Skip to main content

Gastronomy in the Loire, France

Hiking while speaking French, at Roanne

After a first contact with the Ecole des Trois Ponts in 2011, I decided to return in order to discover a little more about this little piece of terroir called the Roannais, nestled   between the Charolais, the Auvergne volcanoes and the Lyonnaise region. 

Passionate about French gastronomy, the authenticity of the terroir was especially striking to me.  The Roannais is blessed with a varied and dynamic gastronomic heritage.  There I discovered numerous products of quality, reflecting the savoir-faire and generosity of its inhabitants. Roanne is clearely a perfect place to establish a cooking school, in France.

3 days of gourmet discoveries in the Roannais

 Gourmands and curiosity seekers, follow my steps…

Day 1

Morning:  Les Halles indoor market

In the heart of Roanne, this indoor market, awash in colors, features fish, cheese and a diverse selection of pastry stalls. What especially pleased me was being in such close proximity to the producers and artisans who were present on site.  Lots of convivial spirit and a lovely general ambiance!

Tasting note: Without hesitation, I opt for the Fourme de Montbrison, classified AOC, Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée… What a delight!

Afternoon:   Visit to a wine cellar

After a tour of the cellar and the tasting of several wines with the option to spit – gladly – I took a walk through the vines at the time of year when they are brimming with magnificent buds.  Thank you to Pascal for his enthusiasm.  On the Côte Roannaise, about 30 winemakers produce wines that are light-bodied, with very fruity aromas, displaying a good degree of freshness and supple qualities.  The wine is made from the Gamay grape variety, and has been designated as AOC Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée since 1994.

  Day 2

Morning: Shopping in Roanne

For a long time I had heard talk of the famous praluline, a type of brioche with praline bits of almonds coated in sugar.  So I set off in search of them on the pedestrian streets in Roanne.  And voilà, I found myself in front of the famous boutique of the pastry maker who created this unique and enduring recipe: Pralus.  The aromas that wafted out from within the shop were an invitation and a precursor of the pleasurable tastes to come…..

Afternoon:  Cooking class at Ecole des Trois Ponts

I was welcomed with open arms by Valerie and her team, always so nice and dynamic.  We prepared a starter and a main dish:  walnut & crispy pear salad / filet of halibut with lemon sauce and baby vegetables.

 Day 3


Relaxing morning at the Espace Paradis du Bien-être spa in Villerest with relaxation baths accompanied by a “sweet and salty” skin treatment.


A gastronomic lunch at the flagship restaurant of Chef Troisgros, a veritable ambassador of Roanne and its surrounding towns and villages.  I learned that Maison Troisgros will move to new quarters in early 2017.  Located a few kilometers from Roanne in the community of Ouches, the new restaurant/hotel will be situated in the center of a 17 hectare park.  The third generation in a line of chefs, Michel Troisgros prepares creative and surprising cuisine and invites us to discover his blend of audacious flavors. For me it was a combination of exceptional tastes for the palate coupled with attentive service, creating a truly memorable moment.

Video about the new Troisgros location:

Day 4


A former railway tunnel reconverted into a cheese aging facility:  I was not dressed warmly enough!  The visit concluded with a tasting, of course!

Afternoon:  Cooking class at Ecole des Trois Ponts

Today, the chef invited us to prepare the famous traditional recipe blanquette de veau. For dessert, we were given the challenge to make a chocolate orange tart, with a pâte sablée (shortcrust) base.

An idea for 2023!

The Ecole des Trois Ponts shares the riches of the Roannais terroir by offering gourmet excursions linked with French language courses, respecting its primary mission – teaching French language and sharing the French culture.  These excursions allow for interactions with local producers and the discovery of gastronomic regional specialties with plenty of convivial tastings.

Voilà, without a doubt, it’s a week to plan for!