12 foods to try in Burgundy & Provence on your river cruise

Culinary highlights from Burgundy & Provence Heatheronhertravels.com

From Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France, to the Mediterannean flavours of Provence, our river cruise with Uniworld and Titan Travel took us through some of the best wine growing and food tasting regions of France. We found world class Burgundy wine, tasted both gourmet and authentically home cooked dishes and brought home a few sweet treats and piquant souvenirs. We enjoyed fabulous food on board the SS Catherine too, reflecting the local flavours of the Rhone valley we were passing through. Here are some of the foods of Burgundy and Provence that we tried on our Burgundy and Provence Uniworld Cruise – if you’re a food lover you’ll definitely want to discover this part of France for yourself.

Culinary highlights from Burgundy & Provence Heatheronhertravels.com

The elegant taste of Lyon at Institut Paul Bocuse

Paul Bocuse is the godfather of gastronomy in Lyon, the much revered local chef, who at the age of 90 has maintained 3 Michelin stars at his luxury restaurant for the last 50 years. One of the special Uniworld excursions took us to the Institut Paul Bocuse, the school of cookery founded by the chef, who also runs a hotel and several other restaurants around the city. Here we were treated to a demonstration of some classic Lyonaise dishes, expertly created before us by top chef, Philippe Jousse.

Institute Paul Bocuse Heatheronhertravels.com

Cookery lesson at Institute Paul Bocuse

Under Philippe’s culinary direction, we were encouraged to have a go at stirring, whisking and poaching the perfect egg for the Salade Lyonnaise. Of course we got away without having to do any of the washing up! At the end of the demonstration, we sat down to a delicious meal of Burgundy specialities, although we could barely take any credit for it. There were pike quenelles with crayfish sauce and a soft meringue set in vanilla custard topped with a delicate nest of spun sugar. It was a delightful introduction to the gourmet traditions of Lyon.

Lunch at Institut Paul Bocuse Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Lunch after our cookery lesson at Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon

The best quality produce at Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse

In the modern part of the city we wandered around Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, the food market named after the chef that is packed full of delicious food from Burgundy. We drooled over everything from cheeses to oysters, chocolates to fois gras macarons (yes really!) and in various corners found small restaurants serving the produce of the market. As our Uniworld guide explained, this market sells only the very best of everything and it’s the sort of place you go shopping when you are hoping to impress your mother-in-law who is coming to dinner.

Read more from this cruise:
Titan Blog: Burgundy and Provence – Heather on her travels
10 things to expect on a river cruise with Uniworld
Tasting the wines of Burgundy on our Uniworld Cruise

Les Halles Paul Bocuse Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Les Halles Paul Bocuse in Lyon

Authentic home cooking at a Bouchon Lyonnais

For food specialities of Lyon that are less Michelin star and more salt of the earth, look out for the homely restaurants known as Bouchon Lyonnais in the old quarter of Lyon. You’ll recognise these restaurants by the sign with the puppet Gnafron, who is a well known comic character in Lyon, similar to the Punch and Judy puppets that we might see at the seaside.

Bouchon Lyonnaise Heatheronhertravels.com

The sign for a Bouchon Lyonnaise restaurant

The restaurants serve typical Lyonnaise cooking, specialising in meaty dishes, where andouillette sausages and offal feature heavily. You’ll recognise them by the old fashioned feel with mismatched wooden chairs, red check table cloths, and dusty old pictures on the wall.

Bouchon Lyonnaise Heatheronhertravels.com

A Bouchon Lyonnaise restaurant in Lyon

Wine tasting at a Burgundy Chateau – Chateau de Rully

Tasting the wines of Burgundy in a local vineyard is certainly part of the Burgundy experience and at Chateau de Rully we were guided through a tasting by the Compte de Ternay whose family had run this vineyard for 22 generations. In the cool cellar we were able to compare two of the Chateau de Rully white chardonnays, the Appellation Village and Premier Cru wines. No surprise that the Premier Cru with aromas of honey and orange blossom came out top.

Wine tasting at Chateau Rully Heatheronhertravels.com

The vineyards at Chateau de Rully in Burgundy

The final tasting of Burgundy red wine was left to try at our lunch in one of the converted chateau outbuildings where we dined on the classic local speciality of Burgundy, a hearty boeuf bourgignon made with the chateau’s own red wine. Although the meal was simple home-cooked fare, we really enjoyed being invited into the Count’s home and hearing the stories of his family who have lived here and worked these vineyards for centuries. You can visit Chateau de Rully on open days in July and August – more details on their website.

