Our Life in Burgundy

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November 18, 2012

The annual dinner dance at Cortambert

Filed under: Events,People,Village Life — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 19:48

A good time was had by all last night at the repas dansant in Cortambert. There was an excellent turnout with 103 people enjoying the meal and the dancing

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The caterers, Mille et Une Saveurs, produced a tasty meal of rabbit terrine, chicken in mustard sauce, fromage blanc and a fruit crumble to finish.  We have become  accustomed to getting up and dancing between courses. A bit of boogying and you are ready to tackle the next course.

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It was the band that really made the evening go with a swing. The Orchestre Sergio Mondiale had come from la Meuse, a department on the Belgian border. They effortlessly switched from waltz and tango to the Madison, Charleston, the Twist and rock’n’roll. Sergio was on the accordion, Jacques on drums and Nico on guitar. Didier sang a good selection of songs, both French and English, and was  entertaining throughout.

Sergio Mondiale and his musicians

Sergio Mondiale and his musicians

As usual it was hard keeping up with the over seventies who were up for every dance and never flagged. As I have commented before, it is a joy that here the men enjoy dancing and are so good at it.

Many thanks to Pascale, Jean-Louis and everybody who made the evening such a success.

Postscript – I happened to be lucky enough to dance with the father-in-law of Christophe Perrin who has a small vineyard at Le Molard in Bray. He was hosting an open weekend so off we went this afternoon for a dégustation.

Winetasting with Christophe Perrin

Winetasting with Christophe Perrin

 Christophe has always had a passion for winemaking and for some years worked for the co-operative of Lugny. But in 2011 he took over the vineyard in Bray and now produces 8,500 bottles of excellent wine per year. He explained about how different terrains influence the flavour of the wine, and showed us samples of the earth from different parts of his vineyard ranging from red sand to marl to pebbles.

Different wines from varying terrains

Different wines from varying terrains

At Le Molard the wine is improved by maturing in oak barrels. Christophe really seems to love his vocation and deserves his success. His wine is becoming increasingly popular. Whilst there we met many of our fellow gite and chambres d’hôtes owners who, like us, prefer to buy their wine locally.

May 18, 2012

The Best of Burgundy

Filed under: People,Places — Tags: , , — Mary @ 10:48

This week it has been lovely to see my sister Carol from Australia who is touring Europe for eight weeks with her husband and a couple of friends.

Independently they have been out and about discovering many interesting places, the Chateau of Cormatin, Taizé, the medieval church at Chapaize, the castle at Brancion, the Abbeys of Cluny and Tournus, the markets….. But we thought it our mission to introduce them to some of the best things about Burgundy, the food and wine.

On Wednesday we enjoyed a winetasting trip around the Beaujolais. We started at ‘Clochemerle’. This village is actually called Vaux-en-Beaujolais and was the setting of the famous novel written in 1934 by Gabriel Chevallier. It is about the arguments over plans to install a new urinal in the main square and the vicious politics of a small village. Unfortunately for Chevallier he changed the name of the village but not the names of the inhabitants. There was such an uproar that questions were asked in Parliament.

The famous pissoir in Clochemerle

The famous pissoir in Clochemerle

 

Meandering our way back towards Mâcon we partook of a bit of dégustation in Juliénas, whose cave is a converted church, and Fleurie, which is renowned for its huge mural. Chiroubles also produces one of our favourite wines, a very good year being 2009. But the highlight of the day was a visit to a tiny cave in Saint-Amour where we had the best crémant I have ever tasted.

My sister helping to pour the crémant

My sister helping to pour the crémant

Last night we took them to what we consider to be the best restaurant in the region, La Grange Finot at Bray, not far from Cormatin. Despite it being a holiday for Ascension Day we almost had the place to ourselves. The chef, Serge Curtil, presents the best of local French cuisine and the service is wonderful.  www.lagrangefinot.fr

Copying Serge's secret recipes?

Copying Serge's secret recipes?

I hope our visitors enjoyed this week as much as we have. Soon they leave for the Alsace en route to Paris via Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Bon Voyage!

September 12, 2011

Summer continues…..

Filed under: Events,People,Places,Village Life,Weather — Tags: , , , , — Mary @ 22:33

We keep thinking it ought to be autumn by now but it’s not yet autumn weather. It was nearly 30° at the weekend.  The tomatoes are continuing to ripen by the basketful and we are still eating raspberries and strawberries every day.

The market at Cluny

The market at Cluny

Most Saturdays we go to the market in Cluny. Not to buy the fruit and veg as we have plenty from the garden but to go and have a leisurely coffee at the Café du Nord where we meet friends and neighbours. Many of our friends live in far flung villages and Cluny is a central meeting point.

The Café du Nord

The Café du Nord by the Abbey

Yesterday we also met up with our friends from the pony club at Laizé as they performed their spectacular in the grounds of a ruined chateau at Charnay les Macon.

The Laizé pony club show

The Laizé pony club show

We passed by the wine villages of Azé, Igé, Verzé, Prissé and la Roche-Vineuse. The vendange is in full swing so at this time of the year you see huge trailers piled high with grapes on the way to the caves.

On the way back we called in at Azé to see an exhibition of artwork by one of our neighbours. Despite being hundreds of miles from the sea his work  has a seaside theme.

Artwork at Azé

Artwork at Azé

This afternoon we watched some horse racing at the Hippodrome in Cluny while we were waiting to pick up the car from the Renault garage; the hot weather prompted us to get the aircon recharged. It’s one of these things that you don’t miss if you don’t have but once you do they become indispensible.

So with the fine days it is difficult to settle down to autumn activities. I’m hoping that summer will continue for a few weeks yet as the grandchildren arrive for the last week of September.

May 30, 2011

The Wine Route of Beaujolais

Filed under: Places — Tags: , — Mary @ 19:26

 We have welcomed the visit of Chris’s parents as a chance to faire le touriste for a week or so. This morning we took them round the Beaujolais wine region. This is surprisingly close as it starts at Mâcon. If you go west from the Mâcon-Loché railway station you soon come upon a panoramic view of Fuissé with the Roche de Solutré beyond.

The view over Fuissé

The view over Fuissé

 At Fuissé we stopped to visit the neo-gothic church, more like a cathedral, set amongst the vines. It looks very ancient but at 1872 it is considerably newer than La Maison du Curé.

The next stop was at Fleurie with a cave by an impressive trompe d’oeil .

The trompe d'oeil at Fleurie

The trompe d'oeil at Fleurie

Parents! You can't take them anywhere!

Fun with a painted wall!

We stopped to compare the 2009 vintage, which we had enjoyed before, to the 2010 version. We decided on the fruitier 2009, a good year for the gamay wines.

The Beaujolais wine route is 23km long with caves producing nine grands crus. Within a short distance are Chénas, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent, Régnié and St-Amour.

There is a wonderful restaurant called La Terrasse near Chiroubles. It set on a hillside with a view of the whole of Beaujolais. We intended to stop here for coffee but unfortunately it is closed for renovation. Another time!

Progressing clockwise around the wine route brings you back past the lake at St Point and the Chateau de Lamartine, the famous poet. This is open to the public and you can visit the chapel where he is buried.

I would thoroughly recommend a tour round Beaujolais for the magnificent scenery, romanesque churches and ancient wine villages. And a spot of wine tasting of course.

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