What is it today that makes Hardouin famous, which would therefore go beyond the borders of Touraine?
Welcome to the lair of fine products and gastronomy, from the Touraine region. When you enter the Virage gastronomique, the century-old Hardouin charcuterie, not far from the Loire and the Vouvray vines, some may feel close, and rightly so, to reach the holy grail of savory delicacies. Here hams, sausages and pâtés go hand in hand with the three undisputed stars of the place. I would first like to mention the rillons, these famous rectangular cubes of pork belly delicately browned in a cast-iron pot and drizzled with white wine. Without a competitive spirit, because all are excellent, the Tours rillettes made in Hardouin are also worth the trip. Neither too fatty (like sometimes the rillettes from Le Mans), nor too dry, they literally melt in your mouth. Now let’s finish our gourmet walk with Hardouin’s last famous must, the string andouillette, even if this specialty will probably put off some listeners.
A string, but for what?
The manufacturing method is as unique as the result. It consists of placing casings cut into strips around a cord and then braiding them by hand. Last operation, we unroll the dress around, a pocket also in gut, to hold the inside well. The andouillette, once cooked, will not scatter into lint and will not ruin the smooth running of your barbecue. Like all of Hardouin’s specialties, the andouillettes are handcrafted in his laboratory located less than a kilometer away.
An almost century-old story of Hardouin.
In fact, it was in 1936 that André Hardouin, a worker at the Guillon delicatessen, bought the business from his boss. The establishment, located at the time on the rue du commerce in Vouvray, made all of its charcuterie on site. It was not until 1954 that the charcuterie moved to the banks of the Loire and took off in the 1970s under the leadership of André’s two sons, André Junior and Jacques. They added a catering activity and in 1994 built a laboratory certified to European standards. Julien Garnier, who took over Hardouin in 2003 and himself a native of Touraine, will continue to develop the company which today employs 46 people and has generated 4.7 million euros in revenue. As you can see, we are therefore far from the pre-war small delicatessen!
Hardouin’s reputation has gone beyond the borders of Touraine.
The pots of Tourangelles rillettes are sold in particular at Lafayette Gourmet and in many delicatessens in the capital. Did you know anything else about the famous Parisian restaurant Le Pied de Cochon, which is partly supplied by the butcher in Vouvray? Hardouin has finally shone recently under the gold of the Republic. Alongside platters of oysters from Marennes and Nantes cheeses, he produced the charcuterie buffet set up at the Elysee Palace on the sidelines of the last congress of mayors of France in November.