Bonne Année tout le monde!
I returned last night from a trip to Burgundy full of interest and pleasure as always. This time there were four of us - G, ACC, Baron McG and myself - and we stayed in the gîte in Chorey-les-Beaune which is attached to Domaine Martin.
We got up bright and early on Saturday morning to catch the 7.30 Eurostar to Paris then it was a quick hop on the RER across Paris to the Gare de Lyon and the TGV down to Dijon. At Dijon, I found that the station has been renovated since my last visit but sadly this doesn't mean the facilities are better - the left luggage is closed at the weekends in winter. We therefore dragged our suitcases up the hill into the centre of Dijon, an activity lent a certain excitement by the fact that ACC's suitcase had a damaged handle and was liable to make a bid for freedom at any second. The citizens of Dijon could hear the convoy of four rumbling suitcases coming from several miles away and wisely gave us a wide berth.
It was almost 2.00 by this stage but we managed to squeak into the bustling Cafe Cosi by the market, which produced a fine steak and chips and we all cheered up enormously. After lunch, provisions were gathered from the market and the nearby Carrefour and a bottle of marc for the house was obtained from Nicolas, then it was back to the station (strangely also uphill) to catch the little regional train to Beaune. We arrived at 5.00 and were met by Alain le taxi who drove us in style to the gîte.
For dinner, we went back into Beaune and visited the Cheval Noir, which G and I were fans of when we visited Beaune for the first time in 2000, but hadn't visited since. It's been tarted up since then. We went for the Menu d'hiver à 36 Euros which for four courses was great value and included several additional little amuse-gueles at the beginning of the meal and petits fours at the end. I was impressed with the standard of the food which was presented beautifully and was heading towards a Michelin star. Highlights included a lobster bisque, a Roulé de lapin et pieds de cochon, and a cheese fondue-type thing referred to as Espuma de fromage des Moines de Cîteaux which was served in individual glasses-within-a-glass. Apparently mashed potato was involved somehow!
To drink, we had a 2009 white Beaune Clos St Désiré from R. Demougeot (40 euros) which was served a little on the cold side. Once it warmed up, it had some weight but a core of acidity to balance it. To follow, we had a 2008 red Auxey-Duresses from Domaine Bzikot (35 euros) which was just my thing, with lively red fruits on the nose. I see I liked it when we went to visit him three years ago too. The total bill was 219 euros for the four of us - very good value for such a great meal. I'll be back.
Our first Burgundy dinner over, we returned to Chorey, knowing that nothing had to be done the following day. To be continued...