ESU Event - Saturday 28th February at Les Rosiers sur Loire

Mme Yolande Powell

We were welcomed to Le Vinaillou Biscuit Factory by Magali Groneau for whom it was the first guided visit of 2015. It was to be an extremely interesting visit of the factory, which opened in 2001.

Patrick, Magali’s husband, grew up in Saumur where his father was a baker on the Ile d’Offard. When he was 20, he answered an advertisement to work for 6 months in Corsica in a bakery where both bread and biscuits were made. He stayed for 10 years. On returning to Anjou he founded his own company, purchasing the old primary school at Le Clairay, a hamlet of Les Rosiers sur Loire. He rapidly created his own biscuit “the Vinaillou”, which incorporates cabernet rouge d’Anjou with flour, ground nut oil and sugar to produce a crispy biscuit. 3,400 biscuits are cut from a mix based on 20 kilo flour. We were given the opportunity to watch Patrick and listen to the commentary as he prepared this original creation. It is just one of the twelve types of biscuits and galettes he now produces.

All of Patrick’s biscuits are hand made and all incorporate local produce: not only wine but local honey, apple juice, chocolate and even Royal Combier which he uses in his latest creation to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the "Vinaillou”.

Magali gave us an entertaining commentary in English. She and Patrick together make a wonderful team. As well as conducting the guided visits, Magali looks after sales and distribution of their produce to various outlets in the area. We then visited the shop where we were able to taste samples of the whole range of biscuits: pure butter galettes, and biscuits flavoured with lemon, orange, honey and apple juice were greatly appreciated as was a spicy flavoured biscuit using Hypocras wine with cinnamon and cardamom. Royal Combier and red Anjou wine flavoured biscuits followed. All were truly appreciated.

To discover a local biscuit business run by a delightful entrepreneurial couple was a surprise for most of those attending. Lunch followed at the Toque Blanche, just 5 minutes away in the Town, where other members were waiting for the group. Monsieur and Madame Lefèbvre served us beautifully presented dishes that were enjoyed by all.

Thanks to all their efforts Magoli and Patricks’ produce are available chez Ackerman, as well as all the other major wine producers, the tourist office in Saumur; the delicatessen boutique “L’angle des Delices” in Saumur and chez Leclerc. A special order is prepared for the rose gardens at Doué la Fontaine incorporating extract of rose.