On the second day of S.’ stay in Lyon, we went on a small roadtrip through the Beaujolais. Beaujolais is a wine region in France, close to Lyon. Definitely worth it to visit, with the beautiful views – and good wine ;-). I think now in fall the views are the best. The vineyards are beautifully coloured, yellow, orange, red & green and the sunshine makes the landscape glow. Perfect!
Our first stop was in Beaujeu, a beautiful village. They have a ‘caveau’ in which you can drink wine, ofcourse it is also possible to buy bottles or boxes of wine. We started off with a small glass of wine, S. went for the Beaujolais Villages and I took a cremant – sparkling wine. The Beaujolais Villages is very light and fruity, perfect for those who don’t like the strong red wines, less perfect who like to drink a red wine with a lot of body. Like S. and me. It was a good way to check on his preferences, a glass of wine costed not more than €1,20. We also got a plate of ‘saucisson’, just to make the experience complete.
Now we were ready for the real caves! But not before having lunch. Drinking without a good foundation is not very wise. To find a good restaurant was probably the hardest thing of the whole roadtrip. All the small villages do have some restaurants, but they are not all impressive. I guess the Beaujolais people prefer eating at home? One of the restaurants only served a few special meals like rabbit, another just served snacks and paninis, also not a great way to enjoy French food.
We ended up at a local restaurant. It looked very.. practical. Not much atmosphere, not too much nonsense. They didn’t hand out menu’s, we had to check on a board on the wall what we would like to have. There wasn’t a lot of choice, so I had to go for a plate of charcuterie, a pièce de boeuf -again- with barbecue sauce and tiramisu for dessert. I didn’t finish the last one, because I didn’t want to feel stuffed as the evening before.
After lunch we went to the Mont Brouilly, a 484m high mountain with a small chapel on top. The chapel was closed unfortunately, but views are amazing! From the top you can see the Mont Blanc, very, very far away. When driving up- or downhill there is a beautiful view on the vineyards at the bottom and on the Mont Brouilly. On top of the hill I got instructions from a friend to go to a vintager he knows. We had our first tasting session there. S. bought some boxes and we left again.
Second tasting session was at Chateau Ravatys. A beautiful chateau, where weddings are celebrated and wine is cultivated. A very friendly man was glad to open his doors for us and let us taste his wine. For every year he opened a new bottle and pre-tasted it himself. Then he poured us – and himself – a nice glass. S. and I like the Côte de Brouilly the most, wine that grows on the Mont Brouilly. Our first glass, a 2013, already tasted very good. But 2012 got even better. And 2011 was the best! This one also got a medal. We liked it so much, that we both wanted some bottles. And surprise, there was a promotion that started the day before we came.
Happy with our experience in the Beaujolais, we went back to Lyon for some drinks and maybe a small meal.
Luxury with a wink
We felt like doing something exclusive, so while walking through town, we were looking around to find an exclusive bar or restaurant. Something we would normally not even look at. Didn’t take us very long, one of the first places we saw looked pretty luxury, so we went in. Our first idea was just to have some drinks, we would probably have our meal at a ‘normal’ place afterwards. It’s clear that we went in without any expectations. I can tell you that we got really surprised! We couldn’t have picked a better place to spend our evening.
The menu was on a large piece of paper and had a few columns. Wines, main course, menu, desserts and some plates and snacks ‘to share’. My friend wanted to try some of these snacks, so we both ordered one thing from the card, with the idea to share. Judging from the appearance of the restaurant and staff, I was kind of afraid that the staff would disapprove if we would only order two drinks and two snacks instead of a whole meal, but that was definitely not the case. The snacks appeared to be the ‘master piece’. Some people ordered a main course, but we also saw lots of people order the bites with a glass of wine, like luxury tapas. We were definitely very pleased when ours arrived. We had the following:
[styled_list][list_item]Salmon Rillette with toast [/list_item][list_item]Smoked Cow Carpaccio, we expected this just to have a smoky taste. It was actually pretty special! We received a plate with glass on top. Within the glass there was real smoke, so that the meat really tasted like smoke![/list_item][list_item]Foie Gras Terrine with Bellota Bellota ham, a dish we only ordered for S. to try, he didn’t like it[/list_item][list_item]Gravelax Salmon[/list_item][list_item]Truffle Toasties, ordinary toasties, with truffle cheese and truffle ham. YUMMY! When I took a bit of the melting deliciousness in my mouth, I was in HEAVEN![/list_item][/styled_list]
It is clear that we didn’t need any meal after this. But seriously. The toasties were so good! And so funny. Who would think of something like that, serving the exclusive truffle in a way like this?
There were more funny details about the restaurant. They served a bottle of wine in something that looked like a laboratory instrument and other peoples’ wine got served in huge glasses. I totally loved the atmosphere, the drinks, the food. It also became very clear that you can go to Pléthore and Balthazar to do whatever you would like to do! Chatting with some tea, breakfast, go wild with 450 different wines, have some bites or dine out. I am sure that I will return here! At least for the truffle toasties.