Douro Valley Tastings: Sandeman Quinta do Seixo

The most impressive thing about a visit to Sandeman’s Quinta do Seixo estate is the drive up to a culminating point above the Douro with practically a 360° view of terraced vines! The drive is not for the faint hearted (or those who tend to get car sick!), but it is absolutely spectacular! The visit…

Niepoort’s superb dry Douro red “Charme” 2005 at Restaurant DOC

  We asked for the wine to be chilled a little, and it was re-served at 15°. The aromas became even more Burgundian and more explosive. Less cherries and more raspberries like from Vosne Romanée tasted from barrel at its most delicious moment. It certainly tastes like a wine with ample amounts of new wood,…

Douro Valley Tastings: Quinta do Portal

 Douro River Valley After taking the train from Porto (Sao Bento station) and riding for most of the journey along the banks of the Douro to the town of Pinhao, we were greeted by some friends who know the Douro Valley well and had arranged several cellar visits for us. Our first stop was  Quinta…

Portuguese cuisine: a little disappointing but has potential…

Accras de Morue (deep fat-fried: salt cod-fish dumplings)   I realize that I cannot judge a country’s cuisine after only 4 days and only visiting one region, but I must say I was disappointed with the Portuguese cuisine.  I may not have been to the finest establishments in the country, but visited a variety of…

A bright spot in a gastronomic desert: Relais de Reuilly in Champagne

Hats off for the Relais de Reuilly in the western part of the Marne Valley in Champagne. Located on the road parallel to but south of the Marne River. After 28 years owning and running this small hotel restaurant, chef Martial Berthuit still has enthusiasm, energy and ideas. Walking a fine line between creativity of…

Le Jardin Gourmand in Auxerre: summer garden in your plate

Jardin Gourmand: flowers and salad   Sit down on their wildly sensual terrace for a visit with chef and owner Pierre Boussereau and Olivier Laplaine (front of the house) and you will quite literally get Pierre’s garden on your plate. Infinite varieties of greens, salads, herbs and flowers give you a real taste of summer….

Sneaky-creative Jean Michel Lorain in Joigny

Tucked away on between the vineyard covered slope of the Cote St Jacques and the L’Yonne river, this long standing restaurant (La Cote St Jacques) that managed to gain and keep 3 Michelin star status from father to son revisits a lot of classic recipes with a surprisingly creative twist. The creativity in the dishes…