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This Week...

pam elson brings you Burgundy Today's roundup of news and events

december 18, 2014

Last Minute Luxury

Abbaye de la Bussiere luxury hotel and restaurant Burgundy France

If you have run out of present ideas, or just run out of time, take a look at the gift vouchers from L'Abbaye de la Bussière luxury hotel and restaurant in the Ouche Valley, starting from 50 euros. A voucher for 72 euros gives two people lunch in the bistro, "Le Père Jardiner", other vouchers offer overnight stays and a scenic helicopter ride over Burgundy's vineyards after lunch for a film star touch. More...

If that sounds good, another voucher idea is a hot air balloon flight with France Montgolfières,

The French Cultural Event of the Year

Musee de Confluences Lyon, photo Quentin LaFont, Sunday TimesDijon to Lyon is an easy two hour journey by road or rail. Lyon is a pulsating city, set to become a greater tourist attraction with the opening on December 20 of the latest futuristic building in France, the Musée de Confluences. 'Is this France's most pretentious museum?' asks Anthony Peregrine in the Sunday Times. 'It looks weird, it sounds daft - but ...is a modern classic.' he says. 'The museum tells the stories of the world: evolution, wildlife, mankind, death, nature and, well, everything. and it succeeds. This is a virtuoso performance. Skipping through natural history, archeology, paleontology and several other ologies besides, the museum addresses the biggest themes with aplomb...'

Women Winemakers

Marie-Anne  and Marie-Christine Mugneret-Gibourg, Burgundy winemakers, photo Jon WyandThe traditional dominance of male winemakers is no more. In Burgundy the Femmes & Vins de Bourgogne has been increasing in number, now around 40 strong, and prestige over the last ten years. Jancis Robinson in her Financial Times article talks about the worldwide success of women in this field and out of her 22 choices, seven are Burgundian producers: Ghislaine Barthod, Lalou Bize-Leroy of Dom Leroy, Sylvie Esmonin, Anne Gros, Anne-Claude Leflaive of Dom Leflaive, The Mugneret-Gibourg sisters (shown right) and Cécile Tremblay. Read 'The Feminisation of Wine'

december 11

Celebrating the Morvan

An exhibition of 33 photographs by Jean-Baptiste Stéphane opened in Nevers on Tuesday to show the beauty of the Morvan Natural Park entitled 'Le Morvan, Une Montagne de Talents'. The Parc Naturel Regional du Morvan in partnership with the Conseil Général de la Nièvre has staged the exhibition on the Place de la Résistance and Rue Charles Roy in Nevers and it will run until February 28.

Triumphal Entry

livraison_sapin_elysee_par_peniche.jpgThis week, the Christmas tree for the Elysée Palais arrived in Paris from the Morvan. This has become an annual event. It was cut in Brassy in the Morvan Natural Park on November 24 and it has now made a triumphal entry by barge to the capital. Visit Saulieu this weekend to buy your tree - it's the Fête du Sapin

worthwhile village project

©Parterres en Kit Lucia Latenstein rounds off her year in the garden talking about a worthwhile village project to beautify the public areas which also helps biodiversity and keeps municipal costs down. Maybe the Villes et Villages Fleuri scheme could think of adding a new category to their awards. More..

december 4

traditional Christmas Music in Burgundy

Choeurs de la Maitrise Autun

Avallon: Marché Couvert - Dec 22
Concert by Arsys Bourgogne,
Tickets: 00 33 (0)3 86 84 84 30

Autun: Eglise St-Jean - Dec 19, 20.30
Choers de la Maîtrise sing traditional Christmas music
Tickets: 00 33 (0)3 85 86 2000

Autun: Hexagone - Dec 20, 14.30
Children's choirs from the Conservatoire
Tickets f.o.c, Reservations: 00 33 (0)3 85 52 48 51

Autun: Eglise St-Jean - Dec 20, 16.00
Adults choirs from the Conservatoires
Tickets f.o.c, Reservations: 00 33 (0)3 85 52 48 51

Auxerre: Eglise St-Eusèbe - Dec 4, 20.30
Choir from St. Petersbourg sing chants and traditional
Russian Christmas songs.
Tickets 17.20 euros  from the tourist office

Bazoches, near Vezelay: Eglise St.Hilaire - Dec 14, 15.30
25 artists perform Christmas music
Tickets: 25 euros, Reservations: 00 33 (0)3 86 22 82 74

Beaune: Collégiale Notre-Dame - Dec 14, 16.00
Organ Concert by Yves Castagnet from Notre Dame in Paris
Tickets: 12 euros, Reservations 00 33 (0)3 80 26 22 70

Beaune: La Lanterne Magique 19 Rue Poterne - Dec 21, 17.00
Concert for children
Tickets f.o.c. 00 33 (0)3 80 24 56 78

Dijon: Cathédrale St-Bénigne - Dec 13, 20.30 and Dec 14, 16.00
Traditional Christmas music sung by students and choristers, Fiori Musicali
Tickets 15 euros, Reservations: La Maîtrise de Dijon 00 33 (0)3 80 30 20 03

Mâcon: Cathédrale St. Vincent - Dec 14, 17.00
Buxtehude en Bourgogne
Tickets: f.o.c.

Mâcon: Cathédrale St.Vincent - Dec 19, 20.30
Symphony Orchestra Mâcon
Tickets: f.o.c.

Nevers: Auditorium Jean Jaurès - Dec 19, 20.00
Conservatoire de Musique et d'Art Dramatique de Nevers
Tickets: f.o.c.

Pierre-de-Bresse: Ecomusée de la Bresse Bourguignonne, Dec 21, 15.30
Les Ménestrels de Bourgogne perform Christmas music
Tickets: 10 euros, Reservations: 00 33 (0)3 85 76 27 16

Tournus: Cellier des Moines - Dec 17,18,19, 20.00
Orchestra and choirs play seasonal music.

