Chateau Noirieux-Loire Valley

Chenonceau, Chambord, Villandry are a few of the grand chateaux that have made the Val de Loire a destination for travelers the world over but there are over 300 chateaux in this region that has much to offer beyond the obvious.

Chenonceau, Chambord, Villandry are a few of the grand chateaux that have made the Val de Loire a destination for travelers the world over but there are over 300 chateaux in this region that has much to offer beyond the obvious.

Hidden in the hills above Briollay near Angers, the Chateau de Noirieux has been meticulously restored to its 17th century resplendence and now offers 19 individually decorated rooms, many with views of the gently flowing Loir.

The tall, elegant Hollandaise, Anja Come, will greet you with a 100-kilowatt smile and a joy in making you comfortable. Her husband, the Michelin-starred chef Gérard will make an appearance after preparing one of the beautiful and satisfying meals that attract regulars and gourmets from the region as well as travelers bent on a very special culinary experience. They live on the property and are never far away, should you need them.

It was a Sunday afternoon in early July and we left the gloom of an unusually wet Paris in hopes of finding sunshine. After following a series of meandering country roads we arrived at our destination and were escorted to our room where a bowl of walnuts and basket of local fruits awaited.

Mme. Come joined us  in the restful lobby lounge for an exceptional cup of coffee (an art where the French usually lag far behind their Italian brothers and sisters) and an assortment of appropriate pastries before we explored the grounds and the riverbanks.


We passed the swimming pool and followed the grassy incline towards the Loir, hopped the gate (that we later realized was unlocked) and followed the river. Along the way we met a pair of fellow guests and two dogs that ran down to greet us from the back yard of a house while their canine colleague stared down at us with no inclination to be petted and fawned over.

Calm and comfortable we relaxed on the terrace over a local Cote de Lyon moelleux before sitting down to dinner in the L’Orangerie.


Marbré de foie gras et joue de boeuf avec coulis de framboises

Soupe de fenouil au curry Thai

Each of these little gems was a harbinger of the delights to follow-the subtle use of curry to bring out the earthy flavor of the cauliflower; the guacamole to add spice to the cabbage and the pairing of the foie gras with the beef cheek and the sweetness of the fruit.

A pair of variations on foie gras-goose and duck paired with different fruits.

Le Foie gras d’Oie frais du Périgord en gelée de Fruits jaunes, 
Pot au feu de Foie gras de Canard Réglisse Groseilles    

A flight of langoustines-tartare, crunchy and pan-seared to a golden color.
La Déclinaison de langoustines Bretonnes en tartare, croustillante et dorée à la Plancha,
‘Ketchup’ de Tomates fraîches et Beurre rouge au vin de Maury   

Wine:   vin blanc  Touraine Oisly 2011 100% Sauvignon

And for the main courses M selected L’Aile de raile (Skate wing)  Dim Sum de torteau homard avec haricots buerre et sauce citronelle.

I couldn’t resist the zephyr of homard bleu et sole de petit bateau with legumes primeurs in saffron-scented rockfish broth.

Wine for both plats: – vin blanc Bourgogne Savigny les Beaunes 2009, Hauts Marconnets

Having visited  Gérard in the kitchen we were saving ourselves for the deserts and from the cheese cart selected only a local chèvre from a small producer, a Muenster and Lagouiole.

Wine: vin rouge Anjou Villages 2008 La Seigneurie,

It was worth the sacrifice. My poached peach withgroseilleswas light and bursting with fruit while M is still oohing over her L’Irréstible Soufflé Cointreau.

Wine: Passito di Pantelleria

After another cup of the house coffee were joined by Anja and Gérard in the intimate bar for an Armagnac.

I am looking forward to my next visit, possibly the weekend of December 7, when novelist Vladimir Féderovski will be here for a discussion of the Magic of Saint Petersburg and a gastronomic dinner prepared by Chef Gérard Come.

Must see in the area:

The tapestries of the Apocalypse at the Chateau d’Angers

Château de Noirieux – Relais et Châteaux
26 Route du Moulin – 49125 BRIOLLAY
Tel +33 (0) 2 41 42 50 05

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