Thursday, June 17, 2010

France: Burgundy Region

I've been back in "The States" just over a week.  Coming home should be relaxing..... time filled with extra rest, lots of laundry, time to edit photos.....  Well, so far, only the third one has been happening!  And it's only happening because I've been physically exhausted, but not necessarily "sleepy" exhausted, so many hours have been spent in bed, with my laptop, trying to edit photos :)

I returned to Charleston at 10:30pm EST on June 9th, collected my luggage, and spent two precious hours with A, who had driven down just to pick me up from the airport.   Then, the following morning (last Thursday), I had to get up to be to my summer school class by 7:30.  The getting up early wasn't difficult.... it was the staying alert part!  On top of getting over jet lag, catching up from being gone over two weeks, and starting summer school, I also began my new job.  Exciting and stressful all at the same time!

I've simply come to realize that my life, most assuredly this summer, but potentially from here on out, will most likely have no routine or pattern.  This fact is difficult for me to wrap my mind around, as I am one of those "ducks in a row" kind of person.  So please forgive me, dear elusive readers, if my sporadic posting becomes even more sporadic.

I've got a bunch of France posts still in the works, though? Hope no one's sick of france quite yet....  

Today's post is all about the Burgundy region.  Burgundy had the most highs and lows (both in relations to our spirits and geographically), but it probably remains my favorite area visited on the trip.  Kelli has also written a wonderful post about our time in Beaune, which I encourage everyone to read!

Biking through Burgundian Wine Country.  

Though we stayed in Dijon during our time in the Burgundy region, we took a day trip to the picturesque village of Beaune.  We rented bicycles, stopped by the "smashing" market (post to come), and headed out into wine country on a 24km tour.

The beauty was unbelievable!

We participated in a wine tasting at  Olivier Leflaive in Puligny Montrachet where we sampled Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

I'm not the most physically fit person (actually, I'm not athletic at all and I'm terribly, terribly out of shape).  And so I spent most of this day dying surviving on the trail and not taking as many photos as I wished I could have.....   I'm not kidding when I say I thought I was going to die while biking.  And no, it was not from the wine tasting (the French do a lot of spitting when tasting wine, a practice which I embraced!)......

Still, even though the act of biking through vineyards in France sounded much easier than it actually was, completing the tour is probably my most proud accomplishment of the trip!  I made it!  Even if I was painfully slow (and in great pain later that night and into the following day)!

Eating in Burgundy: 
I did a great deal of research prior to this trip....  lots of hours online.... time spent pouring over books....  And from my research, I learned that Burgundy has some of the best food in France!  So although eating had been on my agenda this entire trip ("eating" was even the purpose I gave for this trip when I went through customs in Atlanta upon returning to "the States"), it became even more important to me during our time in Burgundy!

Beaune celebratory meal
We celebrated surviving our bike tour by a lovely, lovely outdoor meal in Beaune.   We asked the owner of the bike shop for a good place for "traditional burgundian" food and his suggestion did not disappoint!
I chose to do a four course meal to experience a little of everything and to share with my companions.

First Pre Course: Wine was a must with this meal!  A nice spicy, peppery red from Beaujoulais

First Course: Escargot with mushrooms and puff pastry 

Snails, take one!  Snails take two happened the following night....

Second Course: Boeuf Bourguignon with lovely buttered pasta and garlic toast 

Best. Beef. Ever!  And that's coming from someone who really hasn't eaten beef at all in the past 12 years, until finally venturing to make Boeuf Bourguignon this past winter.   This boeuf totally blew my boeuf out of the water

Third Course: Fromage 

The most stressful portion of the meal.... choosing cheese!  Thankfully our waiter spoke a bit of English and could help explain some of the cheese to me.

I ended up choosing (from left to right): a soft burgundian mustard cheese, comte, a goat cheese, and a soft cheese similar to brie.   The mustard cheese though: Best. Cheese. Ever! (more will come on that one during a future post)

Fourth Course: Pears poached in Burgundian wine with Cassis (black currants traditional to the area) sorbet & a raspberry/currant sauce.  

Fruity, slightly sweet, delicious!

It was a meal to remember!  A meal filled with laughter, good company, and lots of eating :)

Dijon celebratory meal
The following night, we had yet another, what I consider, "celebratory" meal.  You see, although it was our 3rd night in Dijon, it was as though we were in a completely new city!  There were some slight "issues" with our original hotel in the Dijon area.  Actually, we weren't even in Dijon--we were in an adjoining city at quite possibly the worst hotel ever.  I double checked my finances (discovering I was quite under-budget) and insisted we move to another hotel for the last night.  Although it wasn't an easy decision for anyone, by the time we checked in to our clean, cool, wifi-compatable hotel in the heart of old town Dijon, we honestly did feel as though we were in a whole new city!  So celebrations were in order.

First course: Les Escargots.

This first picture is for my dear Grandma with whom I use to watch "I Love Lucy" at times that were way, way past my bedtime....   For those not versed in the specific episode of "I Love Lucy" which I was imitating, Lucy goes to France and orders "les escargot" off a menu, not realizing what they are....  And she then proceeds to try to tell her french waiter, through words and pantomime, what exactly they are: SNAILS!

Actually, though, they were quite delicious!

Second Course: Poulet a la Gastron Gerard.

Some of the best chicken I've ever eaten!  But really, when you cook chicken in cream and wine and mustard and cheese, what's not to love?

Once again at this restaurant, I did a multi course package so I could try many things.... but the only unfortunate side was that I had only two dessert choices.  So I twisted Kelli's arm and asked forced her to order a dessert as well! How terrible, extra dessert.....

Mine was a pear and cassis crumble.  Mmmmm! Tasty and not too sweet!

Kelli's dessert was unbelievable!  A Trio of Chocolate Desserts! The chocolate macaron was one of the best of the trip.

Stay tuned for more memories from France!

1 comment:

  1. I have so much love for this post. So. Much. Love. :D

    You write so well, mademoiselle! bisous grases, tu me manques beaucoup!