Have you considered visiting Burgundy, the “Land of Art and Life”? Whether you’re looking to visit Burgundy as a regular tourist, or traveling in a caravan, this post has some interesting ideas, especially when it comes to the food and wine of the region..
The two names of Burgundy and its capital Dijon, just hearing these names are enough to make people salivate. The “City of Art and Life” did not officially become part of France until the eighteenth century. Until then it had been a duchy, ruled by a long line of Burgundian dukes. Then, as now, winemaking and agriculture were the mainstays of a Burgundian economy. In fact, Burgundy tops all other French regions when it comes to appellations of origin.
Charolais cattle are large, hardy animals that were first bred in Burgundy and provided the basis for one of the region’s most famous dishes, braised beef. The same goes for chicken, especially the fine specimens found in the Bourg-en-Bress region that hold a special place in Burgundian cuisine, as coq au vin originates from bourguinion.
A gourmand’s burgundy — and, of course, mustard. Dijon mustard. For a truly authentic Dijon flavor, mustard powder is mixed with nearly unfermented grapes, or even fresh grape juice—verjuice in the vernacular. This flavor is instantly recognizable and runs through many bourguignon dishes, whether it’s meat, poultry, or another produce from the region. Truffles, “les daimants noirs”, can be found in the Auxois region during winter.
After enjoying a satisfying beef bourguignon or red wine, your thoughts may turn to dessert. One ingredient that’s almost ubiquitous on dessert menus and dessert carts in Burgundy is the humble black currant. In the hands of gourmets in the region, the berry becomes unremarkable. Its liqueur cassis is used to make jams, sorbets, mousses, sauces and the fruit itself in jams. Preserving the berries in a chutney enlivens the cheese board, naturally filled with the fine cheeses produced in Burgundy, such as delicate round goat cheese bouton de coulottes (trouser buttons), decadent creamy chaource and Epoisses, “The king of cheese.”
Caravans, wines and tastings in Burgundy
The Saocircne River, a tributary of the Rhocircne, runs through here, one of France’s premier wine regions. Burgundy’s rich monastic heritage can be found in Citeaux, the beautiful Cistercian Abbey in Cluny and the incredible Fontennay Abbey – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The legacy of the hard-working monks behind the magnificent monastic buildings goes beyond stone and stained glass. It was the brothers who perfected the art of winemaking while making delicious cheeses such as the aforementioned Epoisses produced at Fontenay Abbey.
When people think of wine from Burgundy, Pinot Noir immediately comes to mind. Gamay and to a lesser extent aligoteacute play a role in red and rosé wines. It’s all about the terroir here, where vineyards are named for which of the 400 types of soil the grapes are grown in: a practice that has been around for centuries. As in many French regions, it was the saints, the monks, who perfected the art of viticulture in the vineyard. Beaujolais, made from the Gamay grape, is a wine from Burgundy known for its strength in its own right. As for the white wines, Chardonnay dominates, with Chablis among them.
The terroir classification system is layered. Only 2% of Burgundy is eligible for grand crus. The production of these Cocircte d’Or vineyards is limited to 35 hl (hl = liters per hectare). These fine wines are perfect for cellaring. Wines with a slight drop in quality are defined as top vineyards. Their yield is slightly higher – 45 hl. Chablis and Beaujoulet have their own designs.
If you’re lucky enough to have one of them willing to act as a designated driver, many of Burgundy’s wine routes can be covered in a single day. However, there are also walking and cycling tours that offer commentary.
Most of the wineries along the route are open year-round – these are businesses, of course, but it’s easy to forget that when soaking up the beautiful scenery and enjoying some of Burgundy’s (if not France’s) best wines. Depending on the time of year you visit, you’ll see different winemaking processes and different stages of the grapes in the vineyard. It’s really an education.
If you’re living in Beaune, there’s no reason not to enjoy the Route de la Cruz. The route from Dijon to Santenay is about 80 kilometers long. On the way you will visit the villages of Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-Saint-George, Aloxe-Corton, Beaune and Pommard to see for yourself how the traditions of the different wineries differ. All take pride in the excellence of the finished product, however.
Another popular route is the Route de Cote des Nuits. The route ends at Nuits-Saint-George, but not before the stops at Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-Saint-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot and Vosne-Romanee.
We hope you have a great time during your visit to Burgundy and hope that you will use some of our information to help spice up your trip there. If you’re looking for RV travel ideas, now all you have to do is take turns as the designated driver so all the grown-ups can enjoy the food and wine!