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This Week...

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

november 1, 2014

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
Photo: Iwan Baan

"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.

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.”

A personalized wine label

Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction Bid OnlineThe Hospices de Beaune wine auction is coming up on November 16. Launched by Burgundy négociant Albert Bichot in 2009, www.hospices-beaune.com enables wine lovers around the world to purchase online wines from the 2014 vintage en primeur (as futures) from the legendary Hospices de Beaune estate in Bourgogne (60 ha including 85% of Premiers and Grands Crus). Purchases can be either a full pièce (a barrel of 288 bottles) or one of the 5 cuvées (wines) pre-selected by Albert Bichot on quality and terroir criteria. In this case the minimum purchase is of only 3 bottles. All buyers have the unique opportunity to add their name as a buyer on the
Hospices de Beaune label.

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.
 

Pioneering initiatives for the future of Burgundy wine

Burgundy may be a traditionalist stronghold but the wine growers must embrace 21st century advances in technology if they are to survive.

There is a lot of talk at present about the way forward for Burgundy's winegrowers. Jancis Robinson highlighted the fact that the region is at a 'crossroads of evolution' and paints a rather gloomy picture. Contrast the small quantities of wine from tiny parcels of vines in Burgundy with the corporate businesses in Bordeaux. With the interest from the Asian market and several low yield seasons, the prices of Burgundy wine has soared, investors are buying up châteaux with vineyards, and the local people can no longer afford to buy land for vines in the Côte d'Or. Change is inevitable.

Novadem Drone over Burgundy VineyardCommenting on Decanter.com,  Andrew Jefford talks about aerial spraying in the vineyards which is still allowed - up until the end of next year as it stands at present. He says that this is where drones could be successfully used. ' The use of drones so far in viticulture, as indeed in most other branches of agriculture, has been confined to data gathering. They make a perfect tool for precision viticulture techniques – which in themselves should greatly reduce the necessity for spray treatments, since sprays can be concentrated in the zones of vineyards most at risk, and not needlessly blanketed over healthy as well as vulnerable vines'.

Drones are clearly the hot topic. This Week the BIVB (Burgundy Wine Board) has just announced two initiatives which could be pioneering. These ambitious programmes have a common aim: to ensure the sustainability of the Bourgogne wine region by continuing to reduce treatments applied to the plant.

The Automatic Detection of Vine Disease (DAMAV project) uses images obtained using drones and interpreted using sophisticated analysis systems which will, in the near future, constitute a key instrument of diagnosis for growers. These analysis systems cover a wide variety of parameters, including plant vigor, water reserves, soil composition, and especially vine diseases.
Drones could thus save precious time for winegrowers, allowing them to make ever-finer adjustments to their interventions in the vineyard.

The partnership behind the DAMAV project began in 2013, with trials on localizing outbreaks of Flavescence Dorée. The initial results have been promising, the quality of the images enabling accurate identification of suspect zones.

Project IRIS aims to reduce inputs such as chemicals without posing a threat to production and stimulate the vine's natural defenses against disease. It aims to facilitate the use of “bio-stimulants”, in synergy with stimulators for the vine’s natural defenses, to ensure the good health of plants and maintain their capacity for production.
It is based on three innovations:
- The creation of bio-stimulants based on seaweed or plants and capable of enhancing the effectiveness of natural defense stimulators
- The development of on-board imaging systems to monitor the effects of these bio-stimulants and natural defense stimulators on the plants
- The development of a spraying system to optimize their application

Both DAMAV and IRIS will run for 36 months with a budget each of 1.7million euros, part funded by the French government.

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 17

Vineyards of the Douro Portugal at the Dijon Gastronomy FairClassed number six in the rankings for international fairs in France, 580 exhibitors will fill the Parc des Expositions in Dijon for the Foire Internationale et Gastronomique de Dijon from October 30 to November 11. This year Portugal is the guest nation and in particular, wines of the Douro (right) will be the centre piece. For tarifs and timing see Grapevine...

Hospices wine auction weekend

Fete des Grands Vins de Bourgogne Beaune, November 14-16 2014Beaune will be in party mode over the weekend of November 14-16 when the Hospices de Beaune wine auction takes place. You may not be interested in the auction itself but there are many different events going on all over town to enjoy. The Association of Burgundy wine-growers are organizing the 142st “Fête des Grands Vins de Bourgogne” at the Palais des Congrès in Beaune. This festival is one of the oldest of its kind, where you can discover the latest vintage and the maturity of older wines. Over 3,000 different wines covering all of the Burgundy appellations from Chablis to Beaujolais and the Grand Crus of the Côte d’Or will be available for tasting. €25 per person (glass and exhibitor catalogue included), Fri: 15.00-19.00. Sat: 9.00-19.00, Sun 9.00-14.00.

