Feast

While in Hautvillers, a village in the middle of the Champagne region, we ate at a really good meal in a restaurant there in a building that was once part of the Abbey where Dom Pérignon did his magic with champagne. It’s called Restaurant de l’Abbaye and the chef Thierry Landragin was such a nice man. We, of course, started with a flute of champagne.


This was the starter and it was so good. It had lentils in cream topped with toast and foie gras, grilled melon (new to me) with a pumpkin puree. I’m going to see if I can duplicate those lentils.


A steak of local beef and many locally sourced vegetables as well.


Tea Gourmand-yum. We were so full at the end of the meal.


Look at the vineyards stretching out to the horizon.


This was our gracious chef telling us about champagne and its history. He said the grapes would be ready in about ten more days and that this year won’t be one of quantity but it will be quality.

Champagne

Even though it often gives me a headache, I love champagne. In fact, one of my favorite sounds is that pop when a cork comes out of a champagne bottle-not because I am an alcoholic but because it usually means you are celebrating something even if it’s just something simple like having friends over for drinks. This last weekend, a friend and I made our way to Champagne country(less than two hours from Paris by car) for her to do a some business and then we did a little exploring. It’s just a lovely region with grapevines covering the hills everywhere you look. We were thinking of going into to Epernay but never made it there finding more than enough to do in the small, exquisite village of Hautvillers.


Hautvillers is the home of the abbey where Dom Pérignon was a Franciscan and he was in charge of making the wine. He perfected the method, leaning ways to make it taste better with judicious use of grapes and, when the bottles of champagne exploded after he started using corks, he had the now commonly used thick glass bottles made. It is said when he first tasted his champagne, “I am drinking stars!” I don’t know if that’s true but I sort of feel the same way when I drink it. By the way, the brand of champagne called Dom Pérignon is owned by Moet and Chandon which I didn’t know.


A look around the orderly and enchanting village.


I’m always happy to see these flowers.


And I’m always on the outlook for windows with flower boxes overflowing with flowers.


Every champagne house in the village had these neat little iron signs over their doors.


Here’s another one.


Once a year France has a day when many places that are usually closed are open for public viewing and we happened to be in Hautvillers when the abbey where Dom Pérignon (the name of the most famous champagne in the world) lived and worked. It was actually pretty bare as most of it was torn down in the French Revolution but cool to be there. Plus, we had an absolutely perfect day with temperate temperatures and blue skies. It was a great day.