Enter into the spirit

St Vincent 2015 Vougeot, Gilly les CiteauxThings are gearing up for the 2015 St. Vincent celebration on January 24 and 25 in Vougeot-Gilly lès Cîteaux. It is a particularly special year as the festival will be celebrating 900 years of the Cistercian monks in the Burgundy vineyards. Again this year, TER local train service is providing a special service for visitors so they can leave their cars behind.

The TER local train service to Vougeot will be providing eight special trains between Dijon and Beaune for the two day event, linking with trains coming from Tournus, Chalon and Lyon. In addition, there will be five additional stops at Vougeot on the Dijon, Beaune, Nevers line. Longer trains, more staff and discount price tickets will also be available.

Town regeneration

Three towns in Burgundy have been selected as part of a 40 million euro government scheme to help town regeneration. Avallon, Montbard and Tournus have been chosen from 300 applications. The aim is to limit urban sprawl, revitalize the shops and improve equipment and services.

november 29

Fondu in the Franche Comte, photo franche-comte.orgBurgundy and Franche-Comte Joined at the hip

On Tuesday November 25, the National Assembly voted in favour of reforming the regions of France. The Burgundy Franche-Comté union has been agreed. The bill creates 13 major metropolitan areas instead of the 22 at present. After ironing out the details, the final law should be passed at the end of the year. See our overview of Franche-Comté, an area well worth visiting if you love the great outdoors. magnificent scenery and much much more. For wine lovers, journey time from Nuits-St-Georges to the wine area at Arbois in the Jura is only an hour by car.

Renaissance splendour

Francois I at deathbed of Leonardo da Vinci, painting by Ingres Film crew at Chateau d'Ancy le Franc

François I ascended to the French throne in 1515, a contemporary of King Henry VIII of England. To celebrate the life of this flamboyant king, TV France 3 together with Martange productions are making nine documentaries about aspects of his life from love to religion. They have been using the location of Château d'Ancy le Franc to set the scene.

François 1 embraced the Italian Renaissance fully, and initiated the French Renaissance, attracting artists such as Leonardo da Vinci to live and work in the country. (In the painting above left, François leans over the dying Leonardo.) Some of France's greatest châteaux such as Château de Chambord in the Loire were constructed during his reign, imperial expansion was encouraged and French became the national language replacing Latin.

Ancy le Franc, a Renaissance château which has been immaculately restored, could not be a more perfect setting. Most of the rooms are being filmed so look out for them in all their splendour in L'Ombre d'un doute, scheduled for transmission in April 2015.   

november 21

Secrets of the Castle

Peter Ginn, Secrets of the Castle, photo Jeny Turner, BBC, LionTVA major new series on BBC 2 combining history and archaeology at Guédelon has just hit the screens. Guédelon is one of the most interesting places to visit in Burgundy - an ambitious 25 year project to build a 13thC castle using the techniques of the time. The programme is presented by Ruth Goodman, historian, and Peter Ginn and Tom Pinfold, archaeologists, the team that has brought us the Victorian Farm and the Tudor Farm. These are competent presenters but the star of the show by far is Guédelon itself proving to be the perfect location to explain the secrets of building a medieval castle..

In the first of the five episodes, Ginn and Pinfold learn how to become stonemasons and build a stone spiral staircase, they work the two-man treadmill winch that is used to hoist half a tonne up the tower, make rope and lathe a pulley from a chunk of ash. Ruth comes up with an interesting way to clean pans using wood ash and attempts to make a shack into a home. From the potter to the blacksmith, the artisans are at work. Informative and fun, catch it on iPlayer this week. The next episode features war and weaponry with catapults and crossbows.

the Best yet

There was a record result at the Hospices de Beaune Charity Wine Auction last weekend when eight million euros were raised. The President's Barrel made 220.000 euros and 417 barrels of red wine and 117 barrels of white wine were sold.

How is Burgundy Wine Made?

After the harvest, what happens to the grapes to turn them into wine? We look at the intricate winemaking process for red and white wine from harvest to bottling.See our step-by-step guide.

Making red wine in Burgundy, photo BIVB making red wine in Burgundy, image, BIVB making white wine in Burgundy, photo BIVB making white wine in Burgundy, photo BIVB

Relaxing Sunday Opening Laws

There are stringent laws in France about Sunday opening. However in an attempt to help the country's stagnant economy and counteract the internet shopping boom, a bill is in the pipeline to allow shops to open on 12 Sundays in the year instead of the five currently allowed.

november 14

Award for La Borde

La Borde Maison d'hotes Burgundy FranceAt burgundytoday we aim to highlight the best of Burgundy whether it is places to visit, places to stay, events or services such as guided tours. So it is always gratifying to hear of more accolades for establishments which we have recommended since their conception. This week La Borde Maison d'Hôtes has received the Condé Nast Johansen award in the category, 'Best For Exclusive Use'.  For a special anniversary, a wedding, or family gathering, here is what you can expect: ' The most fabulous way to arrive at La Borde is by helicopter. It's also the best way to see the patchwork Burgundy countryside surrounding this exclusive 16th-century walled manor. Cocooned in wide-open acres of fragrant gardens, meadows and orchards, it's fairy-tale pretty'. Congratulations go to Rik and Marieke Klomp.

Vertigo Design Hotel Dijon BurgundyVertigo Hotel Dijon

A new addition to the Dijon hotel scene, Vertigo Design Hotel has recently opened on the Place Darcy, the most convenient location to stay in town for shopping and sight seeing. Classic in style on the outside, contemporary on the inside, with all mod cons including a wellness centre, there are 42 rooms. Book online

Famous Chefs online

No more splattered cookbooks, if you want a recipe, just look online. Alain Ducasse has launched a website for lovers of fine dining called Academie du Gout with recipes from top French chefs such as Paul Bocuse and Christophe Adam. The video for making Boeuf Bourguignon a l'indienne (a la Hassan) is easy to follow even if your French is a fairly basic.

news in brief

Promising 2014 Vintage: The BIVB, the Burgundy Wine Board says that 'the latest vintage is very promising indeed with good yields, although it will not completely make up for low levels of stock'. Read more on Wine News.

