The Loire Valley Part 3: The Medieval Kitchen

Greetings my fellow foodies and campers! Gourmet Girl Denise here. I have just returned today from one of the most beautiful places on Earth; The Loire river valley in France. I went there on a reconnaissance trip that was way too short to see if I want to retire there in the next couple of years. I have traveled extensively in France in the past, but somehow never made it to this part of the country. What I discovered was an area with many rivers, beautiful chateaux and great food. And yes, I could live there!

While visiting the chateaux of Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry, Samur, and Chenonceau, I found myself drawn to the heart of these fairytale homes: the kitchens. It was amazing to see how food was prepared in Medieval and Renaissance times. And for royalty too! That meant that it had better be good or you might find yourself, if you were the cook, hanging by a hook in the dungeon.

At my favorite chateaux Chenonceau,in the lowest level of the building were the kitchen rooms: a butchers room with several wooden butcher blocks all outfitted with steel cleavers of various sizes, two huge walk-in fireplaces with copper and cast iron pots hanging from chains, an ancient bread oven, and an amazing wood burning oven that was at least six feet long. Here they are:

Nice copper pot!

The bread oven

Wish my kitchen had a ceiling like this!

Looks like the Cornu oven of today.

Sorry about how blurry this is but it’s cast iron cooking! Just like in our book! So really I guess camp cooking is very much like going back in time to a perhaps more rustic way of life, where time passes slowly and you don’t eat in front of the television. And as my dear Aunt Kate used to say, “what could be bad about anything so good?”

Keep on traveling and experiencing wonderful regional cuisine. Until next time,

The Gourmet Girls on Fire!