So, as I was saying, I was assigned Stage 7- Tournus and Station des Rousses stops which are situated in Burgundy, which I was pretty damn chuffed about. I love French food and although I am not particularly knowledgeable about the specific regions, I do have a little bit of a clue about Burgundy.
I'd better stop here and say, if you found this blog post thinking it was some sports mad blog actually about the Tour de France Race, sorry! That map is about as much information I am going to include about the actual race. You had better stop reading now (or keep reading if you love food too!). This blog post is entirely dedicated to the food of the region, which I might add, is quite special. It was rather hard to localise the cuisine to the smaller departments, because most of the good websites are in French and my french doesn't extend that far- but I'm trying. I have a little bit of info on the specific destinations Stage 7 - Starting in Tournus and travelling through to the destination of Station des Rousses and have included some more detailed info down the bottom of the post.
Kir Royale: If you too, are a bit of a cocktail connoisseur, you may have heard of the Kir (cassis and wine) and the Kir Royale (cassis and champagne) a popular cocktail available on many well populated cocktail lists around the world. Cassis is a local blackcurrant liquer. You may not know that the Kir Royale is named after the French Catholic priest Canon Felix Kir who was a Burgundian hero, a Resistance fighter and who later became the mayor of Dijon for a period spanning over three decades. Kir became well known for serving this particular drink, and one of the reasons cited for him loving it so much was because it boasted local ingredients, something he was passionate about promoting. Yay Kir, he sounded like a pretty cool guy, focusing on local ingredients!
Well known dishes and a couple of things you might like to know about them
Boeuf Bourguignon: Most of you will have heard of Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic Burgundian dish. This dish uses the regions beautiful beef and red wine to create a spectacularly tasty and hearty dish. Along side the beef and red wine, the dish usually includes mushrooms, onion, bacon, loads of garlic and herbs. Bourguignon is an example of a dish that was traditionally a peasant dish.
Jambon Persillé: Local specialty rarely found outside the province. Consists of chunks of ham in a jellied broth. Served cold.
Escargot: Snails are so very Burgundian and can be served in shell, in a ceramic dish, on puff pastry- pretty much however you like. The key is loads of garlic, shallots and butter.
Ouerfs en Meurette: A little bit odd concept but yummy all the same- poached eggs in red wine sauce- another Burgundian wonder.
Wine: The Burgundy region lies a couple of hundred miles east and north of Bordeaux. It covers a large area, the vineyards running in a long, thin line from Auxerre in the north to Lyon in the south. The climate is continental, with cold winters, hot summers but plenty of rain. It is easiest to think of Burgundy in terms of its distinct regions. Running from north to south, these are:
||Chablis by far the most northerly of Burgundy's regions, known exclusively for dry white wines.
The Côte de Nuits home of the great red Burgundies. Some white is produced too, but the reds are the region's glory.
The Côte de Beaune known for both red and white wines, but the greatest white Burgundies (other than Chablis) are from here.
The Côte Chalonnaise generally regarded as a lesser district. It still produces some extremely fine wines, both red and white.
The Mâconnais the southern limit of Burgundy. Wines tend to be cheaper and made for drinking young but can be excellent value.
Beaujolais (not shown) is quite a bit further south. Though not part of Burgundy, it is usually included when we talk about the region.
(information taken from http://www.wine-pages.com/resources/burgexp.htm)
Dijon, The town that really does Cut the Mustard: You have all heard of Dijon mustard right? Well Dijon is also the cosmopolition capital of Burgundy. Dijon mustard was, funnily enough, created in Dijon, France. I could go on for hours about this greyey yellowowy sharp condiment. It's one of my favourites. Dijon style mustard can be made all over the world as long as it follows the original recipe established in Dijon- this is another one of the protected food types similar to reggiano parmigiano or champagne. For a full history on Dijon mustard, visit this site, there's more info there than I could squeeze into this one little post!~
Michelin Starred Restaurants: There are 26 Michelin Starred restaurants in Burgundy! As you can see, a region that takes its food very seriously. You can find a full list of them here . There is also a Michelin Starred Restaurant in Tournus called Aux Terrrasses which specialises in rich and authentic local cuisine.
"Coq is the French word for "cock" (as in Rooster, or male chicken). Vin is French for "wine" and "au" is French for "of the". Consequently, "Coq au Vin" literally translates as "Cock of the wine". However, as literal translations are not that meaningful, a better translation would be "Cock cooked with wine".
Until the 20th century it was common for rural families to have some chickens (for eggs and meat) and a rooster. The rooster would be kept until it was too old to perform its duties, at which time it would be killed and eaten. However, by this time the meat would be hard and stringy, so cooking it slowly in wine would tend to soften the meat and make it more edible. As such, the recipe has historically been considered "peasant food" or "poor people's food" as the well-off would be able to afford a better cut of meat which would not require slow cooking in wine in order to be edible.
In modern times, few people would choose to eat an old cock. Consequently, most modern versions use a chicken instead of a cock. As such, if one was being exact, the recipe would be called "Poule au Vin" (chicken cooked in wine). However, the old name "coq au vin" is always used, even if a chicken is substituted for the traditional cock" (Information from WorldWidefood.com)
Obviously, I had to use chicken- and had to be even more resourceful, as when I went to the butcher late on a Sunday morning, all they had left was chicken drumsticks. Chicken drumsticks... sigh. I NEVER use chicken drumsticks- but whatever.. I needed to get this into the slow cooker so drummies it was- maybe not all that authentic, but they do use all parts of the chicken so I guess that includes drumsticks!
