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Burgundy Overview

Many surprises are to be found in the region southeast of Paris. Land of the Duché and the Comté de Bourgogne, this is one of the most famous gastronomic regions in France. Sultry cheeses such as Époisses, or Soumaintrain, not to mention a host of beautiful goat cheeses, Charolais, Claquebitou or Maconnais are to be found here as are the world renowned wines of Bourgogne.

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The Cheeses

The Stinkers
Époisses
Soumaintrain
Langres
Trou de Cru
Plaisir au Chablis
Affidelice au Chablis
l’Ami de Chambertin
Pierre qui Vire

The Softies
Cendré d’Aisy
Charolais
Cîteaux

The Chèvres
Charolais
Clacbitou
Maconnais
Montrachet
Poiset au Marc

Epoisses – le roi de fromage

Unctuous, meaty, smelly and full of umami, Epoisses is the king of cheeses!

In the sixteenth century, according to a legend the Abbaye de Cîteaux began the production of a creamy, full fat cheese washed in a white alcohol made from grape must, Marc de Bourgogne. It was brought to the court of the Count of Guitaut by a nobleman of the wardrobe of Louis XIV, where it enjoyed great success. While Napoleon I was on the throne, his appreciation of this cheese along with his love of the wines from Chambertin made this cheese legendary.

In 1840, agriculture in the Côte d’Or of Burgundy, we learned that: “We do not make butter. All milk products are used in the manufacture of high fat cheeses. They have a great reputation and are called “Epoisses.”

At the beginning of the 20th century over 300 farms produced this formidable cheese but the loss of a large part of the male population due to World War I & II all but wiped it out. But thanks to a couple, Simone & Robert Berthaut, the Epoisses would once again be produced and gain international recognition. There are now several makers of this most wonderful cheese, notably Gaugry and some artisanal producers as well.

Charolais

Charolais is artisanal goat cheese from the granite plains of Charola. Sometimes it is made with a combination of goat and cow’s milk but the AOC requires 100% goat’s milk. From the sixteenth century, large areas of open land attracted the landless, laborers, sharecroppers who came to raise the “cow of the poor” – goats. Charolais was peasant food and goat rearing was largely a woman’s job and the sale of these cheeses helped augment the income of the farm household.

It is one of the largest goat cheeses sidewise in France. In the shape of a barrel with concave sides, it is called a Tonnelet. Charolais can be eaten young, half-matured or matured.  It is onctuous and has a subtle flavour of mushrooms and woods, with a bit of the saltiness and sweetness while the acidity sharpens during aging and becomes quite strong towards the end. Charolais is one of the best known goat’s cheeses of the region along with the Maçonnais from futher south.

Cîteaux

Although the Abbey of St Nicolas des Citeaux dates back some 900 years, production of this fermier cheese began as recently as 1925. It is as soft to the eye as it is to the palate, and rather milder than the majority of washed-rind cheeses. Most of the cheeses are eaten locally.

Although the Abbaye de Cîteaux (Cîteaux Abbey) was founded in 1098 by a group of monks seeking to follow more closely the Rule of St. Benedict, the production of Cîteaux, a fermier cheese, didn’t begin until around 1925.  The abbey has about 35 monks who produce the cheese as well as a candy made with their honey and caramels.
Cîteaux is a classic, washed rind cheese made from cow’s milk. The monks make only about 300 cheeses are manufactured twice a week, which is normally only sold at the Abbey shop. L’Abbaye de Citeaux cheese is pungent in aroma with a soft supple, ivory white texture. It has an earthy, creamy and milky taste and represents a classic monastic French cheese.

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Gastronomy

There is a wealth of Burgundian culinary specialty to be explored: snails, Epoisse cheese, Dijon mustard, Flavigny aniseed drops, pain d’épices, Bresse chicken, Charolles beef and on and on. Burgundy is home to the most Michelin-starred restaurants in France and plenty of ‘should be’s’!

All of this gastronomy is the foundation of the wonderful wines & cheeses of the region. Wines In the heart of the Burgundy wine region the “climats” have produced some of the world-renowned wines.  Complex, haunting and memorable, the wines of Burgundy & Chablis invite one to explore and educate the palate.

Wines

In the heart of the Burgundy wine region the “climats” have produced some of the world-renowned wines all to be discovered along the famous Route de Vin.

The Whites
Chablis
Pouilly-Fuissé
Pouilly-Fumé

The Blockbuster Reds
Romanée-Conti
Chambertin
Vosne-Romanée Corton
Meursault
Montrachet
Rully
Irancy   

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Regional Interest

Forests, vineyards and farmland with hedgerows, crossed by many rivers and canals, burgundy has an. amazingly diverse landscapes: the rolling hills of the Route de Vin, the Morvan Regional Natural Park & natural reserves, the caves in Bèze and Blanot the Rock of Solutré, Vézelay’s “Eternal Hill”, magnificent cities like Dijon & Auxerre and one beautiful small village after another.

Burgundy has a rich historical heritage which starts with the Celts & Gauls and moves through a religious heritage with sumptuous abbeys like Cluny or Cîteaux, then on to the legacy of the Dukes of Burgundy. From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, Burgundian architecture is full of châteaux, the medieval site of Guédelon, the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, picturesque villages and towns of full of the history of France. Not to mention the Hospices de Beaune, Fontenay abbey, the Abbey of la Madaleine in Vézelay, the archaeology park of Alésia and the new museum of fine arts in Dijon. All of these fine examples of historical significance are inextricable from the wine making in this unique region.

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Burgundy

MAR - JUN SEPT - OCT

To name a few of the famous cheeses to be found here: Époisses, Chaource, Soumaintrain, Langres, Citeaux and the little goat cheeses of Claquebitou, Montrachet, Maconnais and Charolais all complemented by the silky Bourgogne wines, escargot, the mustards of Dijon and many other regional specialties.

Pricing 2016
€/pers 7 days Guided 8 per Guided 4 per Self Guided
Domaines €4,200 €4,850 €3,200
Terroirs €4,150 €4,650 €3,050
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Directions

le région de Bourgogne

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Photo attribution : D&T, various works licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Licenses