Burgundy France has always been a destination we have wanted to visit and it finally happened. We tend to drink a lot of Pinot Noir living so close to the Santa Ynez Valley and we wanted to expand our horizons and education on Burgundy fine wines, food and culture, so this was our opportunity. We booked an apartment in Burgundy so we could better explore and possibly cook with local the ingredients from the markets.
I found a lovely two bedroom apartment through homeway.co.uk in the small wine village of Pommard, France just a few miles from Beaune which is the capital of the Cote d’ Or. The space was inviting and we had plenty of room. The kitchen was well stocked with quality pots, pans and knifes. More importantly, a drip coffee maker for the morning and the Patisserie right across the street.
Some of our favorites pastries during the trip were the Pomme (apple) pastry and the Pate a Choux pastry which is the dough of an eclair piped out and sprinkled with pearl sugar. Audrey who ran the Epicerie across the street was our point person in case we had any troubles and she spoke English and was very kind.
After unpacking our bags we headed to Beaune for dinner at Le P’tit Paradis. Heading into Beaune there in a main circle road the surrounds the city and you can park on the outside of the circle or venture inside to try and find parking. We were lucky enough to find a spot on the backside of the Basilica Collegiale Notre Dame de Beaune and were amazed at its beauty at night.
The restaurant was located down a small street which resembled an alleyway with small signs posted outside.
The restaurant was small and the tables fairly close together and the waitress was very friendly and prompt. I started with an appetizer of Pain d’ Epices (loosely translated as gingerbread, but it tastes more like spice bread) with Sliced Smoked Duck Breast and chopped apples and a small salad. The flavors of the bread made the smokey duck have a hint of sweetness and I loved the crunch from the apples.
My husband had French comfort food with pot of Eggs and Cured Ham with Epoisses cheese sauce, which is the local cheese of Bourgogne (Burgundy). He loved it!
For our main course we had Mushroom Crusted Cod in a deep Red Wine Sauce and Seared Steak with more Cheese Sauce.
We had a cheese course (fromage) and a dessert of Chocolate Charlotte which is a light cake made with ladyfingers. I loved the Delice de Pommard which was a triple creme blended with brown mustard seeds.
The next day, Lynne and David Hammond picked us up for a cooking class with Lynne at their farmhouse in Burgundy (details at www.cookinburgundy.com.) The first stop of the day was the Autun market to pick up some fresh groceries. We started with a fresh batch of Gougeres and what made Lynne’s recipe extra special was she added chunks of Comte’ cheese to the batter which gave them nice flavor.
After the gougeres we proceeded with a Snails recipe that I had requested to make with Lynne. The snails had an Sweet and Sour Onion Compote on top of a puff pastry shell and topped with pistachios.
Next, we prepared Braised Rabbit which was served in a nice lardon & mustard sauce with a side of haricot vert, so delicious.
For dessert, we poached pears in a red wine reduction and of course we enjoyed the local cheese especially a 9 month aged Comte’. I forgot a picture of the dessert we prepared….I ate it too quickly I guess.
And a little local Cremant ( Bourgogne’s version of Champagne) to drink with our meal. Thanks again Lynne and David for the wonderful cooking day!
For dinner, we headed to Le Comptoir de Ton Tons in Beaune which was known for their farm to table cuisine. Having eaten a large lunch at cooking class we were not very hungry, but still seemed to indulge. I ordered Cod over vegetables and my husband a Pork Chop with Eggplant Puree and Greens. I found the veggies to be too bitter under the fish, but the cut of the pork was nice with a thin layer of fat on the exterior. The owner of the restaurant was friendly and selected a great bottle of wine to pair with our food.
The next morning we slept in a bit and headed to the Beaune Market for local produce and charcuterie. The stalls were loaded with farm fresh veggies, fruits and local honey and flowers.
Then we were off to tour the Hospices de Beaune. The Hospices which began in 1443 as a hospital and was called the Hotel Dieu. Currently, the site is still a functioning hospital, wine estate and tourist attraction.
Next, a wine tour and tasting at Maison Joseph Drouhin. The tasting room and cellar was part of Basilica Collegiale Notre Dame de Beaune which they purchased years ago. The tour was with a small group of Americans from all over the U.S. and we enjoyed sharing stories of our travels and wine experiences.
That evening we went to L’ Ecusson for dinner in Beaune. The restaurant was in a small hotel at the end of the street and the atmosphere was warm. I began with a salad of Iberico Ham, Avocado, Grapes, Red Pepper Sorbet and Assorted Pickled Veggies. The salad was the prettiest thing I’ve eaten in a while.
Foie Gras Terrine with a delicate Fig Compote for husband.
I had Langoustine with Foie Gras in a rich wine sauce for a second course and I definitely thought this was the best dish of the night.
After waiting 45 minutes for our next course, the Trout with Shaved Truffles in light broth and Duck with Plum Compote seemed underwhelming.
The restaurant did apologize for making us wait so long, but on a Saturday night with reservations, the chef needs to prepare ahead for a crowd. The Chocolate Mousse on a Brownie like Cookie sitting in Caramel was spectacular!
The wine was pretty wonderful as well.