Boeuf Bourgignon Heatheronhertravels.com

Boeuf Bourgignon, the classic local dish

A Wine tasting class at Chapoutier in Tain Hermitage

For a more structured wine tasting experience we stopped at M.Chapoutier in Tain-Hermitage, one of the leading wine producers responsible for great wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape and Crozes Hermitage. They allow informal tastings of Burgundy wines in the wine shop but we had the full experience upstairs in one of their classrooms. Interesting that the Syrah which is a typical grape of the region was quite different to the wines we normally buy from Australia and we found it light and acidic. I’m afraid it was not our favourite although the fresh whites, made from the Viognier grape, slipped down nicely! Visit the Chapoutier website for more information.

Wine tasting at Chapoutier Heatheronhertravels.com

Wine tasting at Chapoutier in Tain-Hermitage

The delicious food on our Uniworld cruise

One of the delights of the food on our Uniworld river cruise was the local flavours that were incorporated into our daily menus, in the Regional Highlights section, such as roasted chicken with morel mushroom sauce or roast rack of lamb with a crust of herbs, garlic and olives from Provence. The wines were beautifully matched too, from the regions of Burgundy that we were passing through and each evening our sommelier would talk us through the food and wine pairings before dinner. On prominent display was also the cookery book by Uniworld owner Mrs Bea Tollman, who had collected her favourite recipes from a lifetime as a hotelier and some of these featured on each day’s menu.

Read more from this cruise:
Titan Blog: Burgundy and Provence – Heather on her travels
10 things to expect on a river cruise with Uniworld
Tasting the wines of Burgundy on our Uniworld Cruise

Dinner with Uniworld Cruises Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Dinner on our Uniworld Cruise

All the dishes were beautifully cooked and presented, with a daily Vegetarian menu and a low calorie ‘Traveling Lite’ selection, providing something for all tastes. A real treat was the afternoon tea laid out in the Van Gough salon where we inevitably made a beeline for the delicious macarons, which were impossible to resist.

Lunch on our Uniworld Cruise Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Lunch on our Uniworld Cruise

Sweet treats to bring home – Les Anis de Flavigny

Although I try not to weigh myself down with too many purchases when I travel, I do enjoy scouting out local food specialities to bring home as souvenirs. In Beaune we spotted the delightful Anis de Flavigny, a speciality of Provence. These locally made sweets are packed in pretty little tins with a vintage feel, like something your French grandmother might pull out of her apron pocket to give you as a child. They are made with a tiny seed of anis at the centre which is covered with a hard candy coating in ten different flavours such as violet, lemon and rose. We bought a few tins in Beaune, but they didn’t last long once we got back home. You can read more about them on the Anis de Flavigny website.

Les Anis de Flavigny at Beaune Heatheronhertravels.com

Les Anis de Flavigny at Beaune

The piquant Moutarde de Beaune

You’ll have heard of Dijon mustard, but look out for the traditional Burgundy mustards made by Edmond Fallot. The company are reintroducing the production of mustard seeds to Burgundy, since most are now imported from abroad, to make a completely Burgundian product. We bought a jar of their Moutard de Beune which is made with wine rather than vinegar and had a smooth but piquant flavour. You can visit their museum and factory in Beaune for a tasting and find out more on the Fallot website.

Mustard at Beaune Heatheronhertravels.com

Mustard at Beaune

An aperitif made of Creme de Cassis

You’ll see many varieties of Creme de Cassis on sale in Burgundy as well as other fruit flavoured syrups and liqeurs. The Creme de Cassis is made from blackcurrants soaked in alcohol and often drunk as an aperitif; a Kir mixed with sparkling white wine or Kir Royale with champagne. Just like wine, the liqueur has a regional designation so you may see the labels marked with Creme de Cassis de Dijon or Cassis de Bourgogne which is made with the local Burgundy variety of blackcurrants. We enjoyed a glass of Kir on board SS Catherine as an aperitif before dinner on one of the special dining evenings that showcased the local cuisine.

Read more from this cruise:
Titan Blog: Burgundy and Provence – Heather on her travels
10 things to expect on a river cruise with Uniworld
Tasting the wines of Burgundy on our Uniworld Cruise

Creme de cassis at Beaune Heatheronhertravels.com

Creme de cassis at Beaune

Chocoholic’s delight – the Valrhona Cité du Chocolat

On our Uniworld cruise we stopped at Tournon-sur-Rhone and Tain-l’Hermitage, both historic wine towns on opposite sides of the Rhone. The final stop of our walking tour was the Valrhona Cité du Chocolat where they have a discovery centre and extensive gift shop. The best part of the visit was tasting the many different samples laid out in bowls around the shop so you could try the different flavours before buying. Valrhona was a chocoholic’s dream, with counters of chocolate truffles, bars of single variety chocolate as well as chocolate for drinking and cooking. Needless to say almost everyone came out with a bag full of chocolate to take home. Find out more on the Valrhona website.

