Tag Archives: Chaumont-sur-Loire

French wine in cans – what is this?

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We’ve just cycled from Château de Chaumont to Candé sur Beuvron, a lovely little path through shady woods along the Beuvron River on the Loire à Vélo circuit.

Beuvron River from the cycle path between Chaumont and Candé
Beuvron River from the cycle path between Chaumont and Candé

We reach the village and discover that renovations on the  pedestrian bridge are finished and that it’s decorated with enormous brightly coloured flower pots.

Giant flower pot on the pedestrian bridge at Candé sur Beuvron
Giant flower pot on the pedestrian bridge at Candé sur Beuvron

We’ve already been here and have only found one bar open. Another cycling couple (French) are already having a beer. Jean Michel goes inside to ask for a Coca Light (Diet Coke) and comes back to say that there only have normal Coke.

Road entrance to Candé sur Beuvron
Road entrance to Candé sur Beuvron

We’re in a wine-growing region and Candé is in the AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) area of Cheverny so I say, “Un verre de vin local“. The lady comes out with a CAN OF WINE. I look at it askance. Winestar, it says.

“You can look like that”, she says, “it’s excellent wine”. Yeah, in a can … It isn’t even local wine but corbières from the south of France. I have never heard of WHITE corbières, what’s more.

Canned wines - photo taken from WineStar website
Canned wines – photo taken from WineStar website

The beer-drinking man at the other table says, “It’s a French invention. It’s just come out. Very popular.” “Eu, they’ve had it in Australia for years”, I reply.

We taste the wine which is drinkable, but that’s about all. The lady returns, “So, what do you think?”. I don’t trust myself to reply but Jean Michel says “c’est buvable mais ce n’est pas un vin local.” “C’est un vin excellent“, she says huffily and walks off. An excellent wine indeed! “Caractérielle“, says Jean Michel when she’s out of earshot. “Elle est caractérielle cette femme” which roughly means that she has personality problems.

Three air balloons near Chaumont
Three air balloons near Chaumont

We finish our little glasses and cycle back to Chaumont, just in time to see a half a dozen air balloons taking off from the other side of the Loire.

I check out Winestar on the Internet when I get home. You guessed it, Winestar* is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WineStar Pty Ltd. based in Melbourne!

*I’ve since learnt that Winestar in France has nothing to do with WineStar in Melbourne, which is strange considering intellectual property law.

Bread Ovens in the Loire Valley

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Well, I shall start with my own! Closerie Falaiseau, our lovely house in Blois, has its own beautiful bread oven, unfortunately no longer in use, but Relationnel has every intention of turning it at least into a working fireplace.

Our bread oven in the kitchen with the door open


The day we were given the keys, Mr Previous Owner opened the door to the oven and we were able to look inside. It has a beautifully renovated inside vault which it is a pity to hide.

The inside vault of our bread oven

Among the things that Mr and Mrs Previous Owner left us are two utensils related to the oven – one for raking the cinders and the other for putting the bread into the oven and removing it. Now, the wooden pincers that you can see on the left have nothing to do with bread. Do you remember those old-fashioned woolen mattresses with grey and white striped covers that had a sort of roll around the edges? Well, the pincers were used to pinch them into shape.

Our oven utensils

I doubt if you can guess what the next photo represents. According to Mr Previous Owner, the baker used a poker to check when the oven was hot enough. He’d put it in the oven, leave it for a few minutes, then test it on the beam above! I find this a little difficult to believe because if it were true, there would theoretically be a lot more burn marks, wouldn’t there ? It’s a nice story anyway …

Burn marks on our oven


Mrs Previous Owner, who is one of those people with the knack for finding authentic objects, managed to salvage three bread baskets when the local bakery closed down several years ago. They were used to shape the loaf as it rose.

Bread baskets

Up on the hill behind us is a house with a lovely little village bread oven, that is, it’s not inside a house but separate. Baking day was usually once a week and all the villagers would prepare their bread and bring it along to cook because only the bigger houses like ours had their own oven.

Bread oven in Les Grouets in Blois

When we were cycling to Chaumont one day, we came across another type of village oven as we left the little village of Candé sur Beuvron. As you can see, it’s a much bigger and more sophisticated affair than the one in Blois.

Bread oven in Candé sur Beuvron

I currently make my own bread with a bread-making machine, you may remember, so I have high hopes of one day being able to bake it in my own wood-fired oven!!!

Our bread oven from the back

Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire’s International Garden Festival – Paris Day Two. Chantilly – The Audacity of Age

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For this Wednesday’s bloggers’ round-up, I’ve chosen Kathy Stanford‘s description of the highly original international garden festival at the château of Chaumont-sur-Loire, Denise from Bolton‘s visit to the Chantilly race course, which definitely seems a worthwhile excursion and Bread is Pain‘s very amusing story of an elderly woman jumping the queue at the Orsay Museum.

Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire’s International Garden Festival

by Kathy Stanford from Femmes Franchophiles, who has an ongoing passion for France and the French language

The Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire covers an area of approximately 32 hectares and is located between Blois and Tours in the Loire Valley.

The Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire is the foremost Centre for Art and Nature entirely devoted to the relationship between nature and culture, artistic creation and the impact of landscape, our heritage and contemporary art.

The Domaine not only includes the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire (15th to 19th century), its gardens and parks, but also from April to the end of October, the stunning International Garden Festival. In addition, there are many exhibits and installations by contemporary artists. Read more


by Denise from Bolton, another francophile from the town of Bolton in the UK who spends as much time in the City of Light as she can

Chantilly racecourse is in a lovely setting, with the châteaux on one side, the forest in the distance. Even if you are not into racing it is a pleasant place to have a picnic, and the chateaux is worth a visit too.

20minutes on the train from Gare du Nord, it makes a nice day out.  On a previous trip I watched an interesting dressage show in the famous Grades Ecuries, which legend has it, was commisioned to be built like a palaceby Henry, Duc de Bourbon, Prince of Conde, because he thought he would be reincarnated horse.

My husband had “bribed” me to accompany him, with a reservation at the stunning Panoramic restaurant overlooking the course.  The set “outsiders” menu was pricey at  42 euro each, but was very good and the entrance fee to the racecourse was only 2 euro,( as opposed to a lot more for British racecourses) so we were not complaining. Read more

The Audacity of Age

by Bread is Pain, a 30-something American living in the Rhone-Alps, and slowly eating and drinking herself through the country.

Standing in line at the Musée D’Orsay with my Mother who is visiting.  We are about thirty minutes back from the front of the queue.  An old lady has recently shoved past us in line and we are watching in disbelief as she speedily makes her way through the five or six rows of people in front of us.    

Mom:  This is too good to be true!

Me:  No way she is going to pull this off.

Mom:  I think she is.  Look at her go!

Read more

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