Our week in Burgundy was mesmerizing! The deep rich terra-cotta and green colors of the rolling hills were continual. The views never stopped. Every where we looked were colorful easy to enjoy pastoral scenes.
The temperatures continued to be cool enough to use the wood stove every day in the late afternoon through the evening. We enjoyed every minute of it!
Our first day was Sunday and we headed to the Market in Chalon. The darling town was busy and full of people shopping and relaxing outdoors at the cafes surrounding the square. The rotisserie chickens are popular as are the fresh produce, cheese, olives and fresh meats. These markets are like going to Meijers. The vendors often have trucks and displays outfitted for refrigerated meat and cheese, but fresh produce is the queen of the market or marché!
Our hosts invited us for an aperitif which turned out to be dinner. AperitifDinatoire!They are so kind and talented! We were treated to puff pastry filled with cheese, or olive or ham. Next they brought out tiny ramekins of escargot baked with a little garlic and parsley. Then we had prunes wrapped in prosciutto and baked. The last were pretty radishes peeled to a striped pattern!
Monday we drove to the next town which was Chapaize. There is a gorgeous little medieval church there where they have concerts through the year. There’s also a charming coffee shop, a high end used furniture boutique and a fantastic restaurant I’ll share with you later.
Next we explored Brancion which is a fortress, a medieval village and a church. Very picturesque.
We had quiche with watercress salad and an omelet for lunch at this cute cafe in Branson.
Next we drove through some vineyards of Saint-Gengoux and Macconaise where I would love to return someday.
For dinner we heated up our market rotisserie chicken and roasted potatoes. I steamed the leeks I bought there too.
Tuesday we explored the medieval town of Cluny and its Abby. This town developed around the Abby of Cluny which began in 910 by 12 monks. It grew to become the ruling center of the international chain of monasteries in Europe and housed 10,000 monks. It’s a huge place but most of it was destroyed in the Revolution.
We found a great place for lunch called Hostelleria d’ l’Heloise. It’s a hotel and restaurant. As many restaurants and cafes they offer a lunch of the day. The price was 21 Euros. It was very formal but comfortable. They gave us little portions of extra courses beyond the 3 we expected.
First on a platter we received a skewer of smoked fresh salmon and a cheese cracker
2nd was a small glass of a foamed mix of tomato, cream and celery salt with olive oil.
3rd was a whitefish called faro, seared and served with 1 white asparagus and a timbale of eggplant. A remarkable sauce of white foam was the base of this dish! I watched the chef use an aerator to foam up a container of white sauce in the kitchen! Reminds me of a famous chef Fernando Adriá from Barcelona who made foaming food a phenomenon at his restaurant El Bulli.
4th was a perfectly round sphere of chocolate served on a bowl at the table. Hot chocolate sauce was poured over it which melted the ball and revealed vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries! Very unexpected!
Our formal lunch ended with some bites of handmade marshmallow, fruit gelatin and tiny Madeleine cakes. A true French dining experience in Cluny!
Wednesday we started the day at the goat farm nearby. The farm raises about 160 goats and sells products they make from the goats milk. It was fun to see the goats as they were all in the barn relaxing and eating hay or licking their salt blocks. They also had trays of white clay they eat for their digestion as desired. Branches of holly hung from the rafters of the barn to keep insects away.
We took a peek in the cheese making rooms
Goats milk yogurt
Thimble size pieces of goat cheese to snack on!
Next we visited Berzé le Chatel. There were a few children running around because it was spring break. They get 2 weeks off. There are families living in this fortress. They’re not living like royalty! It’s a ruin that’s patched into some living space.i
On to Berzé de Ville where the church had beautiful murals that have been cared for with money from large donations.
We drove through many vineyards.
Stopped for lunch in a tiny town called Davoye Le Milles. This was a surprise lunch. We expected pizza. The place was packed with men. They looked like workmen from the vineyards or construction plants nearby. After we were seated we learned that they were only serving the lunch of the day which was 3 courses for 13Euros
First was a tasty salad made of red and green Bibb lettuce, cubed ham, grated cheese and a dressing of olive oil, mustard, Aromé seasoning by Maggi. It has a lot of MSG in it!
Next we thought we were getting the chicken, but we were given smoked pork. Not so good
Then came the cheese course. Either a platter of cheeses or fromage blanc with cream. We took the fromage blanc. Yum. With a little sugar added
Then came dessert. Citron tart and apple tart.
After lunch we drove through the towns and vineyards of Vergisson, Pouilly, and Solutré
The day ended with a bit of wine tasting at a distributors center in Collongette. Nothing expensive. We bought a Bourgogne pinot and a gamay.
Thursday was spent in the larger city of Beaune. This is the wine capital of France and a very sophisticated little city. It was cold and rainy this morning but cleared up. We warmed up and enjoyed great internet at a cafe called Le Parisienne.
Our main touring was of Hotel Dieudes Hospices de Beaune. This was a medieval charity hospital built in 1443 by the chancellor of Burgundy. It’s funding continued through the years and it served as a hospital till 1971. Seeing the set ups of the beds and furnishings was interesting.
Visited the lovely cathedral
We wanted to find a nice place for lunch since Burgundy is the gourmet food capital of France. We chose a Rick Steves recommendation. La Table de Guigone, named for the wife of the man who built the Hospices de Beaune, Nickilas Rolin
Beef Bourgogne is the classic dish of this region, so that’s what we ordered. It’s a type of beef stew that’s marinated in red wine overnight and is cooked for a long time. The cattle breed of Burgundy is used which is called Charolais.
We ordered a glass of wine with lunch. The wine was a 1cr or premier cru. These red wines are rated in this order
Most wines of this are are the Bourgogne. The premier and grand cru are from selective sections of special qualified vineyards.
After Beaune we took the wine tour loop south and stopped in Pommard. We found another Rick Steves recommendation: Domaine Lejeune. A woman gave us the basic tour and wine tasting in the ancient facility. Bought a couple bottles of a Village wine.
Drove through Meursault which is a mini Beaune. Very sophisticated and well to do. Then on through Montrachet, Poligny, Chagny, Giurg, Buxy.
Stopped at the side of the road in Sercy where we found a pretty castle on a pond where the kids were fishing with their grandmother.
For dinner I steamed the vegetables from the market. Pumpkin, white asparagus and green beans. Also had some olives which are from Provence, but are sold at all the markets, nice cheese from the local goat farm and market.
Friday we drove to Cormatin which is just two towns over from the town we’re staying. It’s larger and has a Chateau which we toured. The tour guide was super, it it was all in French. He gave us a guide book to help interpret! The furnishings, tapestries and wood paneling were original to the Chateau!
The gardens were fantastic! A gazebo with a spiral staircase overlooking the property, topiaries, herb garden, kitchen garden and formal gardens.
For dinner we went to the next town over, Chapaize and enjoyed Cafe Saint Martin. Super service and food! This is a small village but a lot of arts going on. The cafe is across the street from the beautifully lit church
The chefs from Leon and made delicious food for us at their Cafe Le Saint Martin
A great bottle of 1cr wine from the area
My 1st was seared scallops over spinach and pomegranate seeds with vinaigrette
Dave’s was a phyllo triangle filled with beef tail and foie gras over salad
My main course was local veal with chanterelle mushroom sauce
Dave’s was the local charolais beef with pepper sauce
For dessert I had 4 layers of chocolate that looked like. Napoleon or mille-fleurs
Dave’s was a deconstructed lemon tart
This was a grand end to our stay in beautiful Burgundy!