Wine without food would be terribly rude....

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If anything about my recent trip to Angers and the Loire Valley has got you thumbing your Lonely Planet guide to France then I can’t finish this tale without telling you about the food because that’s what’s going to get you booking your ticket. It was délicieuse.

I touched on some of the specialities of the region at the end of my last post and was spoilt enough to taste them all. I always think of a regions geography and climate when I’m anticipating whether I’m going to enjoy the food, it’s usually a give away. In this case the Loire Valley runs along a 300km river, so river fish, particularly pike, are fresh and meaty. Agriculture is a key industry with sweet red cherries, asparagus and artichokes doing well and lush rolling plains are a haven for creating plump green grass for grazing to produce flavoursome and moreish goats and cows cheese.

All of these and much much more were displayed in the chicest of fashions at three not to be missed restaurants-that-only-locals-know in and around Angers.

Dinner on the first night was in the centre of Angers at a restaurant you’d never know was there were it not for the advantage of being hosted by a local. At Mets et Vins Plaisir there was no wine list, just a wall of wine for you to browse through and select to drink at your table or take away. A refreshing change to the pressure of a printed list and not getting to see the bottle before it’s too late. I don’t know about you but I choose my wines with my eyes as well as my taste buds so this simple format had me loving the place from the word go. Starter was noix de St Jacques, mini scallops the size of a nut in a lightly curried soup. A summery Moroccan influenced couscous and tuna main with a mint and mango chutney followed and went well with both the dry and a sweeter styles of Chenin Blanc that we ordered.

I strategically skipped the cheese course at Met et Vins Plaisir leaving me room for a three course lunch the next day. This time La Croisette an elegant surf style beach shack by the side of the river in a hamlet called Béhuard, 30 minutes drive out of Angers. It's one of a new trend of restaurants called a Guinguette (relaxed restaurants by the river) that are popping up along the Loire. Rillettes de poisons to start (fished from the river of course), then a slab of pike with buerre blanc sauce and frites, and the simplest but tastiest dessert – cooked cherries with cold French custard. Time for a snooze!

Our last dinner was the perfect blend of everything we’d visited so far, La Table Bergerie is a seriously stylish restaurant half an hour outside of town. It sits in the middle of the Yves Guegniard vineyard, literally, where we romantically drank a glass of Crémant de Loire rosé on the terrace gazing at the vines while the sun went down. More fish to start, beef for the main, a strawberry masterpiece for desert and then the cheese. All paired with wines from the beautiful, family run Yves Guegniard estate, of which the restuarant is part of its buildings. La Table Bergerie was the pièce de resistance, the crescendo of the trip. Take a taxi there and a taxi back, if the wine isn't temptation enough then the brightness of the of the moon as you drive home through the vines is worth the fare, on a clear night it's as breath taking as the food.