As part of my whirlwind tour of France before I head to the home of the rugby world champions, I stayed for two nights in Dijon (my first couchsurfing experience – so far, I am a HUGE fan! Had a great time with my incredible host!). Specialties of Dijon include Dijon mustard (of course), pain d’épices (gingerbread), boeuf bourgignon (made famous in the US by Julia Child – and which I had the pleasure of eating on my first night in Dijon) and Crème de Cassis (liqueur made from blackcurrants and often mixed with white wine as an apertif). I came, of course, because Dijon, along with Beaune, are the two cities that are part of the Bourgogne (Burgundy) region, famous for its Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. As an Oregon native, Pinot is one of my very favorite varietals, and since it is arguably the most important red grape in New Zealand as well, it was imperative for me to visit its homeland in order to have a basis for comparison. Well New Zealand, the bar has been set very high – I fell (even deeper) in love with Pinot after tasting just a few wines on the Route de Vin (also known as La Route Touristique des Grands Crus de Bourgogne).
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