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Loire Valley Restaurant and Winery recommendations?

My husband and I are heading to France for our honeymoon, driving through the Loire Valley for several days. We're from New York, so we would love to really concentrate on eating local food while we're there. We are hoping to visit a few wineries and would definitely love to visit any farms where we could get local cheeses. And then since it is our honeymoon after all, we'd love a nice dinner or two. Thanks for any recommendations you can give us!

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  1. A bit off the board topic, but where do you all recommend staying in the Loire Valley? We, too, will be traveling there next week.

    Thanks,

    1 Reply
    1. re: koc2281

      I loved La Roseraie in Chenonceaux. It is not only a charming hotel run by nice people (and very inexpensive), it also has a good restaurant, not as adventurous as Le Bon Laboureur but quite nice and reasonably priced. LBL is also a nice hotel, a little fancier and more expensive than Roseraie.

    2. If you do a search on this board for "Loire" and go back up to a couple of years. you wil find many recommendations. My favorite places have been Le Bon Laboureur in Chenonceaux and Chateau de Rochecotte near Langeais.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rrems

        I have looked at the older posts, but I wasn't sure if anything newer had opened up or if any of the recommended restaurants had lost their luster. We do have Le Bon Labourer on our list so it's great to hear that someone liked it!

        1. re: Melissalg422

          Unfortunately, questions about anything other than Paris don't get a lot of responses here. Restaurants in France outside the major cities don't tend to change that much, so following advice from older posts is unlikely to be a problem. I always check the current Michelin. If you can read French, the Gault-Millau guide is a valuable resource. Also try googling the restaurants that interest you to see if there are recent reviews, and some places have menus on their websites, which will give you a better idea of their food and prices. You should be able to get information on farms and wineries from your hotel.

      2. Colette and I just finished almost a week's eating in the Loire/Indre and loved:
        8.0 La Gambetta in Saumur
        7.5 La Chanceliere in Montbazon
        6.5 Charles Barrier in Tours
        Two more were about average: Diane de Meridor in Montsoreau + L’Auberge du XIIe Siecle in Saché and the rest forgetable.
        Many Pix at http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

        1. Eric Asimov, wine writer for the NYTimes has done a couple recent articles on Loire wines.
          http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/din...

          http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/26/din...

          And Rick Steves buddy Steve Smith did a “Snapshot of the Loire Valley” that lists some places to stay and eat. He makes a point of staying on either side of Tours, near Amboise for seeing the big Châteaux’s or Chinon for a more laidback experience.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BlueOx

            The area around Chinon is my fave, including the wine.

          2. Of course, the Loire Valley is a huge area, there are vast choices depending on what part of the area you are touring in. 4 départements, and huge distances.

            I personally have a soft spot for the town of Loches, a medium-size town in the Indre-et-Loire. (37) . A town steeped in history, small enough to be charming, and large enough to have a choice of food, lodging, and patrimoine. The Touraine area has some wonderful wines, I do have a soft spot for Vouvray and Sancerre. They are slightly sweet, not to everyone's liking.

            A wonderful restaurant in town is the George Sand (even though she lived 200 km away) right on the Indre river. A great patio outside, and wonderful food coming out of the kitchen.

            Another charming smaller town nearby is Montrichard, on the Loire, with several good restaurants on the charming square in centre-ville.

            3 Replies
            1. re: menton1

              Our favorite meals of the trip were Le Bon Laboreur and the restaurant inside the beautiful Chateau de Noizay hotel. Lunches were all quick and fast on the road, so nothing there to recommend. But the dinners were very memorable, long and delicious! I still dream about the Noizay cheese trolley and the surprisingly modern and innovative desserts at Laboreur.

              1. re: Melissalg422

                Interesting. It is unusual to be able to do "fast and quick" lunches in France. It is a serious meal, and usually takes upwards of 90 minutes. Unless you did them at places like Flunch, mcDo, or Quick??

                1. re: menton1

                  We did a lot of dropping into small bakeries and getting little baguette sandwiches. No real restaurant lunches for the most part.