ah, eating in Burgundy! Can't be much better. Whether you go shopping and prepare dinner yourself or you go out to a restaurant this is the place to be. Traditional Burgundian cooking is rustic, in the most positive sense. Oeufs en Meurette, Jambon persillé and Boeuf Bourguignon are all well-known dishes. Then there are l'escargots, the snails, in various shapes and forms.
Eating out gives you a large variety of choices; traditional or modern, top of the line or more simple settings. One of my own favourites is Chez Guy by the mairie in the centre of Gevrey-Chambertin. Some years ago the style here was changed towards a more modern one, but the charm and cooking remain intact. Dining outside in the summertime is simply wonderful in this tranquil setting. This is also the only place I have managed to find Alain Burguet's lovely wines.
– This region is very lucky both when it comes to wine and when it comes to food, says Bénigne Joliet at Domaine de la Perrière in Fixin at the top of the Côte d'Or. We have so many good restaurants. Here in Fixin Chez Jeannette is a very good restaurant. Very friendly people and good food. But there is so much; there is a good restaurant in every village.
If you are a fan of well-made traditional cooking La Cuverie in Savigny-lès-Beaune is a great place to go. But if you are planning for Sunday lunch here, be sure to make a reservation.
Another place in the same style is La Crémaillère in Auxey-Duresses. The cuisine is traditional with regional specialities.
In Meursault, leaning even more towards the rustic, is Le Bouchon. As the name suggests this is a Lyon-style bistrot, but with a regional touch. The set menus are good value for money and wine is offered by the glass.
Across Burgundy there are a number of Michelin-starred restaurants – three with three stars, one with two stars and 21 with one star.
– Hostellerie des Clos is my favourite restaurant, explains Lyne Marchive at the well-reputed Chablis estate Domaine des Malandes. They have a very good relation between the food and the wine. They have a very good cellar; they have our Chablis "Tour du Roy". It is not snobbish at all.
– The people from Paris find this address wonderful because it is less expensive compared to the one-star restaurants in Paris. It is less expensive and probably better.
Benoît Droin at Domaine Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin in Chablis agrees.
– Hostellerie des Clos is the best, but it's not cheap. But there is also La Feuillette 132. It's not a very fine restaurant but it's good. The wine list is very good, with many different winegrowers from Chablis. In some restaurants you only have three or four domaines. At La Feuillette 132 you have perhaps 50.
– I also like the Laroche Wine Bar, he continues, even if it is a restaurant run by a domaine. The food is very good. The only problem is the wine. You only have Laroche's wines. The wine is good but you don't always want to drink Laroche.
François Mikulski at Domaine François Mikulski in Meursault adds a few good addresses.
Bissoh is located in Beaune, just outside the town walls on Rue du Faubourg St-Jacques, and is run by Mikihiko Sawahata.
Apart from Le Jardin des Remparts there are quite a few restaurants worth mentioning in Beaune. La Ciboulette on Rue Lorraine offers traditional cuisine at decent prices and a good wine list. The wine bar on Rue Monge – le Bistrot Bourguignon – is a great place for lunch and a bit further down the street is a good café/chocolaterie. Behind this, almost hidden on Rue Paradis, is P'tit Paradis. This restaurant is not much more than a hole in the wall, with a few tables outside.
Chantal and Michel Martin at Domaine Michel Martin in Chorey-lès-Beaune recommend Le Conty, run by their neighbours Isabelle and Laurent Parra, on Rue Ziem in Beaune.
– The restaurant has tables both out on the terrace and down in the vaults. Another favourite of ours is the Restaurant Simon in Flagey-Echézeaux.
– Le Conty is one of my favourite restaurants in the area, says Manoël Bouchet at the négociant Adamas.
Laurent Parra is a very nice chef. Then there is the Château de Gilly, a nice place next to Vougeot.
– I like to have a drink at the Hotel de la Poste in Beaune, he continues. The bar is very quiet, very peaceful. If you want a good wine selection from local producers, and a little bit of energy there is a small bar on Place Madeleine called Le Bistro des Cocottes. Most of the wine industry, the young part, go there – more of a roots approach. Then there is La Part des Anges, a restaurant on Rue d'Alsace in Beaune. Highend segment. Top domaines and wines. Excellent food, very good ambiance and service.