Coupes Moto Legende 2015: Diary date: the increasingly popular vintage motorbike meet at Dijon Prenois will take place on May 30-31 2015.

november 7

Online shopping

Burgundy in a StoreOnto more domestic matters. Hazelnut and vanilla mustard and cassis and white wine mustard caught our eye on the Burgundy in a Store website. Catherine Zivi has launched Burgundy in a Store, a mix of delicatessen and design items in time for Christmas shopping, cutting out much of the hassle of gift buying. Blackcurrant and peach liqueures,  pain d'epice and wine from the delicatessen section, and vintage Burgundian posters in the design department make for an interesting mix.

winter in the garden

As winter approaches, it is time to cut back and clean up in the garden. For her monthly article, Lucia Latenstein looks at the winter pruning of apple and pear trees, essential to encourage a good crop next summer. Lift your dahlias after the first frost and in November and December you can still plant flower bulbs she says.

november 1

from Gislebertus to Gehry

The reopening of the Picasso Museum in Paris this week may have stolen the headlines across the world but the Fondation Louis Vuitton by architect Frank Gehry which opened on Monday will do for Paris what the Guggenheim Museum has done for Bilboa - bring excitement and modernity to the city, a showcase of contemporary art. 'This is Paris's most exciting building in a generation.'

Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris by Frank Gehry"I like to think of it as a sail boat, or even a regatta in the park”, says Frank Gehry.'It might also be a giant fish from the pages of some surreal fairy tale or a cloud made by a carpenter. However you think of it, the Fondation Louis Vuitton – moored on the banks of the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a children’s play garden, in the Bois de Boulogne – is the most exciting and delightful new Parisian building in a generation', says Jonathan Glancey in an extensive interview in The Telegraph.
Photo: Iwan Baan

Paris has clearly had a lot of impact on the architect who first came in the Sixties. Le Corbusier and the shell-like pilgrimage chapel of Notre Dame du Haut was an inspiration. More surprisingly, in his interview he mentions the Cathedral in Autun: 'It is, you would have thought, as far removed from the Bilbao Guggenheim or the new Fondation Louis Vuitton as artistically possible' says Glancey. “Sure, Romanesque is not iddy-biddy, tweety-pie”, says Gehry, “but what blew me away about Autun was the sculpture. In all that amazing, muscular architecture, I was drawn to the sculptures by Gislebertus. I saw movement and grace, and have wanted to capture and express this ever since.”

This building is all about flow and movement, youth and modernity. 'On one of the walls inside the Fondation’s “iceberg”, Gehry is quoted in his own handwriting: “I dream of designing a magnificent vessel for Paris that symbolises France’s profound cultural vocation.”

34 Rue du Pont Auxerre

L'Asperule AuxerreThe name Keigo Kimura has been in the news this week. This young Japanese chef has been flagged in the Gault & Millau guide, along with 28 other up-and-coming talents in France for the modernity of his dishes. In the Michelin Guide, one critic 'eulogized' about him and the magazine Le Chef  also picked up on this rising star. His restaurant, L'Aspérule in the Rue du Pont in Auxerre opened in April. It's small and stylish, his food is clearly worth a visit.

october 25

a thriving tradition

Escargots with garlic butter from Burgundy France ©foodfeatures.net
Snails in garlic and parsley butter is a signature dish of Burgundy and it is said that the recipe was invented here in 1796 in Bassou in the north of Burgundy. At this time of year, La Maison Billot in this little village gets ready for the gastronomic festive season in France, employing an additional one hundred staff to prepare the snails. The escargots are imported frozen from eastern Europe, mainly from Rumania and Lithuania, then they are cooked using the Burgundian recipe. First they are poached in aromatic stock, the snails are returned to the shells which are then filled with garlic and parsley butter by hand. Around 60 million snails come from the factory each year, such is the demand.

A family affair

Les Autumnales de PommardThe Automnales de Pommard took place last weekend in the Côte d'Or, an annual event worth looking out for. Wine guide Tracy Thurling has been an instructor at this event for the last three years and explains that this is more than a wine tasting, it is an interactive family affair.  

Unique in Burgundy the Automnales de Pommard is an innovative wine tasting event suitable for all the family. Most wine making villages in Burgundy open their doors one weekend a year to allow the general public to discover their wines. Pommard however goes one step further by introducing wine discovery workshops at their annual event.

Conducted by Burgundy wine professionals, mainly bi-lingual instructors from the prestigious Ecole des Vins in Beaune, each workshop is designed to help the enthusiastic amateur to demystify the world of wine. Aroma workshops help you identify the illusive scents of your wine and tasting workshops allow you to put into words, what you find in your glass. Wine pairing is tested with tasting of wine and regional specialties, cheese of course, but what about chocolate? There are horizontal and vertical wine tastings but do you know the art of serving wine and how to receive your guests? All this is revealed, but the beauty for families is that each workshop is timed to coincide with a kids workshop allowing parents the luxury of indulging while the children are also having fun. There's a cookery workshop on making that delicious Burgundy speciality, gougères (Burgundian cheese puffs), Burgundy stories and poems from a local actor and you can design your own vines. If the children are too young for the kids’ workshops, then each adult workshop has a kids' corner with games and colouring to occupy them so you can still sip and learn.

