Why Avignon You Been Yet?
The Food and Wine Mecca of Provence
Avignon is one of those places you just don’t forget in a hurry. It’s probably why Vincent Van Gough painted many of his famous works in this region. And once you have been there you won’t easily forget either.
Nestled in Provence in the south of France on the Rhone River, Avignon is an ancient walled city with plenty going for it. Aside from the natural charm and the tranquil beauty of the surrounds, it’s a modern day mecca for lovers of food and wine.
World Famous Chateauneuf du Pape – Pinot Lover’s Delight
There are a number of ‘must sees’ for travelers to the city of the Pope’s Palace (the original site chosen for the papal home many centuries ago). Karen Ridge of Food and Wine Travel says ‘None more important for wine lovers than nearby world famous Chateauneuf du Pape. This is classic Pinot Noir country.’ A true Wine Mecca.
It’s such a unique region because the grape vines grow in stone-covered fields. The stones radiate a ‘secondary heat’ to the developing vine fruit which ultimately gives the wines from this region distinctive characteristics.
The best advice is to visit some of the local vineyards on a day tour to the region with a local wine expert (only 15 minutes north of Avignon). ‘Opt for a small group tour with my friend and local wine identity Francois – that way it’s personal, no one has to drive and you can relax and enjoy your day’ says Karen. ‘Ask me for his details as he works on referral only!’
The Best Lunch in Provence
Another food and wine mecca ‘must’ (which can be combined with your day to Pinot country) is lunch at the most wonderful little restaurant called Le Verger des Papes. It sits atop one of the only hills in the region, in the shadow of the ancient ruins of the Pope’s vacation palace and enjoys magical views over Provence and down to the Rhone. But the view’s not all that is wonderful here. This is a gem of a place to eat.
‘Classical Provencal cuisine meets modern day France, with a wine list you can only dream about! Not overly expensive, fabulous service. Eat outside on the terrace under the olive trees in summer and drink in the gorgeous views, or stay cozy inside during winter. Either way you are on a winner here. You must book ahead though’, says Karen or you will sadly be turned away.
Cooking Classes and More Wine in The Luberon Valley
The final food and wine mecca ‘gotta do’ while you’re staying in Avignon is to see the Luberon Valley. This area is just 15-20 minutes to the south east of the city and the true inspiration for Van Gough. The sunflowers, the lavender fields, the olive groves, the ancient stony hilltop villages, those vivid blue skies and hazy summer horizons…..and also the home of some great food and wine experiences. Grab yourself a half day private cooking class in the region for some Provencal style learnings.
Karen suggests Venasque (about 20 minutes picturesque drive from Avignon) for an intimate cooking experience in the tiny kitchen of an Auberge. ‘You’ll explore the fundamentals of authentic Mediterranean cooking, marrying flavors, utilizing the best local foods from the market and learning about great French traditions from your host chef’ says Karen.
Or of course if cooking’s not your style……just take another wine tour! The region produces some fabulous white wines which are worth a look. And my little wine friend in Avignon just loves showing
For food and wine travel to Avignon click here
Uncover more reasons why Avignon is a Food and Wine Mecca, by contacting Food and Wine Travel. Specializing in ‘the less conventional’ experiences in traditional food and wine destinations.
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Written by Karen Ridge
Director Food and Wine Travel
For more information call 1800 701 521
Or visit www.foodandwinetravel.com.au