Rillettes from Tours
The typical Centre Rillette is a delicate pork product originated from the town of Tours. Produced with traditional techniques and with pork meat exclusively, the Tours rillettes de porc are now a serious rival to the well-known pork rillettes from Le Mans. The food from the Centre of France has indeed become a benchmark when it comes to gourmet French products.
The traditional Tours rillettes - according to the Centre inhabitants - "get right to the heart of what's good"! Satisfying all lovers of pork products and French charcuterie, this moist tasty terrine originated in the 15th century in the Centre region accounts now for the delicious convivial sharers and starters of the French gastronomy. Rillettes lovers will be delighted.
The taste of this rough country paté is quite mild, especially when served at room temperature, spread on crisp slices of French bread with gherkins. Outstanding!
The pork speciality from Tours is in fact the main rival of the rillettes de porc du Mans, the difference only lies on the ingredients: porkbutchers from Le Mans like adding goose meat when Tours producers keep the authentic all-pork version. By the way, Tours rillettes are leaner than the others, in which small chunks of fat are sometimes left.
The traditional Tours recette de Rillettes is actually simple. Made exclusively from pork meat (belly and fat, without liver), it relies on an accurate seasoning including garlic, shallots, fresh thyme, bay leaves, sea salt, black pepper and typical French five spice powder.
The meat is slowly cooked in such casing until it falls apart, then shredded, blended with melted pork fat and finally left to set.
In the Loire Valley area, rillettes are commonly associated with the "Rillons", another flavourful pork product cooked in the same way.
Those rillons ("rillots", "grillons" or "rillauds") can be served as a an appetizer with bread as well, but it is more common to enjoy those small pork cubes hot with mashed potatoes and mustard sauce.
Those two specialities of the former Touraine province have their own "rillettes and rillons Brotherhood" that has been promoting and protecting their authenticity since 1977.
You will find the Tours rillettes by every butcher of the Centre region - and certainly in the finest ones throughout France. Loire Valley's inhabitants are crazy about this pork terrine, generally sold in little pots or terrines. Some freshly made rillettes can also be delivered by pound, as thick chunks cut from a larger terrine.