See: Tracy Thurling of Burgundy by Request

october 10

fruit trees hate wet feet

Cherry tree in Irancy Burgundy When the orchards in northern Burgundy around Irancy burst into flower in springtime you know that warmer days are on the way. Fruit trees give pleasure from bud to harvest and do particularly well in the soil in Burgundy but you do have to make the right choice of plant. Lucia Latenstein guides you though the buying and planting of apple, pear, cherry and plum trees in her October gardening feature

slimming spectacular chicken

Our chef Bob Chambers has quite a following around the world both from his recipes on burgundytoday and from his previous articles in Food and Wine Magazine in the States. A reader wrote to say she had lost his much loved recipe from the latter publication for chicken stuffed with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes which 'consistently delivered moist succulent breast meat'. It has the added bonus of a low count of 323 calories per portion. Here Bob shares the recipe with you:

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Serves 2

Chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes2 tabs mild creamy goat cheese, such as Montrachet
2 tsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes (well drained and
pressed between paper towels if oil packed)
2 tsp chopped parsley
¼ tsp minced garlic
¾ tsp ground pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
½ tsp salt
1 egg white, beaten
500 gm (1lb) fresh spinach, stemmed
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp unsalted butter

In a small bowl, mash the goat cheese with sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, garlic and ¼ tsp of the pepper.

Cut a 5 cm (2 in) long pocket in the side of each chicken breast. Fill the pockets with the goat cheese stuffing.

On a sheet of waxed paper, toss the breadcrumbs with ¼  tsp of the salt and ¼ tsp of the pepper. Brush the stuffed breasts with the egg white and dredge in the seasoned crumbs. Set the breasts on a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

In a heavy saucepan, sprinkle the spinach with nutmeg and the remaining ¼ tsp of pepper and salt. Cover tightly and cook over a moderately low heat until the spinach is wilted and has given off some of its liquid - 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the spinach. Return to the pan and keep warm.

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Add the chicken breasts and turn until evenly coated with the butter. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Turn the breasts over, cover and cook until the chicken is white throughout but still moist, about 4 minutes longer.

Transfer the chicken to warm plates and serve the spinach alongside.

To drink: Sauvignon Blanc.

october 3

Paris - City of love. City of splendour. City of terror. City of dreams by Edward Rutherfurd

This novel just makes you want to hop on a train and stay in the capital for months on end, exploring the streets and living like a local. Taking four families throughout the centuries, Rutherfurd weaves in an out of their lives, their loves and their dilemmas, ' bound by forbidden loves and marriages of convenience; dogged by vengeance and murderous secrets; torn apart by the irreconcilable differences of birth and faith, and brought together by the tumultuous history of their city. Paris bursts to life in the intrigue, corruption and glory of its people'. There are interesting historical facts peppered throughout - an entirely enjoyable and interesting 800 page read.

september 18

a burgundy flagship

Chateau de Pommard BurgundyChâteau de Pommard is one of the flagship wine estates in Burgundy. Over the last ten years owner Maurice Giraud has renovated and transformed the estate with the winery, art installation and a restaurant. This week American Michael Baum, a tech supremo from Silicone Valley purchased the château for an undisclosed sum. He told Decanter magazine: 'Following a year of living in France, we have fallen even more
deeply in love with the country, the heritage and terroir.'

september 12

in the news

Where to eat in Beaune: The Huffington Post has a mouth watering article on restaurants in Beaune by John Mariani. ' Beaune is a little Camelot of a medieval town, well preserved, with fine cuisine, great wines, and traditions that are at the heart and soul of French viniculture' he says. More...

Wine News: The rise of Vin de France and tasting lunches, a first in the Côte Chalonnaise

Classic Car owners: The registration is open for Classic Days 2015 at Magny Cours circuit on May 2 and 3, 2015. If you have a good condition vehicle made before 1980 or a Formula 1 car, enter now. Cars older than 1980 will be selected on merit. The event is a popular fixture on the circuit calendar and gaining in popularity each year.

september 5

Bike and Wine Tours Certificate of Excellence, Burgundybike and wine through the vineyards

Bike and Wine Tours, the company set up by Florian Garcenot of Bourgogne Evasion has been awarded the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellent for 2014. Join him for a half or whole day guided bike or walking trip through the vineyards as the vines turn to gold.

Don't miss Paris this winter

Jeff Koon at Centre Pompidou Sonia Delaunay at Museum of Modern Art Paris Hokusai at Grand Palais Paris

After a five year renovation, the Picasso Museum in Paris is due to reopen on October 25th, on the anniversary of the artist's birth. This would be reason enough to make a trip to the capital, but during the autumn/winter months there are several exhibitions which should not be missed. The Grand Palais is staging the work of Hokusai with the famous picture 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa' (right) included. Abstract artist and colourist Sonia Delaunay's work will be on view at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris( above centre), and at the Centre Pompidou you can see the work of pop-artist Jeff Koons, famous for his kitsch Balloon Dog (left). For dates of these exhibitions and more, see France at a Click.

Food for the bees, food for thought

Spring bulbs to attract the beesSpring flowers provide much needed food for the bees which have exhausted their stocks over the cold months. Lucia Latenstein in her September gardening column gives pointers to other flowers as well - wild and perennials, to ensure plentiful nectar and pollen from spring through to autumn in your garden. More... 

august 29

Unique Investments

How would the Dragons' Den react to these wine and vine business propositions which have hit the headlines this week?

Ploughing in Puligny Montrachet BurgundyCrowd funding is the buzz word around the world and this summer has seen the launch of Fundovino, dedicated to the world of wine and vine. Investors can put in as little as 10 euros up to the full amount requested. Oronce Beler in Vosne-Romanée for example is looking for 7.340 euros to file a patent on plough designs in the vineyard when the ploughs are pulled by a horse. Corinne Dewailly, a winemaker in Pommard wants to invest in temperature control in the tanks at her Domaine to better manage the wine fermentation - 4.565 euros required.

