Rivarennes poires tapées
Have you heard of the poire tapée? This pear recipe is one of the great specialities of Touraine and especially of the little village of Rivarennes near Azay-le-Rideau. It is actually one of the oldest methods for preserving fruits, and first brought to France at the time of the Crusades.
Welcome to the land of orchards – and especially pears!
Autumn is a crucial period for producers of poires tapées (dried pears). After the harvest, tons of pears need to be peeled before being dried in a traditional oven or a drying room. The same technique is used for all varieties of pears. With a great deal of patience and a firm hand, workers need to peel some 10 to 12 tons of fresh pears to make 1 ton of poires tapées! The pears are placed on grids to dry, and then heated between 120 and 150 hours in the oven at a temperature between 80 and 100°.
The pears are then removed from the oven or drying room and flattened using an impressive tool, the “platissoire”!
The aim is not just to make them look nicer, but also removes the remaining air from the pears, helping to complete the dehydration process. And then you’re done, because the poire tapée can be preserved for years on end – just as well as in a tin can or a storage jar!
And here is the magnificent result! The pears are at their best freshly baked, warm and tender, a real treat!
There are poire tapée recipes of all kinds for food-lovers. They can be served with savoury dishes as well as desserts. You will find them in terrines, in foie gras, served with caramel, as jam, as syrups and much else besides!
The Maison Hérin, nestling in beautiful troglodyte caves, organises a guided visit to its premises with a chance to see how poire tapée is made. Since 1995, the company has been producing poire tapée with their own pears, grown without fertilisers in their orchards in Rivarennes and Bréhémont.
The guided visit is rounded off with a tasting and the opportunity to see all their home-made products made from poires tapées.
Their restaurant, Troglo’poires, is open at lunchtime in summer (or on reservation all the year round for groups). The local, home-made menu is based around traditional fouées (a local bread), baked before your eyes in a wood-fired oven and filled with local ingredients.
The Reines de Touraine shop, at the centre of Rivarennes, restores traditional ovens in the region to good working order. Today there are six of them. Gone are the days when there were 80 ovens in use in Rivarennes, in the late 19th century, but the aim today is to maintain local heritage and skills.
Behind a beautiful early 20th century façade, Mr and Mrs Blot welcome you to the poire tapée cellar! You are sure to find what you are looking for among the wide range of products!