The Journey Continues…

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Time has been moving way to fast, we’ve been counting down to our last days in France, and suddenly there are only days left. We’re finally making the big move back over the pond and I have to admit that my absence from the blog has been on the one hand because there has been so much to do to finalize things here, and on the other hand because I’ve felt like by avoiding the topic it would somehow stall time.

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IMG_20140525_004427But, the days keep moving and we’ve had a last weekend to Paris, a last picnic on Lac Kir, the last wine tasting, the last nuit des musees, the last tea at Comptoir des Colonies, the last jog to the park, the last morning at the market. Every experience has been priceless, gorgeous time filled with incredible people and places; Dijon, Burgundy, and France will always hold a special place in my heart. Fingers crossed I’m back sooner than later. Merci, Dijon!

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And, while I’m sad to think that Paris won’t be just a 3 hour drive away, that a bottle of Burgundy wine won’t be quite in the budget, Eric Fevre baguettes (the best in Dijon) and Pierre Hubert pastries (the best in the city!) will be a plane ride away, I am also so eager to go back to family and friends who’ve been too far away for too long, and back to enjoying all the things that have come to mean so much more to me since I’ve left. Nerves, tears, joy, sadness, excitement, suitcases…this beautiful journey continues.

Bisous, Dianne

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Crémant de Bourgogne Tasting in Beaune

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Just a few hours from the fields of Champagne, Burgundy wineries are making their own version of golden, bubbly goodness. We headed down the Cote d’Or to Burgundy wine country for a tour of Veuve Ambal and a tasting of the tiny bubbles in Crémant de Bourgogne, Burgundy’s answer to Champagne. As you probably know, Champagne is protected under law to maintain its origin, quality, and exclusivity, and enjoying a bottle will put you back a few bucks in your wallet. Crémant is bubbly French wine, like Champagne, but made outside of the Champagne region and without the hefty price tag.CremantVeuveAmbalCremant-ProcessCremantbottle

We took a tour of the Veuve Ambal factory where we saw how the bubbly is made. Using a combination of the four grape varieties of the region, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Aligoté and Gamay, Crémant is made with different flavors and colors. The process is actually the same process as making Champagne, the difference is simply the grape and the region. In the autumn harvest the wine is produced and bottled and sent to the cellar to age depending on which Crémant it will become. After the aging process, the bottles are put through the meticulous riddling process where the bottles are rotated little by little by riddlers (who knew you could be a riddler?! Unfortunately, machines are the modern riddlers, so back to our day jobs we go) until finally sitting upside down, causing any aging residue to fall into the neck of the bottle. From here, the bottle necks are frozen, the frozen residue popped out, a little more sugar is added and the bottles are sealed and labeled, ready for any romantic evening that might conspire.

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Today the process is mostly mechanized, but with some many meticulous and careful steps to make one bottle of bubbly, it really does change the way you think about those tiny bubbles, and the ancient origins of Champagne are even more intriguing. After the tour, we headed down to the shop for a tasting. Our host was friendly and generous, and we tasted five different varieties of Crémant from Rosé to Brut to Prestige with clear explanations about each sip making the experience even more enjoyable.

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So, on Valentine’s day, if you are celebrating or not, indulge in a glass of bubbly! Enjoy it before your meal with an aperitif like a Frenchie, or like the rest of us, after the meal with a sweet dessert. Cheers to celebrating all the good things life, ensemble or solo, before or after the meal, for love or simply for pleasure. 

Besos, Dianne    ************************************************************************************************

For more info about visiting Veuve Ambal for a tour and tasting check out their website Veuve Ambal.

The tour is self guided, with a head set, and lasts about 1 hour. The tasting with a guide lasts 30mins to one hour.

Celebrating 100 with a Giveaway!


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Happy Weekend!! In honor of 100 followers it’s time to celebrate with a little giveaway to bring a taste of Burgundy to you! A region that is home to world-class vineyards, lush rolling fields dotted with happy cows who produce amazing cheese, castles galore, and beautiful tiny villages to explore, there is no end of things to see and do in Burgundy! I’m in love with my little town, Dijon, and I’m so happy to share my experiences with you. To share a little of the little of Burgundy with you, one lucky reader will receive a taste of Burgundy including: a mini pot of Edmond Fallot Dijon Mustard, a beautiful tin of violet Anise de Flavigny candies, and a delicious (and adorable!) owl shaped piece of Dijon’s traditional Mulot & Petit Jeans’s Pain d’Epice. YUM!

To enter the giveaway you must:

1) Follow A Beautiful Journey on WordPress

2) Leave a comment about what you’d most like to see and do in Burgundy

3) For an extra entry, follow me on Twitter @diditravels or follow A Beautiful Journey on Facebook, and leave another comment letting me know you did!

Entries must be in by Sunday, November 24th. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, November 25th, 2013.

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I’m happy to announce the winner of the Taste of Burgundy, Jessica from Hola Yessica! Thanks to everyone who participated and thanks to all of you for following, reading and commenting! Here’s to more many more Beautiful Journeys!

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Here are some of my favorite things to do in Burgundy…

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Taste Pinot Noir from the Cote D’Or vineyards around Beaune.

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Wander around Chateauneuf en Auxois’s Medieval town and castle.

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Take a bike ride down the Burgundy Canal.

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Start the Camino in Vézelay.

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Bask in the calm of the Abbey of Fontanay. 

What would you like to do in Burgundy?

Bonne Chance!! Thanks for reading! 

Besos, Dianne