Tuesday 25 June 2013

Champagne: Epernay and Reims

Found myself chocolate fondant!  ;)
We even found a little french friend... and had a bit too much fun with him after one too many drinks!

The Champagne trip went better than I expected, although its a long journey! The Eurotunnel is the quickest part of it, it only takes a quick 35 minutes from leaving UK to entering France. The drive itself from Calais to Epernay in the Champagne region took us around 3.5 hours. When we drove off the Eurotunnel the weather was absolutely awful, we wondered where on earth we had arrived to! It was torrential rain, thunder and lightening so we probably lost a bit of time due to the driving conditions. The storm eventually passed and we picked up on some time and surprisingly when we reached Epernay it was absolutely beautiful, the sun was shining and it was perfect conditions to start tasting champagne!

We spent a day and a half in Epernay before we drove on to Reims (apparently pronounced 'rance' according to a French woman we met at a winery in Ay) we made a few stops for tastings along the way before we reached Reims. 

I definitely preferred Epernay to Reims, Epernay was a very pretty town and I would have liked to have spent more time there. We also went to a Michelin restaurant in Epernay La Grillade Gourmande which was lovely.

We went to the champagne caves at Moët et Chandon in Epernay, which was a good experience. I would recommend doing at least one of the caves for the big champagne houses (we ended up doing two in total but for me one was enough). The other caves visit we did was at Mumm in Reims.

It was good to taste the champagnes and get an idea of what you prefer, especially for me as I am not a big drinker but I do enjoy champagne. It was insightful because you discover a lot more about the process behind the champagne houses and actually realise a lot more goes into it than you probably first thought. One of my favourite parts of the journey was stopping at a small independent champagne house that was this little thing in the middle of all the fields of vines, infact I think the champagne from there is one of my favourites.

We bought back quite a few cases so I am looking forward to trying them, we even popped open a bottle when we got home!

Next stop... Napa?

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