Learnin' Bout Burgundy With Authentica Wine Tours

Learnin' Bout Burgundy With Authentica Wine Tours

One thing that has been a common thread throughout our traveling narrative has been the fact that we love to eat and drink, but more specifically, we love to eat and drink items which are exclusive to the area we're in. Especially food and beverages we already had been enjoying for our entire lives. Being able to try an Icelandic liquor that isn't exported so you can't find it anywhere else in the world? Dope. Being able to eat belgian waffles IN BELGIUM? Life changing. So one of the areas we have had earmarked since we started planning this European leg of our trip has been wine country in France. We'd been hearing the names for years: Burgundy. Champagne. Boujelais. Cotes Du Rhone. And then we were there. We were in Champagne. We were on the coast of the Rhone. We were lucky enough to spend multiple days in Burgundy, and doubly lucky enough to have Authentica Wine Tours as our guides.

Authentica Wine Tours offer multiple tours of the Burgundy wine region, ranging from crazy expensive full-day private tours of Côtes Du Nuis and Côte de Beaune to extremely affordable half-day tours, all of which include the most important and exciting part of drinking wine, TASTINGS. OH HOW I LOVE TASTINGS. When we were invited to join them on their Charm Tour during our time driving through French country, we jumped at the chance. Unlike the decision to rent a stick shift instead of an automatic when I hadn't driven a manual transmission car in almost twenty years (SO MANY STALL OUTS), this was a great one. The difference between a good tour and a great tour is in the knowledge and the personality of the guide, and ours, Léonie, was absolutely fantastic. We went on the tour expecting to see some beautiful sites and drink some delicious wine, but we ended up with a lesson in what makes Burgundy and it's wines special and a lifelong interest in the wine-growing process. Don't worry, we saw beautiful sites and drank delicious wines, too.

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The Best Meal We Ate In Europe

The Best Meal We Ate In Europe

We struggle every day with the question of where to eat. Ultimately, we usually end up pulling what we lovingly refer to as a "Classic Josh And Renee", which refers to the process of agonizing over a menu at a restaurant that looks as if we will really enjoy it, deciding that there is probably a better meal to be eaten somewhere else, wandering around for twenty minutes, and then deciding to eat at the next place that serves food because we are sick of looking. Then we extoll the virtues of the hypothetical eatery we should have chosen had we been better people. Funnily enough, this is a very similar story to how two of our friends got married, but that's a story for another blog.

While we were in Lyon, France, we were lucky enough to not pull a CJAR (That's a Classic Josh And Renee if you skipped the first paragraph, which is a weird way to read a blog, but it's your world). We essentially had one day to spend in the "Belly Of France", and since it has been established that we lead with our stomachs when deciding daily activities, we knew we had to nail both our lunch and dinner choice. In the end, we only needed to make one choice, because Comptoir Du Vin was the only meal we ate that day. We wanted to leave Lyon with the memory of that food on our lips. 

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Learning To Shop Like A Parisian With Secret Food Tours

Learning To Shop Like A Parisian With Secret Food Tours

One of the things I immediately noticed upon arrival in Paris is the inordinate number of men and women walking around with a baguette in their hand. "How can they do that? Don't they know they're just living up to the most basic French stereotype? They should all grow handlebar mustaches, smoke cigarettes and wear berets." Nothing made me giggle more than passing by a man casually munching on a phallogical loaf of bread the size of his torso as they jauntily headed down the Rue Desjardins Mont Blanc Croissant. Then I found myself in the line at Pain Pain Paris, being handed a baguette that was at the perfect temperature to hold, not too hot that I had to juggle it, but still so warm I could have cracked it open and seen steam emerge. I found myself being told that most good bakeries in Paris will ensure their baguettes are coming out of the oven every twenty minutes, so that every one bought has this perfect temperature. I found myself being told that the butchers will give you advice on how to cook their meat. That the cheese shops will pair their cheese with the bottle of wine in your hand. THAT THE MACAROONS ARE MADE FRESH EVERY DAY. Why would you buy your cheese, meat, and bread at one big-box grocery store, when they've been sitting out all day being breathed on by slovenly big-box grocery store employees? Why would you even set foot in a grocery store when all of these specialty stores are within a ten minute walk from your apartment? WHY IS THERE NOT A BERET STORE ON THIS BLOCK? HOW DID THIS HANDLEBAR MUSTACHE APPEAR ON MY FACE?

These are the kind of questions you begin to ask yourself when you learn to shop like a Parisian and not like an American jerk. Allow me to explain.

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The Best Time Of Day To Visit The Paris Catacombs

The Best Time Of Day To Visit The Paris Catacombs

We didn't spend a lot of time in Paris. Truth be told, we don't love ridiculously large cities (Our favorite city thus far in Europe has been Ghent), but it didn't seem right to be traveling through Europe without seeing The Most Romantic City In The World. While we had a great time, and there will be more to come on Paris (Wait until you read about our Secret Food Tour we went on - SPOILER ALERT we ate almost a pound of cheese and lived to tell about it), we hit most of the tourist-y spots in the span of a morning and spent the rest of the time drinking wine and eating cheese. I also spent a VERY frustrating two hours trying to get a cell phone SIM card set up, but let's not dwell on that. We walked from Notre Dame, past the Louvre, through the Jardin Des Tulienes, past the Paris Eye and Concorde Square, down the Champs Elysses (whistling this song the whole time) to the Arc Du Triompf, followed the River Seine to The Eiffel Tower and as they say in France VOILA. Tourist tour finished, pictures taken, let's get some prix fixe lunch with wine. 

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