WHAT’S IN YOUR GLASS? LES CINQ FOURCHETTES
We had the pleasure of talking to blogger Nancy Bordeleau from Quebec during her recent visit to the Loire Valley. For Nancy, author of the blog Les Cinq Fourchettes, the visit was an opportunity to taste and learn more about Loire Valley wines, and to take part in one of our Vignes Vins Randos wine trails.
Loire Valley Wines: Nancy Bordeleau, you’re known in Quebec for your blog, Les Cinq Fourchettes, and now also for your visit to the Loire Valley. Welcome, and many thanks for all you’ve been sharing. Tell us, how did your cookery blog come about?
Nancy Bordeleau: Thank you. The blog used to be written by another writer. About four years ago, she invited me to work alongside her because I was a good cook, and could also write well. I then became her main contributor, and now I’m the blog owner. The blog contains recipes, food-related articles, restaurant and product reviews and so on. I’m a true foodie, and since I’ve had my three children I’ve had to make more meals, and find ways of cooking quick recipes that the children will like.
LVW: Have you always been a wine drinker?
NB: I’d say that until I was 30, I didn’t really like wine all that much. But I’m always surrounded by people who enjoy the good things in life, so over time I’ve learned to love it. I’ve learned how to taste it properly, how to tell the difference between different wines and to enjoy food and wine pairings. I’m beginning to really appreciate the finer details. I’m fairly knowledgeable, but would never claim to be a connoisseur. The trip to the Loire Valley opened my eyes to a lot of new things, and I learned masses.
LVW: Did you drink Loire Valley wines before this visit?
NB: I discovered them while I was visiting, really, although I did know a few Crémants de Loire already. I’ve been to the Loire Valley before, but like most people I spent all my time on the châteaux, and everything else passed me by. That was a mistake! This time I was a proper wine tourist. I’ve fallen in love with Vouvray, which I didn’t know at all, and Muscadet, which also deserves a place in the spotlight. I didn’t know much about the Muscadet communal crus, but I tasted some when I was there. Very interesting, really delicious!
LVW: Do you write about wine on Les Cinq Fourchettes?
NB: Yes, sometimes in recipes, and generally here and there. And the more I learn, the more my readers learn. Anyway, I think a good meal deserves a good bottle of wine. I’ve heard plenty of positive comments during my travels, people are happy to find out about the different grape varieties and to learn along with me. I’ve realised that this is something I should work on, trying to spread the word, but being authentic with it.
LVW: If you had to keep just one photo of the Loire Valley, what would it be?
NB: The one thing I find the Loire Valley has in common with Quebec is its sheer scale. Vines as far as the eye can see, and the omnipresence of nature alongside historic buildings and châteaux. It’s simply majestic. And in spite of its illustrious royal connections, the people here are lovely: welcoming, open and always smiling. It’s that contrast between extravagant beauty and simplicity.
LVW: Which Loire Valley food made the greatest impression?
NB: The thing I chose to bring home with me is pommes tapées - dried, flattened apples - which I had never even heard of before. The pommes tapées I was served had been rehydrated with spices, cinnamon and of course, a good red wine. It’s the perfect comfort food, and tastes just like Christmas. But it must be hard work to make, because the apples have to be dried for three days. Imagine! Then there are galipettes, which are amazing. They’re basically like oversized stuffed button mushrooms, but for me they were interesting because, to tell you the truth, I knew nothing about button mushrooms or where they’re from. I’ve learned so much about them and how they’re grown.
LVW: If you had to match Loire Valley wines with your day-to-day meals, which recipes would you choose?
NB: I think a lot of Loire Valley wines work well as an aperitif without necessarily being part of a food pairing. But obviously I’d match them with my recipe for mushrooms stuffed with goat’s cheese, which was inspired by this part of the country. There are also some delicious sparkling wines, perfect for drinking with a good dessert, or even with apples. There are so many possibilities!
LVW: Have you got a favourite wine from the time you spent here?
NB: I really like Vouvray, I found it very approachable. I’m not too fond of oaky wines, but there aren’t many of those in the Loire Valley. Loire wines are easy-drinking, but I mean that in a positive way: they’re good, accessible wines, and very varied. They also have a finesse about them which I haven’t found anywhere else. I like white wines in general, so for me this area is a dream. The more I think about it, the more I realise that there weren’t actually any Loire wines I found disappointing. I don’t think there’s been a single one I didn’t like.
LVW: What was your most memorable experience?
NB: I really enjoyed the tasting at Poiron Dabin. I’ve never tasted so many wines in a single day before! And then there was our family visit to the cellars at Monmousseau, that was really amazing. There were games, it was interactive and lots of fun and everyone learned something. This region is so versatile, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re with the family, on your own or as a couple. There are also bike trails for the more energetic visitors. We had an opportunity to go on a Vignes Vins Randos vineyard walk, which is perfect if you want to taste wine on the move. And the hot air balloon experience was unforgettable. In short, I loved it all!
Thank you, Nancy, we look forward to seeing you again soon!