For several years we had the pleasure of going to Les Coquines in Ladoix-Serrigny. Located in the hamlet of Buisson it had a lovely atmosphere. In 2005 it changed hands and became La Buissonnière with Charlotte Boisseau-Berteloot in charge. We haven't had the opportunity yet to go there, but it should be interesting to see what it is like today.
– Le Chambolle-Musigny, run by Éric and Martine Claudel, here in Chambolle Musigny is a good restaurant, says Michel Digioia at Domaine Digioia-Royer. It is not haute cuisine, but it very good food. Then you have Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu, which is a great restaurant.
In Pommard, overlooking the main square, is the Café du Pont. Their terrace is perfect for a lazy afternoon with a cup of coffee or a lunch.
Right next to the mairie in Saint-Romain is the restaurant/hotel Les Roches, run by Séverine and Guillaume Crotet. With previous experience from Troisgros in Roanne, l'Espérance in Vézelay and the Gourmandin in Beaune Guillaume Crotet makes traditional Burgundian food with light modern touch. The tatin d'oreille de cochon à la sauge – tatin of pig's ears with sage sauce – is excellent. The wine list is like a who's-who-in-Saint-Romain, with bottles from every grower in the village. Just don't try to get any recommendations. It's a small village and Les Roches is the only restaurant, so no one is favoured.
If you are further down south, in the Côte Chalonnaise, Anne-Sophie Chanzy at Domaine Chanzy in Bouzeron has some recommendations.
– In Chagny you have the very famous Lameloise and in Chalon-sur-Saône you have Chez Jules and Au Coeur Fidèle.
Then of course there is the option of doing the cooking yourself. It gives you the opportunity to check out the local specialities as well as the markets and food stores.
The big market day in Beaune is Saturday. There is a smaller one on Wednesdays. On Saturdays the market stands fill both the market hall by the Hotel-Dieu and the square outside. It then stretches along the Avenue de la Republique all the way out to the ring road.
There are three large supermarkets in Beaune – E.Leclerc, Casino and Carrefour. There is also a Champion in Nuits-Saint-Georges. The E.Leclerc in Beaune, located at the northern end just by the motorway, is my favourite. It has a large fish and shellfish department and an even larger one for cheese.
If you are looking for cheese in particular Fromagerie Gaugry in Brochon is a good place to go. In the mornings you can watch the production here through large windows. The cheeses are then for sale in their shop, together with a large selection of other French cheeses and regional products.
Burgundy has a lot of cheeses to offer; the Epoisses being the most well-known. There are only three factories – Fromagerie Berthaut in Époisses, Fromagerie Germain in Chalancey and Fromagerie Gaugry in Brochon – and one farm – Ferme des Marronniers – making Époisses. It comes in two sizes – 95 to 115 mm in diameter and 165 to 190 mm in diameter. It has a reddish crust, with an inside that is light beige to white.
The Ami du Chambertin was created in 1950 by Raymond Gaugry. It is similar to the Époisses, washed in Marc de Bourgogne as well, and is one of my absolute favourites when it comes to cheese.
Another cheese worth seeking out is the Citeaux, made by the monks at the Abbaye de Cîteaux 14 kilometres east of Nuits-Saint-Georges.
The list of burgundian cheeses continues with Soumaintrain, Le Petit Vougeot, Aisy Cendré, Chaource, Charolais, Pourly, Bouton de Culotte, Mâconnais, Grand Vatel and Delice de Pommard (created by Alain Hess in Beaune).
Wine is of course the biggest among Burgundy's regional products. But despite being one of the big names internationally Burgundy only accounts for 0.5 percent of the wine production globally.
Many wine growers also produce Crème de Cassis, the blackcurrant liqueur mixed with aligoté to make the aperetif Kir. It is often the slightly cooler locations up in the Hautes-Côtes that are used to grow the blackcurrant. In Nuits-Saint-Georges there is a whole museum dedicated to these little black berries – Le Cassissium. Not as well-known, but almost as common in Burgundy are the Crème de Framboise (raspberries) and the Crème de Mûre (blackberries).
It was already back in the 14th century that Burgundy made mustard one of its specialities. After World War II there were around 60 mustard manufacturers in France. Since then the number has shrunk. Today there are only six left. In Burgundy there is Maille in Dijon and Fallot in Beaune. The mustard comes in a variety of flavours. Apart from the classic ones I have a soft spot for both the cassis and the tarragon mustard.
© 2013 Ola Bergman