Friday, October 24, 2014

Gastronomy + Paris Luxury Sightseeing Bus = Bustronome

by Paige Donner

Move over foodtrucks, because France has re-envisioned the gourmet food-on-wheels concept and it's called the Bustronome.

Only in Paris!  This surely qualifies as one of those Only in Paris experiences.  The French, as you know, seem never to be satisfied with exhilarating experiences unless -and until - a healthy dose of good food and wine has been added to the mix.


This is one of those exhilarating experiences.

And a great big healthy dose of food and wine has been added to the mix here on Bustronome, the gourmet bus tour of the sacred sites of Paris that is sure to delight even the most reticent of foie gras lovers.



Bustronome Founders Jean-Christophe Fournier and Bertrand Mathieu
Bustronome Dinner menu (summer)
Bustronome - chef and team, Wow! Bravo!

Bustronome - ingenious way of keeping the glasses from slipping!
Bustronome fan (yours truly)
Bustromone Founders Jean-Christophe Fournier and Bertrand Mathieu

Founder Jean-Christophe Fournier and Head Waiter



The bus excursion starts off at the Etoile, aka the Arc de Triomphe. You can't miss the elegant big black bus that is parked there awaiting its passengers. The bottom level of the double-decker bus is outfitted as a chef's kitchen. The panoramic glass roof-covered and cozy upstairs seats about 40 comfortably in 4-top and 2-top tables, with an aisle inbetween both right and left window seatings.

Certainly the heros of the evening are the chef and his team, laboring below in a very coolly-equipped kitchen as the bus tools its way through the Parisian evening traffic. And the waiter who not only jogs up and down the flight of stairs all night long but carries trays of hot and heavy platters of this four-course meal.

The tables are customized with stylish plexiglass holders that keep your water and wine glasses in place. The dishes are weighted by their design, with your entrée coming in a covered stone pot, which keeps it from careening around on the table.

The evening is planned for about 2 1/2  hours but you should allow for up to four. The bus stops at some of the highlight points, such as in front of  the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame and at Place de la Concorde, allowing for passengers to get off and enjoy some fresh air (and smokers to get their fix).

Other iconic landmarks on the Bustronome's route include Musée d'Orsay, Opéra Garnier, Grand Palais, Saint-Michel and the Louvre.

AND they even have a lunch option, too. Prices for lunch (drinks included)  start at €85 pp. For that you have an appetizer of shrimp in coconut milk, garnished with mint leaves; duck foie gras served with tomato chutney; sea bass filet cooked with thyme, spring vegetables and soucis flowers; another main course of roasted veal served with baby carrots and mashed potatoes; then for the cheese course a selection of Rocamadour goat cheese drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with rosemarky and garnished with dried apricots; Dessert is a chocolate cake with a melted chocolate center served with Sacher cookies and Arabica coffee with little flavored cocoa bits.

Champagne aperitif and wine pairings are included.

AND you have Paris at your feet, all evening long... More INFO here.

Local Food And Wine


♥Chérie Du Vin



Friday, October 3, 2014

Cité du Champagne

by Paige Donner

Every year in September France celebrates their Heritage Days, called the Journées du Patrimoine. This year, I dared to take a preview peek at one of the few new fabulous developments in Champagne.

Champagne Collet, also known as COGEVI, was the first Co-operative established in Champagne. It remains a Top Ten champagne producer, globally.
Champagne Collet, also known as COGEVI, was the first Co-operative established in Champagne. It remains a Top Ten champagne producer, globally.

The oldest co-operative in Champagne, known now as Champagne Collet, located in the little village of Aÿ , has just finished its thorough renovations and construction of elaborate exhibit facilities that depict both the history of champagne in the region and their development as a Top Ten champagne producer.

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Champagne Collet est 1921 Ay Champagne photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_4496

This champagne house, Champagne Collet, was first established as a Co-operative in 1921. It is the oldest Co-operative in Champagne.

Champagne France autumn views photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_4557

View of Champagne de Castellane Tower in Epernay as you cross the bridge into Epernay coming from Ay, Champagne, France. This photo was taken just during the end of harvest 2014, at the golden hour. 

 All photos by Paige Donner copyright 2014 

The significance of its location in Ay, France, which sits just between Reims and Epernay, both dominant champagne producing towns in the region, is that it is the historic setting for the champagne growers' revolt that took place early in the 20th c. here.

Part of the fabulous exhibit that their facility now houses shows historical photographs and even an old (restored) film that gives accounts of this event. The event served to shape the history of the region and even the wine itself, which has so famously become known around the globe as champagne.

The cellars are also not to be missed. Their vintage cuvées are displayed with elegant accompaniment of local celebrated photographer's, Michel Jolyot's, photos. 

Since it is not yet officially open to the public, I am posting only a few photos here for now. When it does open its doors for public entry, it is definitely not to be missed. And the little town of Aÿ is one of the most beautiful little villages in Champagne. It is also home to Bollinger and Deutz among several other top-class champagnes.

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Umami, The 5th Taste, by Alexandre Bourdas

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SaQuaNa - Alexandre Bourdas
Alexandre Bourdas

Umami, the 5th taste seen by Alexandre Bourdas

SaQuaNa's chef was invited by chef Yoshiro Murata to share his knowledge on the umami in the book « Umami, the fifth taste ». A treatise on the subject, introduced by the major American chef Thomas Keller and the famous culinary history, technical and chemistry specialist Harold McGee. The book will be available in the United States and in Europe in September.

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SaQuaNa - Honfleur
SaQuaNa - Honfleur