboise Châteaux were brilliantly organised and packed with cultural experiences and glimpses into the history of French architecture. The Chaîne is first and foremost a group of gastronomy fans, which set the tone for our four-day culinary adventure. The gastronomic programme was varied and well designed. Four dinners and four lunches gave us the opportunity to try out different types of restaurants and sample diverse culinary offerings, with varying levels of quality.”

Thank you, Roger!

The highpoint of our lunches was surprising and unexpected. We spent several hours on the farm and in the kitchen of “country cook” Vincent Simon and his wife Olivia. The couple’s children and friends all play a part in the running of the farm and they had us try most of their produce. Blessed with lovely weather, we enjoyed a tour of the vineyard, where chickens are free to roam. Lunch consisted of small portions of hot and cold dishes made with produce from the farm. It was a remarkable experience, enhanced by the wine served: a Bourgueil from their vineyard, made from Cabernet Franc grapes.

Our second dinner at L’Evidence (one Michelin star), a hundred or so metres from the centre of Montbazon, was exceptional. The menu created by Chef Gaëtan Evrard was brimming with emotions, flavours, aromas, textures and colours, and the service was impeccable. Chef Gaëtan had chosen all the wines with particular care. He kept returning to each table in both the rooms in which dinner was served to offer more comments. Many chefs can serve one or two of their signature dishes, but few can come up with such a high quality selection. Chef Gaëtan did exactly that.

Château Beauregard, in Celletes, is one of the lesser known of the 150 or so Châteaux in the Loire Valley. It belongs to Count and Countess Guy de Cheyron du Pavillon, who live in the Château and who welcomed us into their home and their dining room. The start of the evening was marked by the sound of hunting horns. This was followed by an aperitif, served as we watched the sun set. We took a tour of the Château and then dined in the former kitchens, warmed by an impressive open fire. The cream of squash soup and the game came from the estate being followed by cheeses from Touraine and a deconstructed tarte Tatin. The meal was served with red and white Côteaux du Vendômois from the Domaine Patrice Colin.

The Gala Dinner, which took place at the Château Royal d’Amboise on a warm October evening, gave us the opportunity to visit the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci in the Saint-Hubert Chapel, as well as some of the Château itself. After the Induction Ceremony, 65 guests enjoyed a dinner served at the Château, which was not equipped with a modern kitchen.

Conseiller Culinaire Sidney and Conseiller Culinaire Provincial Alison Bond surpassed themselves. The menu was an ambitious one and it could not have been served any better. The waiting staff were remarkable even late into the night, as we left the Château at around 1 o’clock in the morning. The food was plated in an area next to the dining room and the menu focused on classic dishes: creamy Parmentier soup, salmon served with a radish and Madagascar caviar emulsion, duck breast with Morello cherries and a lovely selection of cheeses. The dessert warrants a special mention: a chocolate dome that opened upon pouring a hot chocolate sauce over it to reveal a Poire Belle Hélène inside. Échanson Florent Martin chose a selection of unusual wines.

On Sunday, the last morning of the Grand Chapitre, Chaîne members met at the Domaine de la Tortinière in Veigné for an informative session dedicated to Touraine wines, led by Échanson Florent Martin. This wine tasting experience was followed by lunch served with Touraine wines.

[Ed. This article is based on a detailed description of the event submitted by Geneviève Groslière, Chancelier Provincial, Bailliage Provincial of Nouvelle-Aquitaine]

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