good food + awesome travel & occasional odd bits

Amboise, France

We’re recently back from a whirlwind escapade that included a nice stop in Amboise, located in the Loire Valley. Amboise is the perfect kind of town for taking it slow, eating, drinking wine, consuming vast amounts of cheese, chateau hopping, and relaxation. Time moves slowly and it’s really easy to get comfortable with a quickness.

We had the most incredible desserts at Bigot, located right in town. This cozy family owned patisserie has been around since 1913 and after sampling some and going back for a second round, I can see why they continue to be one of the best. I was amazed at the texture of the eclair with its golden pate a choux shell and silky, creamy chocolate filling. I was never crazy for eclairs, but Bigot changed my mind. You’ll see what I mean in later posts. The tiny fruit tart shell was so buttery and the fruits perfectly sweet. What could be better? The only thing better than the first two was the chocolate tart. Love it. Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed every bite.

Bright and early the next day, we trekked to the local farmers market. Guess what we were on the hunt for?

Local cheese of course. We tried a Selles-Sur-Cher at our local cheese shop here at home, and wow. What a difference there was between the one flown over from France and the fresh, local one in France. In the Loire Valley where it’s made. No comparison.

Valencay is another fresh goat cheese that we we searching for at the farmers market after a decadent meal in Amboise. I’ll share more about that tomorrow. So, these are relatively large pieces of fresh cheese that we went crazy for. With only a couple of days in Loire Valley and no refrigeration at our hotel, what were we thinking? Our eyes were definitely much large than out stomachs or reality, for that matter. Who cares? We’re on vacation and it’s all about trying the local bounty without limits.

As if the cheese wasn’t enough, one look at these juicy pommes de terre and I was standing in another line to get a rotisserie leg of duck and a container of these mouth-watering taters. Definitely ruled by stomach here. These were the best pommes de terre I’ve ever had. They sit on the bottom of the rotisserie and marinade in all the greasy goodness of a variety of poultry fat and juices and slowly cook to creamy, succulent goodness. And, they’re still excellent the next day when cold.

From the rotisserie stand, we spotted a line at  the boulangerie that went out the door. So, like flies to food, with hands full of cheese, duck, and pommes de terre, we made a bee line across the street. Trying to get a baguette was an experience. There were three lines in this tiny place. One for bread, one for pastries, and one for ordering both. We were repeatedly cut by more savvy French patrons, but when your French is as poor as mine, there’s no way to complain. Just suck it up and hope for the best. With a lot of patience and standing butt cheek to butt cheek with the person in front, we were finally able to order. The chouquettes were the best here. I thought I ordered five, but ended up with fifteen. My French was worse than I thought. No matter, I wish I had 25 of them which I eagerly scarfed down.

Stay tuned for more on Amboise. You definitely don’t want to miss out on our fantastic dinner experience and quaint hotel. Grab a glass of wine and come along for another installment tomorrow.



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