Those following closely may recall that I posted that my "Aupres du Clocher" reservation had been cancelled due to an extended vacation, and I was seeking an alternative. As it turns out, fate had other plans: my flight from Miami to Lisbon was delayed, resulting in a missed connection to Paris, resulting in 15 hours of hellacious delay in Lisbon. Not only did I miss dinner on that day in Beaune, I also missed a night of accommodations, my car rental, an airport shuttle to an airport hotel, and even a place to stay for the night! 2 adults and 2 children had no choice but to drive from 12am to 3:30am to Beaune, where we slept in the car in the driveway to our B&B.
We did however make it to our lunch the following day.
The GPS took us on a bumpy winegrower road that nearly gutted the rental car, but after that initial stretch in Pommard, we were happy to find several signs indicating that we weren't completely lost. On arrival the kids enjoyed seeing the pigs, sheep and fowl that would visit many a plate in the future. Being slightly disoriented at that time, my recollection is not pristine, but we enjoyed a cold tomato soup (veloute de tomate et oeuf de poule) followed by guinea hen (Pintade rotie au jus en cocotte), cheese plate (the bowl of cheese was something new and very good) and apricot sorbet for dessert. No incidents with the children in the dining room (despite their fatigue). I was not really "wowed" by any particular item we ate, but the experience of seeing a working farm and how the ingredients come together make it exceedingly worthwhile for the 45E cost.
Later we went to Beaune where we found an open bakery for our first baguette of the trip (excellent), and our first torrential downpour that produced a river in the street. Our hostess at the B&B told us that the cannons they have to prevent hail (not very well it seems, given the 3rd year in a row that the vines were devastated), may lead to these abnormally heavy rains. The baguette and a bottle of "villages" from our base made for enough dinner after that large lunch.
The next day we headed for nearby Gervry-Chambertin, taking a road through the many famous winemaking villages along the way. Vines everywhere! Who ever knew there could be so many grapes.
After a tour of Gaugry Fromagerie (during "production hours", which during our visit was limited only to the room where they give the cheeses their daily rub-down), we headed to Chez Guy for a great value of a lunch. Kids were treated to chicken and a large pile of very well-received mashed potatoes. I had the 3-course lunch for 24E which was as amazing of a deal as the children's menu was for 12E. It included what appear to be many house specialties including a starter of "Jambon persillé maison, câpres à queue, mesclun à l'huile de noix" (a cooked ham in jelly), followed by "Joues de bœuf cuite 12 heures au vin rouge, carottes confites à la cardamome" (beef cheeks that fell apart at a touch after 12 hours braising in wine). Like I say, for the price it was a steal, and I'd highly recommend the place. The interior is formal but the clientele not at all - a pair of gents in soiled and torn clothes looked like they'd just come from tending the grapes.
Across the street we visited the caves of Phillipe Leclerc. Though the caves were a great self-tour, the wines to me all tasted alike. I picked up a bottle of sought-after 2009, but I have the remorse at the steep price (57E). Since they all tasted alike, the smarter move would have been to buy one of the less popular vintages (2009 being very hot, and pricey as a result).
At 3pm (this was a long day!) The 20E Jadot tour was well worthwhile. We saw the amazing production facilities, had a wide variety of samples, and purchased some older bottles that seemed good quality and value. It was explained that the shop had until recently been limited to the trade, and that the bottles there were sold largely at cost, making it a real opportunity for bargains. I know little of burgundy generally, but took 4 bottles (and had one of the 2 tour tickets "comped", making the visit an even better deal). Recommended! Unlike the LeClerc tour in Gervrey, I could detect differences in the wines here.
Because of our lunch reservation at Chez Guy, we couldn't make the one and only 11am tour at Fallot (mustard), but we did go to the shop to at least sample and purchase, only to find it closed. No matter: local carrefour had a large selection, probably at half the cost. Picked up a cassis version for it's strange pink color, without the benefit of sampling it first.
We'd hoped to sample more regional cuisine, but we already knew that summer closures ruled out many popular options (Ma Cuisine, P'tit Paradise, and now Aupres du Clocher). I never even got to eat a burgundian snail (probably not a bad thing for a squeamish Canadian).
I'll update post with Paris when time permits.
Spoiler alert: an enormous surprise at Ciel de Paris and an equal but opposite surprise at Restaurant AT... but which is which? Stay tuned.
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