On a larger scale, Domaine Chanzey based at Bouzeron is aiming to float on the London Stock Exchange later in the year, the first time a French vineyard has listed in the UK reports Matthew Goodman in the Sunday Times. Looking for up to £5 million, the Domaine wants to improve sales abroad and develop as a 'négociant', making wine from grapes supplied by other growers.

' Domaine Chanzy owns more than 80 acres (32 hectares) spread across three Burgundy wine regions - Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits and Côte Chalonnaise, The Company acquired by Olma, (which specializes in luxury goods), for 5€ million in November 2012, has previously raised funds on Alternativa, a junior French stock exchange where it is valued today at about 10€ million' Goodman says.

driving sensation

Magny Cours SimulatorThe racing circuit at Magny Cours lost out in the F1 stakes to the glamorous new circuits such as Bahrain and Singapore but it is still a good training ground for drivers. Jean-Eric Vergne who drives for STR-Renault and is currently thirteenth in the championship, trained at the Auto Sport Academy here. Two F1 simulators, (Ferrari and Red Bull) have just been installed for the use of the visiting public, promising real life experiences from the safety of your seat. For 20 euros you get 10 minutes of action and driving sensation. GT simulator, 2 euros for 10 minutes. The next event at Magny-Cours is September 6-7 when the GT racing cars take to the track.

august 22

horse country

The Burgundy lifestyle is perfect for equestrian lovers - many houses come with hectares of land, barns and outbuildings suitable for keeping our four legged friends with the possibility of running a related business from home. Here are some of the offers to be had in the property market in the Saône-et- Loire département right now from Burgundy4U. Autumn in Burgundy is the perfect time for viewing.

Equestrian farmhouse for sale Burgundy France Riding School for sale Burgundy France Farm, ideal for horses, for sale Burgundy France 5 Bed equestrian farm for sale Burgundy France
Farmhouse with barn, stable, land, 149.000 euros, Mervans. More... Riding school, stables, paddock, 220.000 euros, Pierre de Bresse. More... Farm, surrounded by Burgundy vines, 145.00 euros, St Sernin du Plain. More. Five bed equestrian farm, 220.000 euros Perreuil. More...

August 15

Domaine de la Vougeraie BurgundyWhat is Phytotherapy?

Organic and biodynamic growing methods in the vineyard are to be applauded, but just how do the growers control the diseases which can ruin the vine? Phytotherapy is the art of using plant remedies on the vine, put into practice by Domaine de la Vougeraie in the Côte de Nuits using wild and cultivated plants in both a preventative and curative way across all of its 40 hectares. Netttles, comfrey, oak, fern, elder, horsetail, tansy, yarrow, lavender, chamomile and valerian all have roles to play. If you see purple haze as you drive past, it's not a mirage, you haven't arrived in Provence. More...

The Life of Bees

Virgil's Life of BeesIn 1469, the Life of Bees, written in 30 BC by the Roman poet Virgil in his text The Georgics with a commentary by Servius (illustration right) was discovered in the Bibliotheque Municipale in Dijon. It describes the workings of the hive, one of nature's wonders.

This month in her 'Gardener's Year' series, Lucia Latenstein wanted to find out more about beekeeping and went to visit Peter Sorrell in his garden near Avallon. Read 'Gardens and Bees, a Perfect Match'... and Virgil's erudite description...

august 8

What a variety

Jancis Robinson's website has had a makeover and includes on the homepage, a link to  her in- depth grape variety analysis - 'Wine is a combination of place and grape variety, of which there is a baffling array' she says.  Here are some of her Burgundy pointers:

About Chardonnay: ' In the 1980s something extremely important to the history of wine happened: 'Chardonnay' became a name more familiar to the world's wine buyers than any of the geographically-named wines this vine variety had for centuries produced, such as Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, or Montrachet. When the emerging New World wine industries introduced varietal labelling - calling wines by the name of their principal grape variety - it was Chardonnay that made the most friends'. More...

About Pinot Noir: ' The greatest Pinot Noir is the greatest red burgundy, without any shadow of a doubt. In fact the Grands Crus of the Côte d'Or, the heartland of Burgundy, tower in my opinion much further above their counterparts outside France than Bordeaux's top wines do above the best Cabernet Sauvignon of, say, northern California'. More...

About Gamay: 'Thanks to the exceptional quality of the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 vintages in Beaujolais, this is an excellent time to take a new look at the Gamay grape whose most famous product by far comes from the rolling blue granite-based hills of the Beaujolais region north-west of Lyons. Beaujolais depends entirely on the Gamay grape' More....

july 25

The Top 10 Attractions in Burgundy

Our list of must-see places to visit during your stay in the Burgundy region from the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune (centre) to the Grand Cru wine route (left), Vézelay and Guédelon (right). Summer is in full swing, and autumn is a special time of year in the vineyards. More...

Clos de Vougeot, ©Michel Joly Hotel Dieu, Hospices de Beaune Burgundy Guedelon Burgundy

Colette's Birthplace to be Renovated

Colette's birthplace, St Sauveur en PuisayeThe association "La Maison de Colette" has raised the one million euros needed to restore the house where writer Colette was born in 1873 in St-Sauveur-en-Puisaye. Work has already commenced to recreate the 19thC atmosphere, right down to the rare plants in her garden. Researchers have plenty of references to work from as the writer frequently referred to the house and garden in her stories with deep affection. The house will open in September 2015. The museum close by is open for visitors

july 18

Long term solution

Long-term rental at Chateau Mirande Macon BurgundyA holiday in a foreign country can whet the appetite for a change of lifestyle but it is only when you live in a place full time that you can really experience the highs and lows of living abroad. Rather than going in feet first and buying a house, you may prefer to rent long-term. But in France, this is not as easy as it sounds - usually the places are unfurnished, there are long complicated contracts etc. At Château de Mirande near Mâcon, there two apartments in the grounds available long-term, they are very well furnished and have TV and WiFi already installed. Perhaps this could be a more simple solution - the hassles have been overcome, all you have to do is move in and your new life could begin. You can also rent the apartments for a holiday.