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

harvesting in the sunshine


Grape harvest in Burgundy, BIVB, DRReporting on the 2014 harvest, Jean-Philippe Gervais, technical director of the BIVB. the Burgundy Wine Board, says 'After a difficult year for the wine growers, the smiles have returned. For the white wines, the year will be very good to outstanding. It will be 'mixed' for the reds - some of the grapes were victims of acid rot in places. With the beautiful September sunshine the grapes reached their full maturity, they are healthy, sweet and aromatic. The volume is there too, putting a smile on the faces of the winemakers.

fruits of the forest

Truffle collecting in BurgundyThe French are passionate about mushrooms and truffles. Burgundy produces some of  the most famous truffles in Europe after the Périgord region and the white truffle from Italy. The collecting season has now started and runs until the end of January. In the Is-sur-Tille area near Dijon the Fête de la Truffe et des Papilles (taste buds) will take place on October 18 from 9.00-18.00 hrs in the Place de la République. In November, (16th) you can watch a demonstration of collecting these precious fungi in the forest near Leuglay, starting at 1 Ruelle de la Ferme at 14.30, and in December there is a Marché de la Truffe at the Maison de la Foret, Leuglay on December 7 from 9.00-13.00.

In Nolay-sur-Serein in the Yonne, the annual Fête de la Truffe will take place on November 2 and 30.

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

The Pop-up house

Pop-up House by Multipod Studio

The concept of a contemporary house you can build in four days at a reasonable cost has to be worth exploring. French architects and designers at Multipod Studio  have come up with the Pop-up House costing around 200 euros a sq. m (excluding electric circuits, water connection and heating). The raw materials used to build the house, which is mounted either on micro-piles or a concrete block, are expanded polystyrene and Lamibois (a material formed of thin veneers of wooden layers), both of which are recyclable. Multipod Studio is currently looking for manufacturers to support the project. Watch the video. Building plots in Bourbon Lancy in Burgundy for example start from 19.000 euros.

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....

Abbaye de la Bussiere BurgundySomething special in November

A Cistercian abbey turned into a luxury country hotel, Michelin starred food and wine tastings and visits to independent wine growers in the Côte de Beaune and
Côte de Nuits. This is the gist of a  gourmet weekend made in heaven, at the end of November organised by Bringing Burgundy to You at the Abbaye de la Bussière. 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


june 14

Apremont sur Allier Picture postcard perfect

We have touched on the gardens at Apremont-sur-Allier before but realized that they were something special requiring more exploration. Read Lucia Latenstein's report at one of France's most beautiful villages. More...


June 6

Proposed joining of administrative regions of Francenews from the ElysEe

The Hollande administration has set out its proposals for reducing the French administrative regions from 22 to 14. A lot of new names are being suggested - Burgundy joining in with Franche-Comté could become la Franche-Bourgogne. More...

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      
BESSEY EN CHAUME A6 PARIS to LYON 239
SELONGEY A31 NANCY to BEAUNE 73
EGUILLY A6 PARIS to LYON 33
NIEVRE      
MAGNY COURS RN7 NEVERS to MOULINS 68
CHALLUY RD976 NEVERS to BOURGES 27
NEVERS RD907 VARENNES VAUZELLES to CHALLUY 13
Saone et Loire      
SEVREY A6 LYON to PARIS 131
SEVREY A6 PARIS to LYON 124
VEROSVRES RN79 MACON to MOULINS 88
Yonne      
VAULT DE LUGNY RD606 AUXERRE to AVALLON 32
VAULT DE LUGNY RD606 AVALLON to AUXERRE 31
ST BRIS LE VINEUX RD606 AVALLON to AUXERRE 28

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 8

900 years of the cistercian monks in burgundy

Cisterian Monks at Chateau du Clos de Vougeot, illustration, Ghislaine Dodet
In June this year, Pontigny Abbey celebrates 900 years of the Cisterian order - we will be bringing you the events to look out for shortly. Diary date for next January, the Château du Clos de Vougeot will mark the occasion by celebrating, along with Gilly-les-Cîteaux, the 2015 St Vincent Festival on January 24 -25. Illustration Ghislaine Dodet.

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

   




Burgundy Today Cryptic Crossword Solutions

Across

1. Nevers,   4. Tenant, 9. Noël, 10. Prodigious, 11. Bateau, 12&23 down Burgundy Today, 13. Kilometer, 15. Père, 16. Acts, 17. Reveillon, 21. Exported, 22. Petite, 24. A Rare Error, 25. Dope, 26. Events, 27. Troyes

Down

1. Neo Nazi, 2. Valse, 3. Rupture, 5. Emigré, 6 .Adieu Nell, 7. Trundle, 8. Double headers, 14. Outsource, 16. Auxerre, 18. Emperor, 19. Octopus, 20. Street. 23.  See 12 across

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