Valrhona chocolate Heatheronhertravels.com

Valrhona chocolate

The rosé wines of Provence

As our Uniworld river cruise took us further south the white chardonnays of Burgundy gave way to the light and easy-drinking rosé wines that are the summer drink of choice in Provence. We were offered our first rosé of Provence as an aperitif together with local pâté and charcuterie at the end of our walking tour of Viviers in the rose filled garden of our guide who lived in one of the old town houses.

Rose wine Heatheronhertravels.com

Drinking the Rosé wine of Provence in our guide’s garden

Soon I started to see the rosé wines of Provence everywhere, as if to mark the start of summer.  Apparently the majority of the wines produced in this south-east corner of France are rosé, with plenty of sunshine and the mistral wind blowing in from the north to dry the vines and clear the air. The rosé colour is created when the red grapes are pressed and the skins left in contact with the juice for just a few hours, allowing the pale pink colour to develop.

Rose wine Heatheronhertravels.com

Rose wine

The Olives of Provence

Another typical food of Provence are the lovely plump olives that we found in so many varieties in Les Halles, the food market of Avignon. Of course there were other things there too;  fresh fish on ice, beautifully polished tomatoes, pink radishes, asparagus and frisée salads, the ready prepared traiteur dishes to buy and take home and macarons flavoured with kiwi or framboise. But the olives were the star, in red and green glistening piles, studded with red peppers or golden onions, stuffed with anchovies and pimentos.

Read more from this cruise:
Titan Blog: Burgundy and Provence – Heather on her travels
10 things to expect on a river cruise with Uniworld
Tasting the wines of Burgundy on our Uniworld Cruise

Les Halles in Avignon Heatheronhertravels.com

Olives on sale in Les Halles in Avignon

Another olive based speciality that you’ll find everywhere in Provence is tapenade, a paste made of finely chopped olives, both green and black. The olives are pulverised in a pestle and mortar, sometimes combined with anchovies or capers and served on rounds of baguette as a canapé with your glass of rosé. The tapenade is served in restaurants and bars, but you’ll also find jars that you can buy to eat at home, for a reminder of the sunshine of the Mediterranean and Provence.

Tapenade of Provence on sale in Avignon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Tapenade of Provence on sale in Avignon

Our river journey with Uniworld and Titan Travel ended at Avignon but there were so many delicious foods and wines of Provence, that we could happily have continued our exploration of the food of Southern France. I hope I’ve whetted your appetite for many more delicious food discoveries on your travels.

Have you visited Burgundy and Provence or the South of France and what were your culinary highlights?

Read more from this cruise:
Titan Blog: Burgundy and Provence – Heather on her travels
10 things to expect on a river cruise with Uniworld
Tasting the wines of Burgundy on our Uniworld Cruise

Travelling with Titan Travel and Uniworld Cruises

Uniworld offer boutique river cruising on the rivers of Europe as well as other worldwide destinations. Like their sister company, Red Carnation Hotel Collection, the Uniworld ships feature luxurious furnishings and artworks with outstanding, personalised service.

You can book your Uniworld Cruise through Titan Travel who specialise in escorted holidays and cruises. When you book through Titan Travel you enjoy their VIP Home Departure Service which is included in your holiday, to transfer from your home to your departure airport in one of Titan’s own vehicles.

Heather and Guy travelled on Uniworld’s Burgundy and Provence River Cruise through Titan Travel, on an 8 day cruise from Lyon to Avignon, from £2049 per person. As with all Uniworld cruises, the holiday is all-inclusive and covers meals and drinks on board, daily excursions, gratuities and airport transfers.

Thanks to Titan Travel and Uniworld for hosting our cruise.

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Read about the culinary delights of our Burgundy & Provence cruise with Uniworld

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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  • Reply
    July 1, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Hello Heather,
    Thanks for sharing, very great post.
    I love the rose wine of Provence. They look really very beautiful just like the flower in the garden.

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      July 3, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      @Corey – yes we enjoyed drinking the rose wine too!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    I’ve heard Burgundy has soe of the tastiest flavours of French cuisine. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to taste it!
    Luminita´s last blog post ..On the footsteps of the real Dracula – places to visit in Romania

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