Food and Wine Tasting Masterclass in Chartres

By Thursday, June 15, 2017 Permalink 0

Exploring the Food and Wine of the Beauce and the Loire Valley

Award-winning wine writer, James Flewellen, and Cordon Bleu-educated cook and food journalist, Jonell Galloway, present wine and food tasting masterclasses in the historic French city of Chartres. Comprising dedicated wine tastings, sumptuous meals made from local ingredients paired with regional Loire Valley wines and a unique, “sense-awakening” taste experience, our food and wine holiday courses will help unlock your taste buds and introduce the richness of aromas, flavors and textures present in food and wine.

  • Courses conducted in English
  • All lunches, dinners, and wine included
  • We use only the highest quality, locally-sourced produce and ingredients
  • Over 10 hours of professional food and wine tasting instruction
  • Taste over 20 (4-day course) different wines from the Loire Valley
  • Learn the art of food and wine pairing
  • Dine and learn in a 1,000-year-old converted chapel
  • Socialize with like-minded wine- and food-lovers
  • Experience the atmosphere of the Chartres Festival of Lights in a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Guided city tour & collection from the station included

Click here for more details.

Dates for our 2017 masterclass are now confirmed:

  • Our signature 4-day Taste Unlocked masterclass costs €695pp and runs from 14–17 September, coinciding with the world-famous Chartres Fête de la Lumière.

James and Jonell are also available for bespoke tasting courses and events throughout the year for groups of 4 or more. Please contact us for more information.

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Bordeaux wine museum complex has more than 425,000 visitors in first year of operation

By Thursday, June 15, 2017 Permalink 0

One year after opening to the public, the Bordeaux wine museum complex has welcomed 425,000 visitors from 150 countries.

Pari tenu pour la Cité du Vin à Bordeaux: un an après son ouverture au public, elle a accueilli 425.000 visiteurs de 150 pays et atteint

Source: La Cité du Vin a accueilli plus de 425.000 visiteurs en un an – Le Figaro Vin

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France Revisited

By Thursday, June 15, 2017 Permalink 0

From Venice to Chartres 

by Jonell Galloway

Venice is a memory. She is a magnet, pulling me forever into her depths, a cozy, labyrinthine nest I roost in, venturing into her damp, dark streets to come home to perch every evening. Venetian food is good, but not good enough to keep me there forever. Still, it was hard to leave her. She had become my best friend, the one I wanted to cuddle up with for the rest of my life.

Every time I set foot in Venice, I forget the rest of the world. I’d forgotten about crispy baguettes and sea-salt butter and unctuous raw-milk cream from Normandy that one can eat like yogurt. I’d forgotten that the history of “my” Chartres is as old or older than that of Venice, going back as far, we know, as the Druids and Romans.

field colza rapeseed beauce chartres france

Driving from the airport through the verdant, rolling hills of the Essonne and into the flat Beauce, the wheat fields of France, the motorway lined with sweeping yellow fields of rapeseed, the red of poppies nestling up to them like children to mothers’ breasts, I wondered how I’d forgotten the sensation of open space and green, how I’d forgotten the beauty I’d discovered so long ago in the landscapes of Monet and Corot and Lorraine, long before setting foot in this Gallic land. Venice puts a stone-and-brick spell on us and it takes a while for it to wear off, but this drive did it.

Chartres Cathedral fields of colza rapeseed












Eyes wide open, I now remember why I love France. It’s about turning every corner in this city of Chartres only to find a yet-unknown remnant of the medieval ramparts, or learning that there is a Roman temple hidden under the church up the street. It’s about coming home to a spring that looks like a lovely Pissarro or Monet flower garden and remembering why I fell in love with Impressionism as a bright-eyed teenager from Kentucky. It’s about smelling the roses and mourning their going away when the first petals fall to the ground. It’s like passing an old lover in the street and remembering how I fell deeply in love with his dark, intense eyes all those years ago, and into the buttery nostalgia of my own past. It’s about Sunday morning croissants and the farmer’s wife’s jams and café au lait for breakfast and ripe and runny Camembert and the first cherries for clafoutis. It about golden fields of rapeseed and about those red poppies.

Poppy Field_in Argenteuil by Claude Monet












The wisteria was withered and long gone when we left Venice, but still flowering in Chartres, this land of the cool, damp north. It was like having two springtimes, going from Italian peas and asparagus to French ones.

We visit the weeping willows along what the Romans called the Autura River, known now as the Eure, and into the surrounding marshland that has been largely filled in and is now a nature reserve with miles of green footpaths and wild ducks. Marshes and canals, not unlike Venice, except for that big ship of a Gothic cathedral on top of the hill. There are no cruise ships towering above the buildings like in Venice.

travel home van bus suitcases












Home is, quite probably, where I lay my suitcases and that changes all too often, but home is also about knowing how to fall in love with something or someone wherever and whenever I put down my bags.

chapel beach chapelle plage bretagne brittany france












I sometimes think it is as simple as a plateau de fruits de mer royal — a seafood platter with everything on it — as they call it in this northerly part of France.

seafood platter normandy plateau de fruits de mer france












Venice is but a memory half in fog.

Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_Venice,_The_Mouth_of_the_Grand_Canal_-_Google_Art_Project Venezia












We are moving toward the days of purple and pink hydrangea and long walks on the briny Breton coast, fresh oysters for lunch every day. I have returned to the land I fell in love with through art history surveys and then fell more in love with on first sight. Amazingly for a Kentucky girl, like Venice, France, feels like home in all its seasons, wet and dry and cold and hot, in sun and in fog.

Chartres Cathedral in fog from Lower Town, cathédrale de Chartres, brouillard, de la Basse-Ville




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