Last week, Richard took to the road in France on a cheese tour. He saw some wonderful things while touring the food halls and fromageries in the south to pick up tips and inspiration. Here’s his account of the journey.
So, here we are. Autumn in the Alps and amongst the great cheeses of Haut Savoie. Comte, Gruyere, Tomme and Reblochon reign supreme here.
Our trip actually started on the previous Saturday with a nourishing Soupe de Paysenne and crusty bread at Brasserie Josephine in Chamonix town centre followed by a run to Geneva to get a feel of the city and its food, and we ended up in the most fantastic covered market on Boulevard Helvetique with a wealth of offerings.
Monday morning, and after a disorganised start we finally made it over the pass and down onto the floodplains that surround Sallanches. We were late, but in no hurry. It is lunchtime in France. Tools down. Go find somewhere to eat. So we ended up in the sunshine in the town’s square. I chose a mushroom ravioli.
On the Autoroute
And so the journey really sets out and we are on the Autoroute heading back past Geneva and on down to the foodie city of Lyon, on the Rhone and when we arrive we are not disappointed – beautifully laid out and with a ‘mini-Paris’ feel about it – and the more we explore, the more it feels like Paris – Place de la Republique, Place de la Concorde and so on. So did some research and discovered that Haussmann did indeed design both cities.
After a circuit of the city in the morning uncovering les affineurs de Lyon we then leap-frogged our way south again, through Valence and then to the beautiful Orange with history dating as far back as the 11th century.
We reluctantly left the sunny square of Orange a little later than planned, and drove down to a B&B on the outskirts of the sleepy market town of St.Remy de Provence.
Early start and off to St.Remy de Provence market – a feast for the senses!
The cheese tour continued with the long haul to Bordeaux, with its beautiful architecture and pedestrianised streets.
Then to Poitiers, a city which began to grow after the Roman conquest in the first century BC and boasts the ruins of a vast Roman amphitheatre.
And so our French mission had ended and it was time to jump on the boat back to the ‘cats and dogs’ in England. It was an education all round and a wonderful time.