Honeymooners in Burgundy
My fiance and I will be spending 2 days in the Burgundy region and are looking for recommendations for wineries to visit, local favorite places to have lunch, and regionally authentic places to have dinner.
We will be staying at the Auburge du Paradis in Macon. I have read wonderful things about their cuisine, so we're planning on dining there one night.
Other dinner restaurants that I've read positive reviews about are Le Cep and Chez Pierre. Which would you recommend of those two?
Regarding wineries, do you have any recommendations for places to visit that offer tastings (and speak English as our French is poor at best...)? We would love to explore the whole region.
We were there for a few days during our honeymoon in October. It was fantastic. Stayed at a little B&B in Pommard (Violot-Guillemard). Estelle was a terrific host and unfortunately we were unable to get a tour of the attached winery as it was harvest time (this did not prevent us from drinking some and bring more home). I would recommend picking up a couple of their bottles if you can.
We had a lunch @ L'Auberge de Vieux Vigneron, which featured fantastic regional rustic cuisine. I had veal sweetbreads which they roasted over the fireplace in the center of the restaurant. They have a couple of bad service reviews on tripadvisor, however our experience was fantastic. I think we were the only tourists there.
We also had dinner at Aupres du Clocher in Pommard one evening (I believe it has one star). It could have been the best meal we had during our trip. We did not have reservations, however they were very accommodating and the service was impeccable. Their wine list was very reasonable and offered a tremendous selection of small regional producers.
As far as visiting wineries, we only had Sunday available so the DIY route was not an option. We elected to use Colette Barbier as a tour guide. She gained us access to multiple wineries that were not open to the public, plus she did all of the driving.
If you are interested in cheese, I would not skip Alain Hess in Beaune. We wanted to have lunch @ la ferme de la Ruchotte, however we ran out of time.
Have a great trip
Though we've been in southern Burgundy, it has been mostly on day trips and we typically home base out of Beaune or nearby, so I'm not good with recommendations that direction.
We finally dined at Le Cep last year and I was underwhelmed. There are plenty of other places nearby, both high-end and mid-range, where I'd rather spend my calories, time, and money. Ma Cusine is definately one, P'tit Paradis is another. If you want a big splurge recommendation there is always Lameloise in Chagny - though we could only afford lunch ;-)
As for wine, you might try: www.pouilly-fuisse.net - this is a cooperative in Solutre-Pouilly that is fun. There is also the Chateau Meursault (www.meursault.com) which is good. Of course, these are both mainly white wines.
There are several places owned and or run by English speakers in the Beaune area. These folks are friendly and the first three require a reservation, but it is easy by web or email:
1) Alex Gambal - www.alexgambal.com
2) Domaine Newman - www.domainenewman.com
3) Domaine Dublere - www.domaine-dublere.com
4) Chateau L'Ange Gardien - they have a tasting room/shop in Beaune now on the ring road (though it isn't listed on their website) - 38 Blvd Marechal Foch, parking in back at 7 rue du faubourg Saint-Martin - look for the two flags on the corner as their name is nowhere to be found. Watch out for Pierre...he's a charmer!
For general information on the area I like the site below. It is the site of a guy who travels there a lot and I find that we have similar tastes so I know that I'll typically agree with what he has said after my experience:
Have a wonderful honeymoon!
If you have good rapport with a wine merchant, I suggest asking him to speak with his distributor to arrange a tour and tasting for you at Louis Jadot in Beaune. This is not a place that is open to the public, but their private tour and tasting is extraordinary. I also recommend lunch or dinner at Ma Cuisine.
We stayed at l'Auberge du Paradis in St. Amour(Beaujolais) shortly after it opened and enjoyed it so much that we visited again a year or so later. Do not miss the breakfast. We have stayed at Hotel Le Cep a few times but never have tried the restaurant as we love the more casual places in the area like the oft-praised Ma Cuisine just behind Le Cep and La Cabotte just up the road a few kilometers in Nuit St. Georges. Another fairy tale setting with a nice restaurant near Macon is the Chateau d'Igé.
A simple but effective way to try many wines is to visit a couple of the cellars in Beaune that represent so many of the local vintners...have fun.