The village of Valaire boasts a mere 99 souls, a small parish, the Métarmophozes gardens…. and a wine lovers’ inn! At L’Herbe Rouge (timeless tiling, a fireplace, mismatched chairs, a shady terrace), Richard Haudebourg pops open bottles of wine while Sophie Rabeyrin-Haudebourg, who used to work at L’Annexe in Montmartre, stews up unfussy, irreproachable plates. For us, the night we went for dinner: a dashing cumin and coriander spiced chickpea salad; delicate Roi Rose pork fillet from Touraine, slow-cooked on the stovetop and then oven-roasted, paired with a delicious carrot purée with dehydrated sage from the garden; and then a chocolate lava cake paired with a cacao nib crumble, brought out by a waitress “who looks like that actress in the Plus belle la vie soap opera,” according to the old man seated behind us.
FEELING THIRSTY? A beautiful selection of (only natural) Loire wines: a Pinot noir from Thierry Puzelat (€4.50 a glass), Les Hauts de Madon, a Cheverny red from Christian Venier (€24 a bottle), a Pineau-d’Aunis from Laurent Lebled (€47)…
PRICE: À la carte €26-43.