July 4

a wow of a brunch

Sunday Brunch at the Abbaye de la Bussiere in BurgundyWith an oyster bar and all sorts of treats, the new brunch each Sunday at the Abbaye de la Bussière is understandably proving a real hit. This luxury hotel, set in impressive parkland is the setting, Emmanuel Hébrard, the Michelin starred chef is your host. Eat on the terrace or inside if the weather is inclement, 11.30 to 14.00, 45 euros a head, 25 euros for children. Sounding more appealing in French here's what's on offer: Viennoiseries, pressés de tomates coeur de boeuf et charolais frais au pistou, coupes d’avocats en guacamole et gambas marinées aux épices cajun, bar à huitres, saumon de Norvège, makis et sushis, mini burgers et pommes paille, Rougail de rouget grondin et riz pilaf, jambon en croûte de foin, filet de boeuf Wellington, fromages, choux Chantilly au citron vert et fraises guariguette, mousse au chocolat, gaufres Chantilly et fruits de saison.

june 28

bronze at the abbey

Clive Cummings and Paul Day at the Abbaye de la Bussiere BurgundyBritish sculptor Paul Day is acclaimed for his London works 'Meeting Place' at St. Pancas train station, the 'Queen Mother' memorial on Pall Mall and the 'Battle of Britain Memorial' on the Victoria Embankment. Living in Burgundy, Day has recently unveiled a new bronze at the luxury hotel and Michelin starred restaurant, the Abbaye de la Bussière in the Ouche valley, close to where he lives. The sculpture is displayed in the grounds of the abbey entitled 'La Femme Assise' and weighs 200 kilos. Shown right,
Clive Cummings, the owner of the abbey on the left
and Paul Day on the right.

Decanter World Wine Awards 2014as good as gold

223 medal winners in Burgundy at the 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards, announced on June 24 in London. On Wine News we publish the 12 Gold medal winners who have made exceptional wines. The Decanter website is now showing all the worldwide winners with tasting notes

May 30

Guedelon Medieval Castle Burgundy
Milling in progress

The 5.60 m high by 1 m diameter wooden wheel has been inaugurated in the forest at Guédelon, an exact replica of the 12th C water wheel at Thervay in the Jura. It has taken two years to construct the wheel. The wooden gears clank as the millstones grind the wheat to make the flour to supply the bake house on the site. Progress at the medieval reproduction of a
castle is coming on apace. Time for a visit.  

Touring offer

La Grande Forge de Buffon Montbard BurgundyIt can get pricey when you are visiting a lot of stately homes and places of interest. New for 2014, five places in Burgundy have got together to launch the Pass Touristique 'Les Incontournables en Bourgogne' - five 'must-see' sites. Visit the first free of charge - either Château d'Ancy-le-Franc, L'Abbaye de Fontenay or La Grande Forge de Buffon at Montbard (right). You will receive preferential rates at the other two locations, go on to the medieval town of Noyers-sur-Serein for a guided visit and La Chablisienne for wine at a reduced price. More details from the local tourist offices. See our Touring Routes. 

april 26

beware, the hotspots

Speed camera in BurgundyRadar cameras are very active in Burgundy providing the local government with a valuable cash cow. Driving on your local patch you soon get to know where the speed cameras lurk but if you are travelling in the region, it is worth taking note In particular, on the A6.

There are 149 automatic radar cameras in Burgundy and last year they scooped up 2 million euros a month in fines. (Average fines 68 or 135 euros)

The key is to watch the local drivers and follow suit when they suddenly reduce speed. Below we show the top three places in each département where people get caught out. - for the full list see www.caradisiac.com.

Location Road Direction Number violations per day
COTE D'OR      
Saone et Loire      

Stand out from the crowd

Jeroen Wand's limited edition travel cases from Chateau de la Resle BurgundyAt Château de la Resle luxury bed and breakfast near Auxerre, Johan and Pieter are design gurus and interesting contemporary furniture, accessories and art adorn the rooms. They have now launched a Design Shop, trumpeting the works of young Dutch designers and showing a gallery of their work. We were particularly struck by the travel cases made from walnut and laminated paper by Jeroen Wand. They
are a limited edition, not cheap of course,
but if you want to stand out from the crowd,
these are for you.More...

Le Corbusier's chapel

Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut Photo : Paul Koslowski Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut Photo : Paul Koslowski Le Corbusier's chapel at Ronchamp. Photo: franche-comte.org

Staying on the design theme, the Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp by iconic architect Le Corbusier is a must-visit venue on a trip across the border of Burgundy into the Franche-Comté region. (As we mentioned last week, discussions are ongoing about the two regions joining together). Completed 60 years ago, this little chapel is visited by 80,000 people a year. The design and simplicity leaves a lasting impression.

The Franche-Comté is an outstanding area of natural beauty - we hope that our overview will make you want to know more. -

april 19

Shigeru Ban

Consortium Dijon  Shigeru Ban structure at Pouilly en Auxois Burgundy

Modernist Japanese architect-humanist Shigeru Ban is famous in Burgundy for his structure at the Pouilly-en-Auxois Visitor Centre on the Canal de Bourgogne (right) and for the Consortium Centre of Contemporary Art in Dijon (left). He has just been named the recipient of the Prizker Architecture Prize, often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture.

Famous for his work with paper, and particularly recycled cardboard tubes used to quickly and efficiently house disaster victims, the Pritzker Jury cited Ban for his innovative use of material and his dedication to humanitarian efforts around the world.

The first work he completed in France was the tunnel structure on the Canal de Bourgogne in 2004 which is very representative of Ban's technique of using a framework of cardboard tubing. More recently in 2011 the Consortium was completed. Outside Burgundy, his work in France includes the Pompidou Centre at Metz.

slimlining the administration

'The presidents of Burgundy and neighbouring Franche-Comté have plans to merge following calls to cut through the country’s numerous and costly layers of local government, which the French describe as a mille-feuille (thousand-layer) cake', reports France 24.

