I wrote a post in FRENCH for the blog that the language school runs. I am posting the translation here, but you can hop over to the CLE blog to see the original!
We love the Chateaux of the Loire region, but we are interested in the wine and spirits the region offers as well. So, when we discovered that the Cointreau factory isn’t far from Tours, I absolutely wanted to visit. I like making a margarita on the weekend, and learning about new cocktail preparations. And, since Cointreau, an orange liqueur and the original triple sec, is so expensive at home, we’ve never even purchased a bottle, even though every cocktail recipe that requires triple sec suggests Cointreau as the highest quality option. So I thought an afternoon at the factory would prove to be interesting.
For the excursion, we rented a car, since we wanted to see different parts of the region that are difficult to access without one. After a visit to the town of Angers, we took the car to the outskirts of town where the Cointreau factory is located. I made a reservation by telephone (all in FRENCH!) before arriving, since it is obligatory to have a reservation in order to complete the 10 euro tour and tasting.
The guide explained the ingredients in Cointreau to us: three different types of dried orange peel, neutral alcohol made with beet sugar, and water. The whole factory smelled like fresh, sweet orange.
After the visit, that we completed in FRENCH!, we enjoyed a tasting of three different types of Cointreau. First, we tried a long drink cocktail called the “Cointreau Fizz,” that was made with Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and sparkling water. Not as good as a margarita, but also less potent, and refreshing for a hot day. Next, we tried a few sips of Cointreau Blood Orange, and Cointreau Noir. If you like cocktails, and want to experience a unique visit to the region, I recommend the Cointreau factory. And, the best part, you can buy a bottle of Cointreau for about half the price of a bottle in the US.