Food and Wine in Burgundy

You cannot go wrong in Burgundy for food and wine!!  We did not have one bad meal anywhere along the route, including breakfasts!

The hotels we stayed in all had pretty good breakfasts….European style continental ones.  Breads, various types of spreads (confit) and cheeses, usually an assortment of cold deli type meats, fruit, yogurt, cereal (some hot too), hard/soft boiled eggs that you did yourself in those neat little machines.  A good way to start the day.

Lunch was usually a salad, something quick that we could gobble down and get back on the road/trail before the heat got to be too much.

Jambon Persille and a salad…..another day salad nicoise….yummy!

 

It was a little embarrassing stopping at nice places like this…..with our lovely padded biking pants and really bad hair (from the helmets!!) .

Dinners were all really good.  A couple places we stayed were out in the middle of nowhere ,which meant eating at the hotel…..certainly not the cheapest option but the two dinners we had were so good…..the food, the service, the ambiance etc.   I’m pretty sure I’ve never eaten in a Michelin star restaurant but I do think these meals were close to what and how that would be.

We came across, in Prisse, the French version of a “strip mall”…..if only ours were like this!!  No McD’s or Burger Kings here!!  Everything you could possibly want or need.  Amazing cheeses, a bakery with incredible breads, pastries and pre-made baguettes, a wine store with all local wines.  Everything is presented so beautifully!We had a great little lunch at a table outside after wandering through all the shops….

 

Wine…..what can I say???  Amazing wines, all for one fifth (or less!!) than what a bottle would cost at home….even in restaurants.  Besides the famous burgundy wine (pinot noir for red and chardonnay for the white) we had Aligote,  https://vinepair.com/wine-blog/aligote-burgundys-other-white-wine/    which we found very drinkable….a nice “patio wine” (good with or without food on a nice warm summer afternoon!).    And the burgundy sparkling wine, cremant.   https://www.burgundytoday.com/gourmet-traveller/cremant-de-bourgogne.htm.

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Our route was from Beaune (Cote de Beaune area) to Macon (Maconnais).  We stopped for lunch or a drink in a few of the towns on our route….all lovely!  If it hadn’t of been so hot, we probably would have headed to a few more of the places a kilometer or two off the trails….

Burgundy Wine Map by Wine Folly

The hotels we stayed in were all really quite lovely….two that sort of stick out though are:

http://www.auberge-du-camp-romain.com/uk/home.html  This was in the middle of nowhere…..up a huge steep hill to end our second day of biking!  It is pretty much a self contained resort where people go to get away from the cities….lots of hiking and biking and of course vineyards to visit.  It has everything you need (except air conditioning in the old building…where we were!!).  We arrived fairly early in the afternoon and after cleaning up we immediately hit the bar!  Instead of wine we had a good old Canadian favorite to quench our thirst….the lady in the bar knew about it from other Canadians!

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Beer and tomato juice….known as a Calgary Redeye!

 

Then, with some energy restored, we had a good look around the place….the spa, the pool, the grounds and the little church in the hamlet.  The rest of the afternoon was spent just relaxing on the beautiful outdoor patio with a nice bottle of burgundy.

This place was where we had one of our best dinners…..I forgot to take pictures of the main course and the dessert/cheese plates.  The other thing that we had here, and just about everywhere else, to start our meal was an “amuse bouche” or an “amusette”.  Usually it was a small taste (think large shot glass size) of a cold soup….here it was a celery and pea puree with cream…..sounds odd but was incredibly delicious!

Our appetizers…..goat cheese wrapped in marinated thinly sliced beets and mussels in cream….

 

The other “in the middle of nowhere” place was http://www.ledracy.com/en/  Lunch and dinner here!  Fantastic service and food, beautiful pool and grounds with many little places to sit or wander around….. and a great outdoor bar area.  Thank goodness the cost of the hotel was included in our package because our bill at the end of this stay was almost $200 each!!  Not cheap but so, so nice to splurge a bit after a hot day of cycling.  After lunch we hit the pool and bar with our books for a great relaxing afternoon.

Dinner appetizers…..crab cakes with smoked salmon and a “stew” of frogs legs and escargot

Dinner fish (bass if I remember correctly) and duck…

And last but not least…..the cheese plates (hardest part was deciding which 4 cheeses from a trolley of about 50!!) and dessert.  We picked 4 different ones each then shared!

 

We started this trip in Beaune, https://www.beaune-tourism.com/  which is lovely place with lots of history (and good wine!).  I’d been thru Beaune years ago but didn’t really spend a lot of time there to explore…this time I had a day and half so took in as much as we could.

Lunch in Beaune after our first half day of cydling was a little hole in the wall bistro down the street….no menus here!  The plat du jour is what you get…..a salad, a beef burgundy type stew and dessert!  Absolutely delicious….so famished forgot to take a picture!

Our tour ended in Macon http://macon-france.com/   ….definitely a place to go back to.  It’s on the Saone river and has an great waterfront area with tons of restaurants, bars, various outdoor entertainment venues and a wonderful old historic centre.  A great dinner to celebrate our accomplishment of biking thru Burgundy!

A burgundy cremant and my fav dinner, moules et frites to finish off the trip!