'Burgundy and Franche-Comté are home to 2.8 million people – slightly more than the city of Paris. They are divided into eight "départements" and 3,831 municipal councils, some of which are grouped into urban areas – adding another sub-layer. These Russian doll-like local authorities provide services ranging from public transport to water supply, social housing and fire brigades. Between them, they employ more than 60,000 staff across the two regions.

Nationwide, local authorities spent 173.7 billion euros in 2012 – a 67% increase over 10 years. France's cash-strapped government is now determined to make savings by "simplifying" these bureaucratic layers'.

Regional Council Presidents Marie-Guite Dufay of Franche-Comté and François Patriat of Burgundy are looking at the long term plan. The Franche-Comté is an area of great natural beauty and we shall be bringing you an overview of the region shortly.

april 12

Proud of Epoisses

Epoisses Cheese Puffs, ©Marie France MagazineWhen you are away from the Burgundy region, Epoisses cheese is one of the things you really miss (along with escargots in garlic butter, cassis, coq au vin ... the list could go on). The magazine Marie France has just published three delicious recipes for using Epoisses, the most famous local pungent cheese - they sound so good you might like to try them.  Here is the English translation for a puff pastry parcel oozing with rich, creamy cheese with a grape sauce.

Epoisses feullietes

Serves 3-4

  • 1 Berthaut Epoisses Cheese -250g (8oz)
  • 16 seedless black grapes
  • 2 teasp. tarragon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 80g (2½ oz) butter
  • ½ litre Beajolais wine
  • 320g (10½ oz)  ready rolled puff pastry-2 sheets
  • a pinch of salt
  • black pepper

Put the wine in a saucepan and under a low heat, reduce to a syrup, about 5 cl.
Add the grapes and butter and beat together. As soon as the butter melts, turn off the heat. Conserve the sauce in a bain-marie.
Cut each sheet of pastry into four. On four of the pieces, place one quarter of the Epoisses in the centre of each with a sprinkling of tarragon leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover each with the other pastry pieces to make a parcel and edge all round with a fork.
Brush each parcel with egg yolk to which a little cold water has been added. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 200C in a preheated oven for 30 mins. until golden
Serve with the warm sauce.

See also Endive Salad with Pears and Epoisses and Epoisses and Potato Galette (in french)

Cookery Masterclasses

Burgundy on a Plate Cookery MasterclassLearn the tricks of the trade with a French chef either in his restaurant kitchen or his home with Burgundy on a Plate. The half day cooking course with lunch followed by an afternoon of wine tasting has proved a big hit, combining the best of Burgundy in a day. The next cookery course on traditional Burgundian Cuisine is on April 23, 320 euros per person for
a couple or 295 euros per person for four people.
For more details, sue@burgundyonaplate.com

the clue is in the leaf

'It is only when the grapes begin to turn colour a few weeks before the harvest that it becomes obvious which vines are Pinot Noir and which are Chardonnay,' says David Hammond on the Bringing Burgundy to You Facebook page

Chardonnay LeafPinot Noir Leaf This is certainly the case among the appellations where both can grow side-by-side. 'But if you look closely you can see the leaf shape differs. The Chardonnay leaf is much more indented at the edges compared to the Pinot Noir. As the leaf-break begins this will unfurl on the vine and provide the clue.

april 5

Louis Jadot Burgundy Vines from Tip to Toe

Maison Louis Jadot ranks as one of the largest wine producers in Burgundy with vineyards from tip to toe in the region, from Chablis to Beaujolais. The company has been making wine since 1859 and still stays true to its original philosophy of the importance of terroir allowing the wines to express the subtle differences in each vineyard. More...

march 29

Burgundy Innovation

Burgundy is famous for its wine, gastronomy and tourism, but the region also excels in the metallurgy, agri-food, automobile and health sectors. Here's our fact file on innovation

Noao electric racing car Magny-Cours

Areva Bourgogne

Left: Noao electric racing car developed at Magny-Cours, Right: Areva, No 1 in nuclear technology, with plants in Burgundy

A racing car that doesn’t pollute? Plastics made from plant fibres such as hemp? The fastest train wheels in the world? The production of key parts for wind turbines to produce “green” energy? Clusters have formed around the automobile industry in Magny-Cours, agro-materials in Dijon, mobile machinery in Le Creusot and wind energy in Longvic. These clusters are uniting companies, research laboratories and training centres around projects.

The nuclear energy centre of Burgundy brings together 160 members, employing more than 12,000 in the Burgundy region. In Chalon-sur-Saône, Montbard and Le Creusot, French industrial innovation in the field of nuclear energy is being rolled out and Burgundy has the global engineering skills to produce nuclear energy, as well as manufacture key components for the industry. Cetic, a power plant training and maintenance centre, based in Saône-et-Loire, is the only one of its kind in the world.

Burgundy is the second largest agricultural region in France and famous for its gastronomy. The taste-nutrition-health centre tackles questions such as how does a baby's taste develop? What diet best suits the elderly? How can we produce quality foods in sufficient quantities to feed the planet while respecting the environment? The taste-nutrition-health centre of excellence, Vitagora® brings together more than 150 companies, public and private laboratories and training centres, which have already carried out 167 research projects on a European scale.

march 15

Robert and Joy Pygott, Burgundy Discovery Wine ToursBurgundy Accolades

Always good to hear that our featured businesses in Burgundy are receiving accolades. TripAdvisor which is a good barometer has awarded Burgundy Discovery Wine Tours, a certificate of excellence for last year, and ranked them number one activity in Beaune. Run by Robert and Joy Pygott, read more in Gourmet Tours.

march 1

Value and Quality

High quality but less expensive, the Michelin Guide features recommendations in the Bib Gourmand section - the menu - entrée, main course and dessert is offered for under 31 euros. Here's the run down for Burgundy.

