Le Parc Les Crayères, Autumn 2016

Leave a comment
Champagne / France / French food / Le Parc Les Crayères / Les Crayères / Reims / SALON

Le Parc Les Crayères is one of the best restaurant in Reims, now standing at Two MICHELIN Stars. The restaurant offers gourmands a luxurious fine dining experience.  You have to arrive a little early to catch the sunset at the outdoor table with a glass of champagne before heading the main dining room. Here you will find 95% of all champagne houses on the wine list with reasonable price, we went for 2004 Champagne SALON made in the blanc de blancs style. Champagne SALON is a very small producer, 60,000 bottles only in the best years, in the past century just 37 vintages were released.

We tried L’Exception menu prepared by Chef Philippe Mille, a winner of “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” (MOF).  It is a unique and prestigious award in France, a contest for professional chefs, like an “Olympic Game” held in every four years.  The Royal scampi bedding on artichokes muslin, lobster cooked with tarragon, maturated beef with potatoes muslin and caviar, all of above items were well made and met our expectation.    The Chaource cheese foam with hazelnut oil served with watercress juice and caramelised brioche, it was a pretty delightful dish.  The ingredients are surprisingly matched.   The dessert is a harmonious combination of two flavours: bitter Sao Tome chocolate coming from West Africa with a subtle aroma of sweet candied lime.

Don’t forget to have a coffee in the bar, quite relaxing!!

Harvesting grapes in Epernay, Autumn 2016

Leave a comment
Champagne / Epernay / France / Reims / vineyard / WineGrower / Winemaker

We were so lucky being in Champagne area during the busy harvest season.   We rented a car and hopped on over to different small villages such as Avize, Ay and Cramant.  Pretty enjoying spent a day walking around in the breezy warm days with the epic scenery in front of you.  Hundred of labours were working hard against the clock to harvest the grapes within the time frame according to the “rules” set by Union des Maisons de Champagne (UMC).   One of the workers in a Jamaican hairstyle was very kind, let us try the hand-picked Chardonnay grapes in fresh. The taste of honey sweetness grape juice with a dose of minerality is unforgetable.  We are pretty sure, the grapes coming from this field could make a top quality zero dosage champagne.

Les Avisés, Autumn 2016

Leave a comment
Anselme Selosse / Avize / Côte des Blancs / Champagne / Chardonnay / Cramant / France / French food / hotel / Jacques Selosse / Oger / Reims / vineyard / WineGrower / Winemaker

Jacques Selosse is easily the best Champagne and grower Champagne on planet earth. Yearly production is very limited which make getting hold of a bottle very difficult even if you live in France.  If you are Jacques Selosse hardcore fans and like unique style of this Domaine very much, staying at Les Avisés is a must, here you can have any bottle you want at a reasonable price!

Les Avisés also operates a restaurant with cozy vibe, the sparkling water is coming from local region natural water and prepared by them.  We pick Version Originale (VO) which is produced in 3600 bottles each year, Chardonnay coming from three Grand Crus area Avize, Cramant and Oger.  How lucky am I having this elegant wine under the lovely sunshine.  As they said, “le respect du vivant pour l’expression du Mineral”.  Not a bad idea to have an al fresco lunch in Les Avisés, cost only EURO39 (wine exclusive), good environment, nice food, perfect sunshine and fantasy wine!!

Château de Fère Hôtel & Spa, Autumn 2016

Leave a comment
Castle / Champagne / France / French food / hotel / ice cream / Reims / Spa

Château de Fère Hôtel & Spa is located in Castelnau-de-Lévis, outskirt of Reims, it takes 45 mins drive to Reims centre, a bit quite far away and remote.  Many guests are coming from UK and seems they have a fun ride with their classic cars and motors.   The hotel is nearby a historical ruined castle named Château de Fère-en-Tardenois began in 1206.  Nice to have a little walk there before your sundowner’s party get start. It is not a place offering you luxury butler’s service with high end furnishing inside your room.

It is a place for people seeking calm and comfort.

Wine Tasting at Chateauneuf du Papes, Autumn 2016

Leave a comment
Chateauneuf du Papes / France / Paul Avril / UNESCO / wine / WineGrower / Winemaker

If you are thinking the taste and nose of red from Chateauneuf du Papes is spicy, heavy, lack of elegance and finesse. How about trying the white?  I love it at my first sip.   The humid and hot weather of that area is so difficult to produce white wine, that’s why 94% of the wine produced is red while the white is much rarer.

Close des Papes by Paul Avril is my favourite brand, their family has been a winegrower since 1600.   Their white wine is a kind of full body and long-keeping selection, I bought a few bottles of 2003, leathery and nutty taste at the beginning and the honey favour sharp cut at the end.  Breath it in 45 mins before serve and take it out from the ice bucket during the dinner, otherwise, you can’t feel the complexity taste.  Don’t forget hanging around other wine shops for tasting, Les Caves St Charles is a shop with tasting session and offer DHL delivery service if you are taking order from them.

If you wanna have a walk after a massive lunch, Pont de Gard is worth to go.  It is a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon River.  That’s absolutely amazing!

La Cour des Papes, Chateauneuf du Papes, Autumn 2016

Leave a comment
Caviar / Chateauneuf du Papes / France / French food

Heading Chateauneuf du Papes from Avignon, we stop by La Cour des Papes restaurant for lunch after happy shopping in Les Caves Saint Charles, a wine shop in Rue des Papes. An old stone house is set on the hillside and the little pathway from the wine shop leads you going up the restaurant.  It is a place combined with cooking school and restaurant, Chef cooks in front of us and explains the menu in details, the pigeon and dessert are absolutely delicious and the food portions are plentiful.  Better to come in the daytime for lunch, you’ll be looking out to the vineyards, feeling the tranquil that only comes from an epic scenery and beautiful natural environment.

La Mirande, Avignon, Autumn 2016

Leave a comment
Avignon / Cooking / France / French food / hotel / wine

Our second time staying in La Mirande, I am crazy for this little boutique hotel festooned with beautiful decor with a cozy touch.  The location is perfectly good, just right next to the Palais des Papes which is the most renowned place of Avignon.    We were more than happy having a room with a small balcony and enjoying my white under the sunny warm breeze!

We joined the cooking class at La Mirande and happy to meet Chef Severine Sagnet again.  So exciting to prepare dinner for 20 people in a small historical kitchen, cooking food with an old charcoal stove was so much fun.   Guests were invited to have a wine tasting in an old vault before the romantic “candle light” dinner.    Having dinner with people from all walks of life was quite interesting, can you imagine Russian poker player and a cooking ma ma from the States were sitting on the same table?    Worth to “seize the moment” and treat yourself to an evening of a special culinary pleasure!!