Any trip through any region of France is likely to be a culinary adventure. It is a country in which the national cuisine is like a religion that everyone believes in and delicious home-cooked food can be found in even the humblest brasserie. But while France is generally thought of as the home of excellent cuisine, it does not mean that each department doesn’t have its own unique taste and flavour. From the crepes of the north to the fish stews of the south, every region has its own proud culinary traditions. |
One of the great pleasures of taking a leisurely French barge cruise through a specific region of the country is the chance to immerse yourself in the cuisine of the district and to get to know the unique flavours, ingredients and preparations used in the local food.
The Local Ingredients of Bordeaux
The first thing you’ll notice on your French barge cruise through the beautiful countryside of Bordeaux is the access to a range of wonderful fresh, local ingredients. A landscape which includes wide stretches of fields given over to farming, the rivers which wind their way across the region, and the Atlantic coast which marks its border all contribute to the wonderful dishes of Bordeaux. From fresh Atlantic oysters and the local delicacy of lamprey to the wild cèpes mushrooms found in its woodlands and forests, the natural environment of Bordeaux is reflected in its cuisine.
As well as the food grown on the land, you’ll find a range of livestock is reared in this fertile environment. Particularly famous in the region are the milk-fed baby lambs of Pauillac and the sheep whose milk is used to make a famous local delicacy: Roquefort cheese. Of course it is the wine, especially Cognac and Armagnac, that is the most famous export of the region; unsurprisingly, all of them compliment the delicious local cuisine.
Dishes to Savour
On a European Waterways French barge cruise your on-board chef will use many of these fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create some of the excellent dishes served during your journey. Delicacies including pâté de fois gras, lamb with truffles, and cèpes prepared with breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley and ham, may all find their way to the fine-dining table. Our chefs believe in the traditional approach to French regional cuisine – a local aperitif is served before meals, and a feast of three courses begin with a delicate amuse bouche to literally get your gastric juices flowing.
There are few better ways to end a meal in Bordeaux than with a glass of local Cognac or Armagnac to aid digestion and finish off the evening’s delights. Whether you choose to enjoy it on the deck of your barge watching the slow meandering of the water below you, or in the company of friends in the elegant dining room, every meal will feel like a feast to remember. In France food is a way of life and there is nowhere better to enjoy the relaxing, indulgent approach to excellent cuisine than on a French barge cruise through beautiful Bordeaux.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury French barge cruise itineraries, and barge cruises to other great destinations. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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