As every gourmand knows, the French are wonderfully responsible for being the masters of food and wine, influencing almost every cuisine we enjoy today. What better place for Natalie to start Getaway
's food special!
Burgundy dates back to the Renaissance and Middle Ages and is the heartland of France. It is famous for wines, particularly pinot noir and chardonnay. Beaune, Nuits-St-Georges, Chablis, Meursault and Gevrey Chambertin are just some that lovers of the grape clamour for.
Two hours south-east of Paris, Natalie was driven around by local Eric Szablowski in his wonderful old Citroën. Wine has been produced in Chablis since 854 when monks first settled there. It is recognised worldwide as one of the best light-white wines.
In between tastings there is much to enjoy. Medieval houses with ornate doors and windows, the churches of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Martin, an ancient public linen washing area, a synagogue which is a classified historic monument and a pretty stretch of the Serein River.
One of Burgundy's larger towns, Beaune has more Michelin star restaurants than anywhere else in France. Twenty-seven of them!
With local guide Manja Lytzhoft, Natalie visited Loiseau des Vignes to savour a selection of their special dishes, including poached eggs in red wine sauce. Only in France! Their wine list offers a selection of 70 premium names by the glass. While in Australia we are used to that luxury, Loiseau des Vignes is the first restaurant in Europe to serve 'good' wine by the glass.
Chateau du Clos de Vougeot
Winding between delightful villages, Natalie arrived at Burgundy's largest winery, Chateau du Clos de Vougeot. In the 12th century, it was the Abbey of Citeaux, a Cistercian order who planted the first vines. Locals believe the monks elevated wine making into an art.
The modern version is shared by eighty owners. The main wine is a red with hints of red fruits, chocolate and liquorice. A tour includes seeing a 13th century wine press which was used for 700 years, until the Revolution.
From the Celtic word meaning 'high place', Aloxe-Corton is a few kilometres north-east of Beaune. The pretty village is dominated by Corton Hill and produces mainly red wines, but a few whites as well.
Mischief and Mayhem winery is run by two Michaels. Michael Twelftree is Australian and Michael Ragg is British. They are Mayhem and Mischief respectively!
Their collective knowledge of all things wine has led to the production of stand-out wines, a real achievement for a couple of Anglos in Burgundy. They know the secrets of the soil, how it changes from village to village and how vines take up the characteristics. They sell at fair prices and package and label them with as much useful information as possible.
Their cellar door allows visitors to relax in a comfortable environment and taste the wines before purchasing.
The capital of Burgundy, Dijon is home of the famous mustard. To be called 'Dijon', a mustard must be made just as it was in the 13th century. You can buy the genuine thing at the local market which also sells everything from clothes to meat and some of the best cheeses you will ever taste. The market is one of the largest and most well-known. Known as Les Halles, the 19th century covered market was built by Gustave Eiffel who also built the famous landmark in Paris.
The city is known for its crème de cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur mixed with white wine or champagne to create the popular drink 'Kir'. Regional dishes are beef bourguignon, coq au vin, escargot, gougère and pain d'épices, a form of gingerbread.
Dijon University boasts a renowned oenology institute. Apart from superb food and wine, Dijon has been blessed with an idyllic countryside of vineyards, rivers, forests, villages and 12th century churches.
Burgundy in the heart of France.
Emirates has flights to Paris from:
- Adelaide $1743
- Perth $1745
- Melbourne $1747
- Sydney $1767
- Brisbane $1769
These fares are available only on-line to the first 100 people to book.
To get you on the road for your own gourmet journey, Hertz in France has a great range of vehicles and rates. Book before you leave home.
Prices correct at August 5, 2010.
For further information
Hertz Car Hire
Loiseau des Vignes
31, rue Maufoux
Ph: +33 3 80 24 12 06
Fax: 33 3 80 22 66 22
Mischief & Mayhem Winery
10 Impasse de Puits
Ph: 0011 1 33 3 80 26 46 35
Visas: No visas are required for stays up to three months.
Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are standard.
Time zone: GMT + 2 hours.
Currency: The euro.
Telephone code: +33.