Fishing in the Loire for the pleasure of the taste buds

Far fewer in number than the anglers, there are just four professional fishermen in Touraine on the Loire using nets and traditional boats.

For these enthusiasts, making a living from fishing is not always plain sailing. From one season to the next, weather conditions may have an effect on activity, as for instance when the summer is very hot with low water levels and the abundance of seaweed makes fishing difficult. So, the fishermen who supply the top restaurants in Touraine and a few wholesalers also work in fish processing or open their own restaurants to the delight of gourmets from here and elsewhere.

Taste the flavours of the river

Among them, Romain Gadais, in his wonderful village of Bréhémont, produces a wide range of rillettes made from mullet, carp, catfish and bream, with whole, filleted or smoked fish from the Loire, as well as soups and ready-made dishes.

From the spring, he also opens his restaurant, La Cabane à Matelot, ideally located on the famous Loire à Vélo cycling route, with a breathtaking view over the royal river and the boats at the quay. Very quickly adopted by fine gourmets who praise the quality of the produce and the convivial atmosphere, the restaurant has a reasonably priced menu featuring barbel spring rolls, carp carpaccio and brochettes of grilled catfish, while not forgetting the traditional Loire fish fry with common bleak and gudgeon.

Loire fishes

Loire fishes

La cabane à matelot

La cabane à matelot

Philippe BOISNEAU, near the Loir-et-Cher border, and Thierry BOUVET, close to Montlouis and its vineyards, are also local restaurant owners. Further west, near the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne, Nicolas HERAULT fishes some 15 species of fish, which he uses to make delicious rillettes of smoked Loire mullet with saffron or traditional mustard.

All these subtle flavours can be tasted during enjoyable trips along the Loire, Vienne or Cher in the company of boatmen, and with a glass of Vouvray, Montlouis or Touraine Sauvignon.

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