The following day we headed out to explore some recommended wineries on our own. Our first stop was Chateau de Meursault in Meursault. The wine tour was self guided which was nice and at the end of the tour we tasted wines poured by a gentlemen in the caves. Afterwards, we walked around the wine estate and found a lovely table to unpack our lunch of fresh cheeses and charcuterie from the markets we visited. Our view was amazing and not a person in sight.
Next, we headed to Domaine du Chateau de Chassagne Montrachet to taste some Burgundy and Chardonnay. After tasting wines they let us tour their cellar.
Afterwards, we stopped into Volnay at a restaurant we were visiting the following Tuesday to change our reservation and noticed they had a wine retail shop with tasting in the front. We fell in love with the wines of Volnay. Here was one of my favorites!
That evening we had dinner in Pommard where we were staying and had heard that Aupres du Clocher had a wonderful chef. We started with an amuse bouche of Cold Langoustine Bique with a dollop of fresh whipped goat cheese. I thought the flavors were intense and I hadn’t had cold seafood bisque before.
My first course was a Tuna Tar Tar in an Asian Sauce with a mix of salad on top. The fish was fresh and I loved the lightness of the dish. My husband dined on yet another Duck Terrine which had an herbal streak through the center.
Trout with Calamari, Fava Beans and Parsley Oil was my main course and Veal with local Mushrooms, Favas and Foam was my husband’s dish.
This dish was the best I had in all of France, which was a warm melted Epoisses soup with small chunks of L’ Epices Bread folded into it and a Tartine on the side. I could of licked the cup clean and I sure came close.
For dessert, I had the strawberry and my husband the chocolate, both were perfection. Next, to us were a couple that mentioned that the strawberries tasted as good as Harry’s Berries which is a famous fruit farmer here in Los Angeles. I turned and said, “You must be from Los Angeles!” We all laughed and chatted until our meal ended when we walked home full with delight.
The local wine was pretty delicious too!
The next day we were doing a Wine Education Class with David and Lynne Hammond. They have an online wine store that they can ship wines from the Burgundy region www.bringingburgundytoyou.com. We began our day at the apartment with an informative wine tasting on Burgundy wines. They are both very knowledgeable, having owned a wine tour business for years in Burgundy.
After a few hours of in-class instruction, we headed out for lunch at Auberge St. Martin in Bouilland. The chef was very friendly and we exchanged conversation through Lynne. We started with Jambon Persille, a local dish which is pressed Ham with fresh Parsley served with a side salad.
Coq Au Vin is the chefs specialty – made with the traditional Rooster as opposed to Chicken.
We had cheese (my favorite) and more great wine. One of the cheeses was coated in Grappa soaked Raisins. Loved it!
Aligote’ is a local crisp white wine, nice for lunch.
After lunch Lynne & David Hammond took us to Domaine Midel Noellat in Vosne-Romanee. We had a private tasting and tour of the cellar, it was a real treat.
Thanks again Lynne and David – contact David for wine at email@example.com
That evening was my only chance to cook since we were dining out all over Burgundy. I had picked up some Ceps (seasonal mushrooms) at the farmers market and wanted to make a simple pasta with Ceps and Camembert. Here it is….our dinner!
Local cheese and charcuterie we had left from our picnic.
The next morning I had reserved bikes at a local bike shop in Beaune called Bourgogne Randonnees. There was 500 kilometers to bike through the wine villages on a separate road mainly used by vintners and bicyclists. I can’t say enough about this experience, it was magical.
During our ride we stopped and had lunch at Le Cellier Volnaysien, which was the place we tasted wines two days prior. The food was French country with Snails stuffed with Garlic & Parsley and Chicken Cream Sauce.
Tartin Tan was for dessert and a Frozen Grappa Souffle with more great wine.
We biked to Domaine Michel Prunier et Fille in Auxey Duresses with a little help from Google Maps of course. On the way back we stopped in Meursault to see the city hall and check out a pottery store. This was the view of Pommard from the bike trail above.
That evening we stayed in and ate some warm Camembert with great wine of course!
On our last day we visited the village of Santenay and walked up the hill to the Chateau. We had lunch on the square at Le Terroir and it began with a light amuse bouche of Goat Cheese, Cep on Pancake and Yogurt Soup with Herbs.
For a starter, I had Prawns with Tomatoes with a Shrimp Panna Cotta and my husband enjoyed Eggs Meurette (eggs in red wine sauce.)
Our main courses were Salmon with L’ Epices Crust over mashed potatoes and parsley oil and Lamb Two-Ways. The salmon was my favorite fish dish of the trip – simple, but delicious. The lamb was prepared in a stew and a seared loin, needed a little salt.
The cheese course was small pieces of Epoisses wrapped in Phyllo on top of salad. I thought the presentation over salad was great and I loved the light crunch.
Ice cream for my husband – vanilla, chocolate and nougat!
Great wine from Santeney too.
We tasted wine that evening in the wine store in Pommard and ended up taking home a case of wine from our entire trip. We loved the local chocolate shop, Appellation Chocolat in town as well.
That evening the pizza truck arrived in Pommard, so we decided to buy a pizza in France. The pies are baked in a pizza oven on the truck. It had a brioche crust with mushrooms, lardons, parmesan and creme fraiche…..so fun!
It was hard to say goodbye, but we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Bourgogne (Burgundy) France. The food, wine and people were all fantastic and even with our limited French, we found it easy to travel.