I am back and really enjoying what Cluny has to offer. More excursions are on the way as the weekend is coming nearby.
The lecture was scheduled for the whole day. Learned about rennet, chymosin and in the end, learned about the Burgundy region in which Cluny was situated. Renneting helps in speeding up the fermentation of milk in order to produce milk. Rennet is derived from the stomach of the young calf. Chymosin is the enzyme present in rennet that cleaves tails from casein protein and helps in better coagulation and hence speeding up the curd formation. In Burgundy region there mainly two grape varieties Pinot Noir for red wine and Chardonnay for White wine are used. In Burgundy region, there is very little mixing of grape varietals in the production of wine. This is the special aspect of the wines from Burgundy region. In evening went to the Cellier de Abbaye shop where we had our wine tasting to select wine for my presentations. I settled on wine from Loire valley region from Domaine de la Butte and also grabbed Fentimas ginger beer which was delicious. Italian restaurant ” Le Forum” was the choice for the dinner and had salad pizza and tiramisu for the dessert.
The morning session was all lecture on corked wine and preservation method. During the break went to the laundry and that kind of made me late to the scheduled visit to the Equestrian Center- Le Haras National but only 15 minutes so it was okay. It is a horse stable and preparatory center for the horse racing and other horse shows. Learned about what part horses played in the French history. There were many different horses like Persian, American, French horses. The horse show was amazing and the trainer knew horses when they were just born. The horses just follow the order by the sound. They stretch, ran, sat, and did everything the trainer said. The evening was free to explore. There was the soccer match between France and Italy. I and my friend went to the nearby dorm where students were seeing a match and the vibe so different than dorm in America. France won that match and dorm got even more joyful that night
First stop of the day was at Gaugry Fromagerie. It is a dairy that only produced few particular kinds of cheese. Their main cheese was epoisse. Fun fact: 250g of epoisse needs two liters of milk. The epoisse is an AOP/AOC cheese which means they are set rules to need to be followed to call cheese as epoisse. They were using milk from three cow breeds Brune, Simmental, and Mongteliarde. The next place was the Chateau of Close de Vougeot. There were 81 wine growers in that vineyard. Horses were used to plow the vineyards. The Renaissance room and dining room were the beautiful rooms. After having the group lunch in the park the last stop was the Dijon City where we would be staying for one night. So the dijon mustard comes from Dijon city never knew that and also bought nice small dijon mustard jars. We went for the tour of the Dijon city with our professors. We saw palaces built by dukes of Burgundy. That was the favorite part of the Dijon city because of its grand look and city square. We saw the enclosed market of dijon city. One street reminded me of Diagon Alley in Harry Potter series because of the houses on that street. That makes me wonder that France is not all Paris but there are other beautiful cities and towns to see. Had a not so good dinner however but one bad experience is okay. After the dinner went straight to the hotel and had a nice sleep because had to wake up early than normal.
The day started with having nice group breakfast. I had a yummy chocolate croissant and not to forget the cafe. French cafe is what I crave for all the time. We then headed to see Church of Notre Dame and the church had a very nice organ. Next Stop was the Salins-le-Bains where salt was derived from underground salt wells. The water from the wells had more salt content than the DEAD SEA. We tested the water and mouth became super dry. The underground salt wells were state of the art of their time. The production of salt has now stopped and the place is open for tourist to explore the industrial patrimoine of France. The last but most awaited visit of Loius Pasteur house in the village of Arbois. First, we went to the vineyard of the Loius Pasteur from where he used to make his wines for research on how to make stop wine from going bad. From their the game of signs begins and who will spot most signs of Loius Pasteur will get some token. We reached the village of Arbois and saw a grand statue of Louis Pasteur and it was very informative because it had pictures describing his major discoveries. Who knew rabies vaccine was the discovery of Loius Pasteur. It was the summer home of Loius Pasteur, where he would come during summer from Paris. He built laboratory right into his home so his research does not stop. He was a workaholic man and his wife Marrie Pasteur was a supporter of his work. He was a germophobe as it was very little known about the microbes. His laboratory is still intact with a clear label of the wine samples. This why clear labeling is so important. Swan neck flask is still in the laboratory which helped Pasteur to break the notion of spontaneous generation and it was an important discovery in the field of microbiology. Fun Fact: Loius Pasteur did come to learn that boiling kills the microbes but it was the wine that he boiled not milk. The hotel was a couple of block from the house. The hotel was run by a family and had a nice living room space where people can sit together and have a nice conversation. I really liked the Onion Soup, not French Onion Soup as you would found in Applebees. Dessert was also delicious, an ice cream with cherries dipped in liquor. After all, had a nice day and so Bonne Nuit.
Last day of the weekend trip but it is Monday. Departed the Abrbois for Morbier the Little town with great cheese called “Morbier”. Visited the fruitier de Grande Riviere. It a cheese cooperative where farmers bring their milk and The owner of the cooperative is responsible for producing the cheese. I really like the cheese diaries in France as you can see everything that is going at each step through glass walls. First saw the short film which had information on what this dairy does every day that is making fromage. Production of cheese called ” Comte” was being carried out. It is a hard cheese and comes in a big hard wheel-shaped. We saw from steps from adding a starter culture to cutting the curd. Then we went to see the storage or aging room. Comte cheese needs to be aged for a minimum of four months. The storage area smelled like ammonia due to the breaking down of amino acid. Salting is required during aging so there was a robot who would do salting. Finally, I liked one cheese and that is Comte. They had a vacuum packing so bought Comte cheese to bring back home as I can only bring this cheese back home to the USA. Next place was the Abbey and church of the Beaume Les Messieurs. It is the mother abbey of Cluny. Abbot Berno and 6 monks set out in the year 910 to found a new Abbey of Cluny. But Cluny of Abbey gained more power as time went by and the abbey of Baume became less recognized. Lunch was at the nicest place we could imagine and it was the nice waterfalls in the valley of Baume. The waterfall was truly amazing. The lunch was bread, cheese, wine and my favorite hollandaise sauce. After lunch went up of the waterfalls and enjoyed the view for a while and left for the last stop of the day. The last place was the wine cooperative called ” vitivole de Voiteur” where we got details on the special aspects of the wine from Jura region. The wine from Chateau Chalon that we tasted was the costliest wine of all the wines we tasted. They also had a wine that I wanted which was the wine made from dried grapes but not raisins. It was called vine de Paille form Jura region. Returned to Cluny around six p.m.. Relaxed for a bit and went for dinner at La Nord where I had a nice Lasagna. Spent the rest of night on gathering information on my wine for the presentation.