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Kir, Cheese, Desserts

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The ‘Kir’© is Burgundian, let nobody tell you otherwise. It was invented by Canon Kir who for many years was Deputy Mayor of Dijon.

The ‘invention’ brought together two local ingredients…Creme de Cassis (the blackcurrant liqueur produced in Dijon) and the wine produced from Aligoté grape (which is the only other white grape grown in Burgundy other than Chardonnay).

Aligoté was not a popular wine, which was the reason for the ‘invention’. Canon Kir not only produced an aperitif that solved the problem, he found a place in history for himself.

A journey of discovery into the world of blackcurrant. Only a short distance from the famous vineyard slopes of Nuits-Saint-Georges, there is an area entirely dedicated to the discovery of blackcurrant: the Cassissium.

Le Kir® the real way…
Usually, a Kir® consists of a ‘dribble’ of Creme de Cassis plus white wine.The authentic recipe is one third Cassis and two thirds Bourgogne ‘Aligoté’ to produce a much darker, fruitier drink. Mixing with Champagne, Crémant or sparkling wines is a new invention from cocktail barmen. Stick to the original, it’s delicious.

The region is also strong on cheeses. ‘Epoisses’ has to be one of the great cheeses of France.

Powerfully strong when mature, it certainly wakes-up the palette! Epoisses is well supported by ‘Cîteaux’, Saint-Florentin, Brillat-Savarin, Soumaintrain and the goat cheese ‘Bouton de Culotte’ in the Mâcon area.

There are enough sweet delicacies to excite those with a sweet tooth. The ‘Pain d’Epices’ is a ginger cake that has origins dating back to the crusades… Dijon became the French capital of this delicious speciality. And, should you be driving through the northern village of Flavigny, stop the car, step out and smell. The air is full of aniseed for in Flavigny the ‘bonbons’ are famous throughout France.

Pain d’Epices

The Yonne area is famous for cherries. The rich, dark fruit from here can be found in markets throughout France. Any excuse for a fair will do in this part of France so, as you would expect, the cherry harvest is also a time of celebration, especially in ‘Escolives’.

And wines….well!

In Burgundy there is a pride in winemaking that is difficult to explain. ‘Vignerons’ here really do think that the wine they produce rates with the finest in the world.

Modesty does not allow them to outwardly make a claim to be the best but, you can sense their satisfaction with the wonderful product that comes from these chalky or rocky hillsides.

The pride is very personal because the whole process of making wine is a very personal business. Sure, there are large producers here but, in the main Burgundian winemakers own small ‘parcels’ of land and so they know every vine, almost every stone personally. They are also usually family businesses, which means the commitment to the whole process is total.

What is good for visitors to Burgundy is that many of these ‘vignerons’ encourage you to stop awhile, taste and, of course, hopefully buy. But, more importantly to learn and to enhance your knowledge of the wonderful range and quality to enjoy.

The choice is yours because a visit to Burgundy is never too far away from a vineyard. This doesn’t mean you have to stop. Just following the vineyards and the small towns and villages is also a holiday delight.

From the chalky soil in the far north west of the region that produces the great wines of Chablis to the stony, arid earth of the Mâconnais in the south, there is always a discovery to be made. In between it’s like driving through the most impressive wine list you could ever imagine.

Vendanges fever…

The wine ‘vendanges’ (harvest) takes place usually around mid/late September each year. The precise dates depend on the weather and is a minimum of 100 days after the flowers on the vines.

 

The air is full of the aroma of pressed grapes, rushing tractors loaded with carts full of grapes, singing pickers in the vineyards and a sense of celebration and expectation when the days backbreaking work is done.

It is a special time to be in Burgundy but, note early bookings are necessary as it is, understandably, popular

I keep making the point that Burgundy is a vast region and deserves more than one visit to really have enough time to enjoy its varied attractions and landscapes. The same can be said of wine. In fact, they are interlaced and, perhaps, it is better to explore fairly small areas.

 

credits : Burgundy Tourist Board

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