Virtual Trip: Christmas Market at La Tuffiere Vineyard

Loire Santa long cropped

A Christmas market held at a winery will feature wine products, as well as other local specialties for celebrating the holidays. These are some of the treats Mary Pochez found when she and her husband visited Domaine La Tuffiére, a vineyard in the countryside near Angers, last week.

Loire Anjou wines

A selection of the region’s wines.

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Jams made with local Anjou wines…

Loire confiture (178x178)

…and with fruits both local and exotic.

Loire vinegars

A wide assortment of vinegars made with all the typical varieties of Anjou wines.

Loire Christmas cookies

Wine cookies!

Some savory specialties.

Loire stuffed mushrooms

Les Galipettes farcies – large white mushrooms stuffed with rillettes, sausage, salmon, escargots, or chevre, then cooked in the oven. This is a local specialty. The mushrooms grow in the underground quarries near Saumur.

Loire pieds bleu mushrooms cropped

More mushrooms. Pied Bleu (Blue Foot) mushrooms are also grown  in the local underground quarries. Up to 90% are exported to the States for fancy French restaurants. The jars are filled with a mushroom mousseline. Yum.

Loire rillettes cropped

This part of France, the area around Le Mans, Tours, and Anjou is known for its rillettes, which are similar to patés. Meat—pork is traditional but here it’s chicken and pigeon—is chopped into medium-sized morsels, salted, and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender. Sometimes spices are added. It is then shredded and cooled with enough fat to cover.  It’s spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature. I admit I have a weakness for rillettes.

Loire escargots vendor

Here’s something you don’t see at the Union Square farmers market: escargots, available here in small, medium, and large sizes.  They come from the local escargot farm. (I’m trying to imagine what a snail farm looks like. Are they pasture fed?) Preparing escargots for eating involves poaching the snails, making an herbed compound butter, and cooking in the oven so in my opinion is best when cooked by someone else.

Loire crepes cropped

It wouldn’t be a French market without crepes.

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Decorated gingerbread men and pain d’épices, a spice bread that goes very well with foie gras and a sweet (Sauternes-like) white wine.  Also good on its own with coffee or tea.  I think I’ll make some pain d’épices for Christmas this year.

Loire choco cake cropped

A festive chocolate cake with fleur de lys to end the feast.


One thought on “Virtual Trip: Christmas Market at La Tuffiere Vineyard

  1. The trip to the Christmas market with you was like a wonderful day out with women friends. I loved the tour. And wished I was there with you. Thanks for taking me with you on this visit. Merry Christmas. Sue

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