Programme six: Nantes
Nantes is a city famous for its fantastic food, culture and gardens, and so it’s the perfect destination for Rory.
Rory’s first stop is the Île de Nantes, an island and former shipyard district in the Loire River which has been reinvented as a hub of art and culture, and home to an impressive 40 foot high mechanical elephant. He calls in at an urban garden where vegetables are grown to supply the nearby restaurant, La Cantine Du Voyage.
Nantes has many fine restaurants but he particularly wants to find a classic neighbourhood bistro, Les Chants D’Avril, where he is invited into the kitchen by chef Christophe François who demonstrates a recipe for Hake with a Sesame Seed Crust and Beurre Blanc. One of the delicious ingredients in the dish is Muscadet, a white wine from the Nantes region. Rory is joined for lunch by Muscadet producer Marie Luneau Papin who gives him a tasting and explains how Muscadet has soared in popularity over the past twenty years.
Next, Rory goes in search of a Nantes speciality, the Petit Beurre biscuit. Artisan chocolatier Vincent Guerlais has perfected his own mouthwatering version of this Nantes classic, and Rory visits his shop to learn about the biscuit’s distinctive ingredients and decoration.
The next morning, Rory enjoys a quick coffee and pain au chocolat before heading to the Talensac Market which is one of the great food markets of the region. He’s on a mission to buy a picnic lunch and is spoiled for choice by the local cheeses. He also opts for some other local delicacies including radishes, Gariguette strawberries and a scrumptious Gâteau Nantais.
Rory has his picnic in the Botanical Gardens home to over 10,000 plant species. He is given a private tour and is delighted by the colourful array of flowers, from edible varieties to the city’s very own type of camellia, the Ville De Nantes.
Completing his long weekend in style, Rory enjoys dinner at the historic Le Cigale brasserie, originally established in 1895 and renowned for its sumptuous Art Nouveau interior. He chooses Oysters, followed by Steak Béarnaise, and to top it off, a Kouign-amann puff pastry confection filled with toffee caramel butterscotch mousse, made with salted butter from the region.
Back home in Cork, Rory creates a recipe to remind him of a magnificent weekend in Nantes – Baked Turbot with Sauce Beurre Blanc.
A Long Weekend in … with Rory O’Connell is produced by David Hare of InproductionTV for RTÉ and sponsored by Neff.
Ann Coughlan 00 353 87 6778045
Pauline Cronin 00 353 87 2629967