Sunday, April 5, 2009
Paris/Champagne 2009: Highlights for now and a taste of what's to come
So I'm back, possibly still somewhere between East Coast and GMT time zones, but otherwise doing quite well. Six days does not quite do Paris and Champagne justice; either place alone merits much more time and exploration. Nevertheless, you still can see and accomplish a lot in six days.
One thing I realized is that Champagne just might be the easiest to visit wine region that is proximate to a large city in the entire world. 70 minutes from Paris Gare de l'Est to Epernay. Only 45 minutes if you head to Reims and take the TGV bullet train. Beautiful countryside, picturesque older villages, sleepy towns (even the larger ones like Epernay are really quiet this time of year). And of course there is the champagne. My suggestion is to go. Especially if you're lucky enough to be employed and have some paid time off as I am...now is the time to go. There are probably still great flight deals, and the dollar is relatively strong against the euro. Not to say it's a cheap trip, but if you're smart, stay in modest hotels, eat some bread and cheese occasionally for lunch, you can do the trip for cheaper than you might have thought possible.
I will have plenty of posts to look forward to from this trip, which will most likely including four winery profiles and a few meal re-caps. For now, here are a few trip highlights:
- Berthillon ice cream (pistache and caramel, both excellent)
- Large quantities of delicious, inexpensive cheese
- '07 Dard & Ribo Crozes Hermitage Blanc at Le Verre Volee
- Quite randomly running into Robert Camuto at Le Verre Volee
- Creative cuisine and friendly folks at Le Verre Volee (yes, many highlights from - this terrific wine shop and bistro - thanks Guillaume for the rec!)
- Waiting in line for 30 minutes at La Duree for $3 macarons (ok, one snarky jab allowed)
- Driving in the Marne valley, from Ambonnay in the east to the beautiful village of Oeuilly just west of Epernay
Oh, thanks for your patience with the lack of new stuff up here. To make up for it, I plan a busy week coming up - updates should be fast and furious.
Happy rest of the weekend.