The lecture session begins today. The lecture almost went on from nine in the morning to five in the evening but had two hours break in between for a lunch. Two hours break is needed in order to finish lunch because French people like to have a slow-paced meal so you can enjoy the food. I used that break to just explore Cluny and found fifteenth-century buildings called monastique buildings. The lecture was all about cheese history and production. There was a short session on the cultural history of France. The “Patrimoine” or heritage is very important to the French people. The wine and cheese are also a part of Patrimoine so they take a good care of it. Tomorrow is excursion day so boys were in charge of the sandwich ingredients for the food. Went to the supermarket called Carrefour, it was the biggest supermarket on the outskirts of Cluny. In return, grabbed a nice vegetarian taco with curry sauce from restaurant Karizma. That was all for the day.
One Day Excursion!!
Started the morning by hicking through Roche de Soultre. We walked around the village near limestone mountain. The mountain was covered with beautiful vineyards. There are three things you will find in every French village that is a church, war memorials, and vineyards. The villages also had a public washing cloth place called as ” Lavoire” which were used in middle ages but now are part of Patrimoine.
Next stop was the Winery and vineyards called “Perraud”. In France, each vineyard is given a domain name and perraud is a domain name. Small flowers had started to grow on vines. Learned about the farming and harvesting of the vines. Saw leaves of vines with spider bites. The most important concept in wine science is “Terroir”. Terroir consists of three things soil, climate, and winemaker. Terroir decides what kind of wine will be produced. The soil of the vineyards play a major role in the taste of wines and also help to give distinct flavors to the wine. The rootstock of the vines is the oldest part and never changing part of the vineyard. They can survive for 100 years. One interesting fact of the rootstock in France is that they all are American vines rootstock as they are resistance to the deadliest pest called phylloxera. Phylloxera is American pest brought in France in 1850’s through the introduction of American vines in France. After seeing vineyard, we went to see the winery. The winery was completely modernized had pneumatic extractors for grape juice. Learned the difference in red and white wine production. One difference is that in red wine the grape skin content are also extracted. The red wine juice can be extracted by crushing through legs as it was done in olden days. At domain Perraud, they used oak barrels for aging their wine. In France, there are laws that govern the production of cheese and wine. The regions in France are protected by AOP/AOC regulations. This region are protected regions and have to follow exact regulations of that regions in order to call a wine or cheese from that region. Domaine Perraud comes under Appellation Macon region and has to follow certain rules After going over the process of wine production, we tasted three wines produced at this winery.
Next Stop was the school named “Lycee de Davaye” which also has its own vineyards. The farming styles used here was organic and biodynamic and this approach is used to protect terroir. The aging process of wine was little different here as they left their wine for more time in oak barrels for around three months. The more time in oak barrels gave a nice oaky taste to wine and I really liked the wine produced at this domain.
Madam Margarethes Goat Farm & Dairy
Last stop before heading to the hostel. Saw nice little goat farm that had around twenty-five goats. The owner produced goat cheese every day and sell at the nearby towns and restaurant. We met the owner on Saturday at Cluny market as she was selling her cheese at the market. This was a local setting and tasted the cheese made by the owner. We tasted three different types of cheeses in terms how old is the cheese. I liked the fresh goat cheese as I am not a big fan of having moldy rind cheeses. Came back to the hostel around 6:30. I just had a nice cafe or expresso as I was quite full because of eating and drinking bread, cheese, and wine pretty much the whole day.
The morning went in lecture learning about the wine production. I had a nice vegetarian burger at a place called Quebec Burger and I wish if I get the same burger here in the USA. In afternoon, we were joined by Rutgers history professor Dr. Stephen Reinheirt. The history professor gave us an insight into medieval Cluny and The magnificent abbey of Cluny of which only one-fourth part is left. The abbey of Cluny was once the largest Church of the Christendom. During the French Revolution, The church was bought by the three businessmen from nearby city Macon. They bombarded it to get the stone to build the other buildings. We went to the museum of the abbey and inside the part of the abbey which was still left. In Museum we saw the digital film that gave us the idea of how big the abbey was. After learning about the abbey of Cluny, we went to see the fromage tower, funny thing was that it didn’t have any fromage or cheese. Visiting the fromage tower was the last thing on the schedule and we were free after that. We had dinner at a restaurant named “La Nation” and I had “Assiete Vegetarienne Chaude” basically a vegetarian dish with some rice, salad, and potatoes.