Saturday, 21 May 2016

Eating your way through the vineyards

In the recent past we have participated twice in the Balade Gourmande Ladoix (21), somewhere near Beaune in the Côte d'Or.

Ladoix - the start
A village not far from us, where we have friends, organised each year a bustrip to Ladoix, and we could join them. The walk of approx. 5 km was set out through the numerous vineyards around there, with at every stop on the way one course of a full set lunch. Excellent first class wines from various caves in the area flowed freely with each course.

Ladoix - the walk
The vineyards are beautifully green at that time of year, the food was excellent, the wine even more excellent, and when the weather does not play any dirty tricks the day will be an unforgettable one. But of course there is a price tag attached to something like this: in 2016 the inscription costs € 65 pp, and the bus fare comes on top of that.

Ladoix - a stop
The menu (Ladoix 2016):
Kir avec gougères
Duo de persillé & paté en croûte de canard, son confit d'oignons & petites tomates accompagnés d'un Bourgogne aligoté
Rillette de sandre & petits légumes, mousse d'écrevisse accompagnés d'un Ladoix Blanc 1er Cru
Brochette de joue de boeuf & pommes fondantes à la bourguignonne accompagnées d'un Corton Grand Cru dégusté en son terroir
Boîte de fromages affinés et découverte des Ladoix & des Ladoix 1er Cru
Dessert & Crémant de Bourgogne

Ladoix - getting your wine
The price was the main reason why the village started looking out for something similar, but cheaper. And that turned out to be the Marche Gourmande in Rully (71), 6 to 8 km, end of April. Inscription here was only € 25 pp, without bus fare, and there was an optional visit to the Rully Château for € 8.00.

Rully - château
The menu (Rully 2016):
Kir avec gougères
Terrine de noix de Saint-Jacques, tartare de tomate, salade
Jambon braisé petits légumes, sauce forestière, pommes rissolées aux herbes et échalotes
tarte amandine & Crémant de Bourgogne

Rully - the landscape
Comparing two similar events is almost a must, so here we go. A price / quality comparison makes Ladoix expensive and excellent, and Rully cheap and good. Overall however Ladoix comes out as the big winner, on all points.
Quality: Ladoix is considerably better, certainly the wines on offer.

Rully - a stop
Time of year: Ladoix leads again; early July everything is green, end of April all vines are still bare. Besides the chances on a nice warm day are considerably higher in July than in April.
Ambiance: the walk in Ladoix is entirely going through vineyards, the one in Rully leads for a big part through housing in villages and hamlets. Rully has 4 timeslots, for approx. 30 persons per group.

Rully - cheese platter
In our case "our" village was divided into two groups of 25 each, leaving the starting point with over half an hour interval. In Ladoix they have a lot more timeslots, and for bigger groups. Rully accommodates approx. 120 people, Ladoix well over 3000. And this massive turnout makes the whole event more festive; it is not over-crowded but makes it more like a major happening compared to a walk for a handful friends and acquaintances around Rully. The pictures of both events speak for themselves.

Rully - one of the wines
For me the conclusion is clear: even though Rully offers quite a nice day out at a very reasonable price, I would choose for Ladoix any time, despite the steep price. Ultimately the ambiance is certainly worth something!

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Saturday, 7 May 2016

Swan Lake

Recently my eye was caught by an announcement in our local paper of the ballet "Swan Lake" performed by dancers and orchestra of the National Opera of Russia in the Parc des Expositions of Chalon-sur-Saône.

Poster (internet)
That is a ballet we know quite well, which we have seen a number of times in the past at various locations, and which we certainly would not mind to see again. At the bottom of the article there was a phone number given: so what would stop us? The phone number appeared to belong to the local Tourist Office, where they could only tell us that the tickets were most likely for sale at the Supermarkets. At the "Ballet" section of your local Coop? We did not think so, and decided to search the internet.

Parc des Expositions - Chalon-sur-Saône
It turned out to be possible to buy on-line tickets which we could print out ourselves, so within no time we were geared up for an old fashioned outing. However, the outing was not as old fashioned (plush chairs, a foyer) as we thought it would be. The Parc des Expositions appeared to be a big hall, specially built for fairs and the like (in hindsight the name could have been a give-away, duh….).

Stange and seats for the orchestra
For this show the hall had been transformed into a theatre, with a stage, places for the orchestra and a big number of uncomfortable seats at ground level in front of the stage and a number of seats, amphitheatre-wise, at the back of the hall. One had either a reasonable view on the stage from far away, or a good view on what was happening on stage hoping that those sitting in front of you were midgets or toddlers. We found out that we had chosen the latter option, however without a no-dwarf no-toddler guarantee…

The seats
Very un-French the show started spot on time (20h05), and that was a novelty for us. Photographing and filming was strictly forbidden, and so were switched on mobiles. They would interfere with the microphones (an argument I had never heard before, however, it worked!). The pictures of the ballet in this blog were nicked from the internet.

Swan Lake (internet)
Despite the venue and the seating arrangement the evening was worth its while. The orchestra played very good, and the dancers (although not Bolshoi class) gave an excellent show. In the end it worked out quite well; with a big classical ballet like this, the draw-back (wringing your neck in all sort of bends to see something) sound much more dramatic than it really was.

Swan Lake (internet)
Certainly in scenes with big quantities of dancers on stage, each spectator could focus on a spot on the stage where he or she had a good view on what was happening. And now we are looking out for the Nutcracker…..

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