“MEILLEURS VOEUX” AND HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR 2014!
A Happy New Year to you all from Le Clos des Guyons!
It’s true that the 31 December in France marks the last day of the year but it also marks the beginning of a very long night of eating and drinking! The New Year’s Eve called ‘Saint Sylvester’ celebrations are between friends as Christmas was for the family. And so last night there was another food orgy in local restaurants and village salle de fetes, with all the decadent food ‘encore‘ of foie gras, oysters and many bottles of Saumur wines including Crémants de Loire! Traditionally Saint Sylvester finishes around dawn with Onion Soup, that is if you have the stamina to keep going that long, usually in Le Puy that will be 5.00 or 6.00 am! And, on New Years Day, it’s not over in Saumur and Angers as many restaurants continue working with a specially prepared ‘Menu du Fete‘!. Another guarantuan meal if you are up for it.
This period is followed by Epiphany and the tradition of sharing the ‘Galette des Rois’ – or known also as the ‘Twelfth Night Cake’ or ‘King Cake’ celebrating the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem. This cake is in all French Boulangeries and is made of puff pastry and has a small porcelain hand painted charm called the féve hidden inside. The cake is usually filled with frangipane (a cream made from sweet almonds, butter, eggs and sugar) but it can be fruit or chocolate and is shaped as a crown with a cardboard gold paper crown placed on the top. Whoever the lucky person is to find the little féve in their slice of cake is then named King or Queen of the New Year and wears the gold paper crown – it is then that persons turn to buy a cake and repeat the occasion. January is a very sociable time and endless aperitifs are going to be held with the Galette des Rois accompanied by glasses of Coteaux du Saumur and delicious bubbly from Saumur. Ah a wonderful tradition! The sparkling wine houses in Saumur are many and include the prestigious Gratien and Meyer located high above in the cliff rocks on the route to Montsorea and Ackerman, Langlois Chateau, Bouvet Ladubay to name but a few in Saint Hilaire Saint Florent, just outside the centre of Saumur, so you see we are really spoilt for choice and all these alongside Le Puy’s fantastic fizzy sparklers as well!! All are well worth a visit when here in the region!
We had our first winery visit in 2014 this week! Here is a picture of our guests at Le Clos des Guyons, Claire and Liz from the UK, enjoying an afternoon with Brian on a wine tour and tasting in the cosy and chic atmosphere of the tasting room at the Domaine de la Paleine! As ever, many wines were sampled from their diverse and superb range.
Hoping you have enjoyed some memorable wines over the festive period and here’s to a Very Happy and Healthy New Year to everyone!
We are looking forward to welcoming both old and new guests to our home in 2014 and sharing some interesting Loire wines together.
For now bon apetit!
Sheila and Brian
If you are thinking about a holiday in the Loire Valley in France this year, relaxing and enjoying some lovely Loire wines, then visit our new website wwwww.closdesguyons.com for more details of our wine tours (with or without accommodation) and charming self catering holiday gites:- “Le Sauvignon”(4-6 persons)/“Le Chenin” (2-3 persons), at Le Clos des Guyons, a former Wine Domaine, in the medieval village of Le Puy Notre Dame.