Colmar & Epernay, France: June 22-June 24, 2011
Miguel and I were headed north to the famous Champagne region. This area is peppered with small towns known for their champagne, desserts and local fromageries. We were excited to view the vineyards, learn about the specific process of producing champagne, drink REAL bubbly, and stuff our faces with a variety of fresh French cheeses.
To add to my excitement I was going to be able to see one of my dearest friends from childhood, Andrea Thorton. Andrea and her family currently reside in Germany and she was willing to make a 5-hour drive to join us for dinner. I jumped at the opportunity and was thrilled Andrea was willing to be so generous with her time…she is a wife and mother of three! Even though Andrea and I hadn’t seen each other in 10 years, we continued right were we left off! We didn’t miss a beat. She looked amazing and just how I had remembered her. Thank you Andrea….seeing you was a highlight!!!
|"Old" Colmar...felt like we were in Germany|
|Cheers to great friendships!|
|Colmar's famous son, Frederic Bartholdi architect of the Statue of Liberty|
|Sunflower fields for my mom!|
In Epernay and the surrounding areas are the famed vineyards that produce local and internationally distributed champagnes. Many of the smaller production sites only supply France with their bubbly beverage. We got the chance to visit Dom Perignon’s tomb, tour vineyards, and visit the cellar of Moet and Chandon/Dom Perignon. During our cellar tour we learned why the cost associated with the drink is so high. Champagne is produced using 3 kinds of high quality grapes grown only in this region. The Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grapes are used to give the specific color, fragrance, and taste. The grapes are hand picked and harvested once a year. The actual production process is VERY specific and takes years to complete. After all of the romancing of the product I wanted a bottle. I was told the most economic way to purchase champagne, specifically Dom Perignon, was to buy a Magnum sized bottle. On average (depending on the age of the D.P.) the cost is $8000. I laughed and said, "No, Thank You!"
|Tomb of the famous monk, Dom Perignon, who accidentally invented his world renowned drink|
|Interior of the church|
|I loved this lazy dog....he had too much champagne.|
|Enjoying some Champagne in Champagne|
|The gorgeous vineyards|
|Home of Moet & Chandon and Dom Perignon|
|There are over 36 KM of cellars!|
|Finally found a bottle big enough!|
|Aging Magnums of Dom Perignon|
|Inside an amazing fromagerie|
Not only did we truly enjoy our cheesy treats, but it was also a very cost effective way to eat. On average we spent $7 on cheese and $1 on baguettes. We loved this budget friendly meal plan because our time in France was getting so expensive. After the ridiculous high cost of toll roads (we spent over $350) and $9/gallon on gasoline…we were thrilled to find something delicious and affordable!
All in all, our visit was worthwhile and delicious! We ate and drank our way through Northern France. It was fun, educational, and truly divine. Northern France is a great area to explore the culture through your stomach! I would recommend it to any food-loving traveler! Bon Appétit!