Monday, 30 November 2009

Portes-Ouvertes at Domaine de la Rablais

A tempting display of cheeses and ham
In November many of the specialist food producers have open days, inviting their regular customers and the general public to come to the farm. It's a way of promoting the newly available produce from this year's harvest. The event will generally consist of a produce market, with a variety of other producers from the region taking a stall; there is usually le possibilité de repas (a sit down lunch available) and sometimes a display of old farm vehicles or farm animals (unusual breeds of chickens and rabbits are a favourite). We have previously been one on a walnut oil producing farm, and we also went to one on the weekend at Domaine de la Rablais, a vineyard run by the Simoneau family, who we have visited a couple of times before.

Boxes of sparkling wine for sale.
The market at the Simoneau's open day was small, but the quality of the displays and produce was particularly good. We bought some extremely good boudin blanc (chicken sausage) from Aux Charcuteries Gourmandes; a très sec (very dry ie. aged) log of goats' cheese; half a kilo of châtaignes (chestnuts), which we will cook in the ash tray of our wood stove; 3kg of very fresh oysters from somewhere on the Poitou-Charentes coast to the west for 10€; a couple of crêpes to snack on; and of course, a case of wine (35€ for a mixed case of 6 bottles of sparkling wine).

Sampling the wine before buying.

A nifty tool for getting that perfect thin lacy crêpe.
We were fairly restrained with the wine. Most people were buying multiple cases and staggering out to the carpark with them on sack trucks and trolleys. Some people were buying en vrac (in bulk), the wine being squirted directly from the stainless steel vats into their plastic jerrycans like filling an emergency petrol can. The cheapest was 1,35€ / litre for Rosé de Loire.



Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I love these markets, and the displays, with chestnuts cooking and the flipping of crepes :-)

Ken Broadhurst said...

I'm looking forward to going to the Simoneau winery this winter. Is is really called Domaine de Rablais? Not Rabelais? Usually there's an E in there. And there's a Domaine de Rabelais up in Touraine Mesland, on the north bank of the Loire. I can't find any mention of either word on the Simoneau web site.

Jenny said...

That is an impressive wall of cheese.

chm said...

It seems Domaine de la Rablais is located near Chenonceaux, west of St-Aignan-sur-Cher

Domaine de la Rablais,
Antoine Simoneau
41400 St-Georges-sur-Cher

Simon said...

Ken - Rablais, definately. It's a name they put on the bottles (usually the ones they export to the US, where it sells for between 7 and 17 euros a bottle)

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