Part Six: Burgundy

I am having trouble sleeping.  And in a fit, I tumbled out of  bed about 10 minutes ago, desperate for a hunk of bread smothered in creamy butter and dolloped with jam.  I guzzled it down with soda water and then beckoned Lola away from the yellow roses sitting in water on the windowsill lit by  amber street lamps along Wilson.  She’s eating the roses. I am no one to comment.  At this point, I would eat those too.

It may be the dead middle of night and although I have crumbs strewn about- all over me and all over the counter where I savagely pulled the bread apart and nearly slam-dunked it into the countertop butter- it is this type of fare ( and certainly not the way it was eaten) that reminds me of many meals across France last summer.  I have often asked myself why I have not finished my six part series about our travels as I have sadly neglected our favorite destination,  Burgundy.  I would love to say it was difficult to end the series because we were so very fond of our time there or that by writing this post I would be summoning a closure to the part of our lives that is just the two of us before we embarked on our growing family.  The truth is- I got lazy and as the months went on, Burgundy became more of a beautiful passing memory instead of something I could relinquish in words and images.  That was until tonight when this hunk of buttery and sweet goodness- for some reason or another -flooded my memory and filled my heart with the sights and tastes of Burgundy.

North to Burgundy

North to Burgundy

We left Cannes and I drove most of the way from the South of France north to Burgundy.  Tumbling in sunburnt and punch-drunk from our stay on the coast, I was immediately set at ease by the lush green hills rolling on  and into the sky from the highway, one folding into the other.   The air was cooler and easier to breathe.   It was clear from the onset that Burgundy was going to be the right way to end our travels- so much so that we cancelled our hotel in Paris and extended our stay in Burgundy by one night requiring us to drive in the middle of the night to make it to Charles De Gaulle for our flight home.   I turned to Matt to share in the moment only to find his head lobbying back and forth only to be interrupted by his mouth catching itself agape only to close and open again as he rocked back and forth with the motion of our car.  He needed sleep.  Burgundy had settled him into a listless nap.  We were in the right place. P1040767 We stayed in Beaune, a small town recommended by Matt’s boss, a professor at the university who has lived in France for many years.  Beaune is the epicenter of wine in Burgundy and some say the wine destination.  It is an ancient city, dating back to pre-Roman times, marked by medieval architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and business is officially and certifiably the growing and producing of wine.  Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the grapes most grown in the region, but you can also find Gamay and Aligote-  two of the more rustic varietals to their before mentioned big brother and sister.  Beaujolais and Chablis can also be found as they are technically part of the Burgundy region and south of Chablis is the Cote D’ Or where the Grand Cru vineyards reside.  This is just the tip of discovering Burgundy through wine.  There are regions upon regions based on terroir, soil, tradition and land.  We did our fair share of wine tasting, visiting caves(those are wine cellars to us) in the town center and moving on to Pommard.  We met an amazing wine maker who taught us traditional village songs and talked us through maps, bottles, and tastings that expanded our knowledge of the region and connected us to the people who are responsible for the beauty that is Burgundy. P1040762 P1040792 P1040801 In the center of Beaune, we stumbled upon what became one of our very favorite restaurants on our entire trip.  We did not follow much of the Lonely Planet suggestions for restaurants because I find them typically limiting and often unfullfilling no matter where we travel, however Beaune is small and we were quite hunrgy upon arrival and a quick go to was helpful.  We found ourselves at Le Bistro Bourguignon;  a quaint bistro filled with a mish mosh of eclectic and whimsical art work, exposed brick, and an advertised jazz night on the front door.  Friendly, warm, and serious about their food and wine.  Very serious- as we came to discover Burgundy’s focus is entirely about exquisite yet homestyle cooking accompanied by beautiful and approachable wine.   We ordered traditional dishes- beef bourgoginone and chicken in cream sauce with mushrooms.  Wine was recommended by the restaurant’s owner, Virgile whose family has operated the bistro for several years- in fact Le Bistro Bourguignon is the oldest wine bar in Burgundy.  The food, the wine, and the company were unpretentious and solid.  We loved it so much that we ate at the bistro the following night knowing  full well that this would be our last dinner in France.  We shared apertifs and chatted with Virgile at the bar, ordered Charolais beef burgers smothered in local Dijon mustard, and ate slowly and passionately savoring every fatty, mouth-watering piece – with a knife and fork of course.   By the end of dinner, Virgile was like an old friend to us.  He was even gracious enough to tape a Butter&Yolk business card to the bar…B&Y business card posted in the oldest wine bar in Burgundy? Win. And Virgile, if you are reading this, we cannot wait to visit again soon.  Thank you for making our last evenings in Beaune- and in Europe- truly remarkable.

Le Bistro Bourguignon

Le Bistro Bourguignon

Beef bourguignon

Beef bourguignon

Utter satisfaction after macaroons with yuza and fig and nougat glace

Utter satisfaction after macaroons with yuza and fig and nougat glace

Burgers at the bar

Burgers at the bar

P1040817

B&Y card in the bar!

P1040821

We filled the rest of our time in Beaune in a daydreamy state as we were ending a long journey that started in Amsterdam and brought us all the way from the chaos of Parisian streets to the humble cobblestone paths of Beaune.  As we moved together, hand in hand, we lingered in and out of local boutiques and bakeries sampling pate sandwiches, giant slabs of meringue, soft cheeses, and more wine of course.  We bought dark chocolate ice cream bars and sat in front of the town carousel.  We drank sexy wines in our budget hotel late into the night and looked forward to heading home yet marveled in our accomplishments in Europe.  For Matt and I, this was an important trip for it marked an adventure that him and I were taking on together.  We threw ourselves into unfamiliar situations in unfamiliar places only to more fully appreciate and discover our ever-growing love for each other.  It was- without a doubt- time to come home and try to bring life to a new soul that would symbolize our love for each other and be an integral part of the next adventures to come.  Indeed, we did just that.  And we welcome her nearly a year after our return from Europe.  Stay tuned for our newest adventure, Baby T, arriving this summer.  Until then, au revoir.

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