There are millions of recipes for Coq Au Vin all over the place - I took mine from a couple of sources, a basic french cookbook I found from the 1960's and also Gourmet Traveller. I also changed the recipe a little bit so that I could put everything in the slow cooker. You can tweak things here and there to suit your tastes but make sure the base elements stay the same if you wish to reamin true to the dish.
Coq au vin
2 tbsp olive oil
90 gm butter, coarsely chopped at room temperature
1.6 kg free-range chicken, jointed ( I used less as it was only for two people)
150 gm piece of pancetta, cut into 1 cm pieces ( I used bacon- I think it gives a heartier flavour)
12 small pickling onions ( I used larger onions as I forgot to get pickling onions)
125 ml (½ cup) brandy, warmed
750 ml (3 cups) Red Wine ( I used about half this amount and think that worked well)
500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
3 parsley stalks
2 fresh bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 small heads garlic, halved lengthways
1 tbsp plain flour
200 gm mixed small mushrooms such as pine, Swiss brown and button, trimmed
¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
I also added eschallots into the mix as I love the flavour they bring to a dish.
I’m going to leave in the GT recipe, as it is very thorough, I completed these steps in a bit of a different order and then added my dish to a slow cooker on low heat for 8 hours instead of placing in the oven. I also placed all the herbs and sauce in the slow cooker so the meat would have a long time to bring in their flavours.
1 Preheat oven to 160C. Heat oil and 20gm butter in a large casserole over medium-high heat, add chicken pieces and cook for 10 minutes, turning until golden, then transfer to a plate and keep warm. Add pancetta and onions and cook for 5 minutes or until golden, drain off excess fat. Return chicken to pan, pour over brandy and ignite with a long match. When flames are extinguished, add wine, stock, herbs and garlic and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and place in oven for 1 hour or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Transfer chicken, onions and pancetta to a warm dish, cover with foil and keep warm.
2 Strain cooking liquid through a fine sieve, discarding herbs and garlic. Heat sauce in clean casserole over medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced to 2 cups. Combine flour and 20gm butter into a paste, whisk into sauce and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
3 Meanwhile, heat 50gm butter in a frying pan over medium heat, add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes or until golden, season to taste and set aside.
4 To serve, return chicken, pancetta, onions and mushrooms to sauce and cook for 5 minutes, turning to coat and warm through. Serve chicken and sauce scattered with parsley, with mashed potato on the side.
Sorry the photos are really bad- but you get the idea right? P.s I didn't take photos of each step- so the photos are more like a progress report rather than a corresponding account.
I love French food, and I'm really happy to have been a part of Barb's Food Blogging Project. Burgundy is like a gourmands dream destination. I hope to get there one day to sample all their fabulous produce. Burgundy is, without a doubt, a culinary wonderland. I am heading out tonight and may even try a Kir Royale if I can get my hands on one. I'm totally interested to see what the other bloggers uncover about their regions, as I know France has so much wonderful food, steeped in history.
To see what wonders Station des Rousses - Morzine Avoriaz holds gastronomically, head over to Reena's blog- Coconut Raita tomorrow for Stage 8
Nestled in a green setting, between the River Saône and the Monts du Mâconnais, Tournus is the gateway to South Burgundy.
Situated 100 km north of Lyon and to the south of Dijon, it enjoys a privileged location on the main Paris-Marseille route as well as a rich cultural heritage. For example, Saint-Philibert Abbey (9th and 11th centuries) which has retained almost all of its conventual buildings (the church, the crypt, the cloisters, etc.), as well as the refectory and the monks' cellar, which are now used for shows and exhibitions. Not forgetting the Hôtel-Dieu (hospital, 17th and 18th centuries), classified as a historic monument and which houses two museums: the hospital museum, including a magnificent apothecary, and the Greuze museum, devoted to the fine arts, with a particular focus on the painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze who was born in Tournus in 1725.
Like any self-respecting town in the Burgundy region, Tournus also has a high-quality vineyard with the Macon appellation and is renowned for its gastronomy, with several Michelin starred restaurants. A wealth of attractions that make Tournus an essential place to visit."
The French-Swiss resort of Les Rousses (6,300 inhabitants), situated at the heart of the Haut Jura Regional National Park in the Franche-Comté area of France, offers the ideal altitude for relaxing holidays in a peaceful and protected natural setting. Used by the French teams to prepare for cross-country skiing events, the resort is the birthplace of Jason Lamy-Chappuis, the combined cross-country ski champion at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. It is also known all over the world for the famous Transjurassienne event (76 km of cross-country skiing).
In summer, Les Rousses offers a wide range of activities for all the family: hiking, mountain biking, swimming in the two lakes, sailing, canyoning, golf, ice skating, horse riding, adventure trail in the underground passages of Les Rousses Fort.
In winter, all activities revolve around snow: downhill skiing (40 lifts), cross-country skiing (220 groomed kms), snowshoe trails and footpaths, dog sleighing, tobogganing, biathlon, kite-surfing, ski joëring.