There is a place in the Loire valley that should be visited at least once by every lover of wine, and especially those who also have a liking for reasonable prices, jazz, blues, classic rock and bistrots that just seep atmosphere and friendliness through every pore. It is not yet well known. Not suprising as it has only been open for a year or so. But get there as soon as you can, and I will tell you more about why in a moment.
Now for the decor to this story. About midway between Tours and Angers lies the small town of Bourgueil, which has a wine to its name, made from cabernet franc. I was visiting Bourgueil on a research trip for an article on the cabernet franc grape variety a little while ago and was looking for somewhere to eat in the evening. The restaurant I had randomly picked in a street was fully occupied by a group of people, so I asked them for advice. They directed me to a place on the outskirts of town, adding that it was next to a petrol station and a supermarket on the road out to Chinon. Didn’t sound very appetizing, but it was late, we were hungry, and the people insisted that it was good, but « simple ». Easy to find it was, indeed just before a petrol station and opposite a large and dishevelled set of greenhouses, on a small crossroad on the route going south out of Bourgueil. Winding one’s way through Bourgueil and its maze of one-way streets is another matter! The place is called Café de la Promenade and you can check it out here: www.cafedelapromenade.com.
But a wine restaurant needs food as well. The Promenade’s menu may not get it much attention from the gastronomic guides, as it is quite basic but of excellent quality thanks to carefully chosen ingredients of the seasons. Charcuteries and cheeses, of course, but also some of the best and freshest oysters I have had inland, plus that Alsatian staple dish called flammekeuche that is a first cousin to a pizza, and whatever daily dish Ludo has put together.
You on your way? See you there.
Café de la promenade
1 avenue du général de Gaulle
33 (0)2 47 95 10 87