David Zuddas, DZ Envie So restaurant Djon Le Chef Coq Nuits St. Georges

Autun (71) Le Chapitre
Auxerre (89) Le Bourgogne
Avallon(89) Le Gourmillon
Avallon/Valloux(89) Auberge des Chenêts
Beaune/Ladoix-Serrigny(21) Les Terrasses de Corton
Chagny(71) Pierre et Jean
Chalon-sur-Saône(71) Auberge des Alouettes
Chalon-sur-Saône/Saint-Loup-de-Varennes (71) Le Saint-Loup
Chambolle-Musigny(21) Le Millésime
Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire/Villechaud(58) Le Chat
LeCreusot(71) Le Restaurant
LeCreusot/Montcenis(71) Le Montcenis
Dijon(21)DZ'envies (New in 2014) - above left
Dijon(21)So (New in 2014) - above centre
Dijon/Velars-sur-Ouche(21) L'Auberge Gourmande
Gevrey-Chambertin(21) ChezGuy
L'Isle-sur-Serein(89) Auberge du Pot d'Étain
Luzy(58) LeMorvan
Mâcon(71) Le Poisson d'Or
Marigny(71) L'Atelier du Goût
Meursault(21) Le Chevreuil (New in 2014)
Montbard/Saint-Rémy(21) La Mirabelle
Montceau-les-Mines/Blanzy(71) Le Plessis
Nevers(58) LeBengy
Nuits-Saint-Georges(21) La Cabotte
Nuits-Saint-Georges(21) Le Chef Coq (New in 2014) - above right
Quarré-les-Tombes(89) Le Morvan
Saint-Germain-du-Bois (71) Hostellerie Bressane
Saint-Martin-en-Bresse(71) Au Puits Enchanté
Saint-Maurice-de-Satonnay(71) Auberge des Grenouillats (New in 2014)
Saint-Romain (21) Les Roches
Tournus/Mancey(71) Auberge du Col des Chèvres
Tournus/Ozenay(71) Le Relais d'Ozenay
Venarey-les-Laumes/Alise-Sainte-Reine(21) Auberge du Cheval Blanc

febuary 21

entrepot de la gare

Entrepot de la Gare, Vandenesse Burgundy, Restaurant and Bed and Breakfast Entrepot de la Gare, Vandenesse, Burgundy, Restaurant and Bed and Breakfast Tennis Coaching Holidays at Entrepot de la Gare, Burgundy

Off the beaten track near the Canal du Nivernais not far from Decize,  Dutch couple Corine Mooijer and Rob van Setten have their restaurant and chambres d'hôte, Entrepôt de la Gare. Taking the old station building at Montaron, surrounded by idyllic countryside, they have created a quirky but very charming venue, now in its fifth year. Corine is the cook, Rob is a tennis coach and offers one off classes or a full course.

The restaurant offers a table d'hôte menu and dietary requirements can be provided with a little prior notice. Dine under the vine, or in front of the log fire on chillier days. There are two bedrooms with private bathrooms too. Keep the Entrepôt de la Gare in mind if you are cruising, cycling or walking on the canal. More...

february 1

No licence required

Linssen Yachts, Locaboat Holidays BurgundyThe canals of Burgundy are one of the top tourist attractions in the region for holidays afloat, walking along the tow paths or taking to the cycling routes. Locaboats, based in Joigny, hire out boats sleeping between 2 and 12 people and have been operating for 36 years. So they know how it all works and what the pitfalls are for the inexperienced boat hand. On their website they give comprehensive information about all aspects of planning your holiday. This year Locaboat has integrated with state of the art Linssen yachts, designed to optimize space with top quality fittings. Manoeuvring the boats they say is easier than driving a car and no licence is required. More...

january 10

Group Therapy

Cook with Confidence in BurgundyComing down to earth after Benoît Charvet's masterclass, make up a group of foodie friends for a celebration weekend of food and wine. Lynne Hammond who runs 'Cooking with Confidence' is offering private cooking classes with wine pairing for a group of up to six people at Château de Tailly, near Meursault to guests at the house. She will supply everything required for the half day cooking class followed by a relaxing four course lunch or dinner. She is happy to travel to other venues where a group of friends is staying (subject to facilities and permission).

january 4

One Step Nearer
Climats du vignobles de Bourgogne

Burgundy has been described as 'a landscape of slow civilization'. Time is of the essence - time to tend the vineyards, to graze the Charolais cattle, to meander along the canals.

It is the heritage of the vineyards and everything related to it that hit the news at the end of 2013. Burgundy has been putting together a case to present to UNESCO to make the Climats du Vignobles de Bourgogne a World Heritage Site. Now it has been officially announced that France will give its backing and put the proposal to the UNESCO committee in 2014 for a decision in 2015.

Climats du Vignobles de Bourgogne, Burgundy's candidacy as a World Heritage SiteOn a new website from the BIVB devoted to the Climats the term, unique to Burgundy is described as follows: ' It is the Burgundian expression of the notion of Terroir. The Climats are precisely delimited plots that enjoy particular geological and climatic conditions which, when combined with traditional working practices and translated by the two grape varieties - Pinot Noir for red wines and Chardonnay for whites – have given rise to an extraordinary patchwork of world renowned wines, ranked according to a hierarchy. There are several thousand Climats in Bourgogne'.

A coffee table book has just been published to illustrate the extreme beauty of the Climats. Three of our favourite photographers, Michel Joly, Armelle Photographe and Jean
Louis Bernuy have supplied the pictures to show the heritage
and culture of the vineyards, the villages, Beaune and Dijon.
Available in French with an English version to follow.

49 euros from Glénat Livres

Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com


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