My only advice for Macon is to not expect to get a taxi on a weekend!  Headed down to the lobby early Saturday morning to order our taxi to the TGV station….only to be told there are no taxis on the weekends!!  Ack!!!  The gal did manage to round a driver up for us, which was a good thing as the station is not within walking distance and it was already too late to try to catch the bus!!

It was on to Paris for our last week…..

L.

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Biking in Burgundy!

 

This might have to be two separate posts…..just so much to share and so many pictures that I could post.

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Our quaint little hotel in Beaune to start! Two nights, which also gave us time to explore Beaune one afternoon.

 

All the “stuff” we had in our package.  All the info on the Beaune – Macon wine route, maps with the daily routes and directions (which left a bit to ones imagination sometimes!!) to follow etc. The one that shows the ups and downs of the routes made me drink!!

 

It was really quite a lot of fun….overall a very good experience and one I wouldn’t mind doing again with a few adjustments to the itinerary (less hills, shorter daily routes for more time to spend tasting along the routes).  A couple things came up that we weren’t prepared for:  1. the hilliness of the route and 2. the weather.

This was a “Level 1” bike trip.  http://burgundybiketour.com/multi-days-bike-tours/self-guided-6-days-bike-wine-tour-beaune-to-macon/  No where on this site does it show the varying degrees of the terrain you’ll be biking on….there were more hills than we expected.  Some places it was a gradual uphill for quite a distance, which we could deal with, other places it was pretty steep and we had to walk our bikes up the hill, even using all the gears it was virtually impossible to ride up.  Brenda was in much better shape than me and faired better on the hills but even she struggled (the heat didn’t help!).  There was also downhills, of course, which I thoroughly enjoyed!!  One full day, the longest ride day, was along the canals the entire route, so nice and flat!  I had gone bike riding for a few months ahead of our trip as well as going to the gym to get my legs strengthened, and I’m sure it helped, however I would not call this tour a “casual bike ride thru vineyards”…..so not something I would recommend for someone that only bikes once or twice a year.

Some of beautiful Burgundy!

 

All that said we also had to deal with a heat wave!  Daytime temps were well up into the mid-high 30’sC (100F)…..the worst June heat they said in 10 years!!   Because of that and the limited amount of shade on the route, we set out early each morning with the goal of getting to our next hotel by lunch time or before it got unbearable in the heat.  As a result it was not the leisurely ride we’d planned on so we didn’t stop at many of the places that we’d have liked for wine tastings and nice two hour lunches.   We left our hotels each morning with 6 or 8 frozen bottles of water, all of which were gone in no time….it was pretty brutal in that heat.  Often we’d ride for miles before seeing anyone else out and about on the bike routes….I wonder why???

France has an incredible network of bike routes along canals, greenways, thru vineyards, small towns and villages and beautiful scenery….the best part of which there is no regular road traffic.  These trails are bike and pedestrian only, which makes them very safe, even for a novice biker.  We did come across various types of farm/vineyard vehicles/machines but had no issues with them.

More along the route….trees with balls of mistletoe and the Bois Clair tunnel (1.6KM or .99M) 

I really did get to push myself to the limit on this trip (a good thing….I think!)  I was more than ready to throw the towel in one day but Brenda convinced me to keep going….that taxi in the town looked pretty damn tempting when the temps had hit 37 at 10AM!  Luckily I did persevere because the rest of that day turned out to be one of the best rides we had.  After the very hot and hilly start it leveled out and carried on along a canal, on the shady side, for the rest of that leg.

And of course there was food!!  And wine….lots of both and all excellent.  I tried to remember to take pictures of the food…..the presentation of everything, even the simple croissant at a café, is done so well.   That will be my next post!

L.

Back To Blogging

I’ve taken a bit of time away because I wasn’t sure if I really had anything to blog about anymore…..I think I’ve kind of arrived at that “new normal”.  It’s been almost 4 years since Ken passed away and my life seems to have fallen into a routine of sorts.

It’s not that I don’t grieve anymore, because I do….I grieve for him, for how our life was supposed to be, companionship, grandchildren that won’t know him….lots of things but none of these things are as gut wrenching as they used to be.  You never forget but you do move on and that grief doesn’t overwhelm you anymore.  That hole in your heart slowly fills with memories…..good ones.

So is it still “The Journey After”?  Or is it a new journey?  I don’t know and truthfully I’m not sure that I could set up a new blog so I’ve decided to just continue on with this one.  I don’t have anything terribly exciting to post about on a daily basis so maybe once a week or so.  I still have holiday posts to finish…..that bike trip in Burgundy for example….and I will get that done, soon.

My interests these days are traveling, of course, food and cooking and books.  That is what I plan on posting about the most.  I still have the trials and tribulations of home repairs around here…..ie a kitchen faucet that seems to have a swivel life of it’s own so my plumbing skills will once again be tested (thank god for youtube DIY videos!!) and other mundane domestic type duties (laundry!!)…..not overly interesting unless I manage to mess something up and can share a lesson learned from it.

So starting tomorrow, or the next day, I’ll get back into blogging.  I’ve been in prep mode for the upcoming trip to India….getting the visa has been a “fun” experience which I could share….and will after I finish last years trip.

L.