Anyone who has ever been on a river cruise before, knows that food plays a big part in the sailing experience. From dine-when-you-want-buffets, to five-star bistros, eating is half the enjoyment. But why not take the experience up a couple notches and experience a cruise that makes gourmet food and fine wines the centrepiece of the trip?
Well Uniworld, the cruise company known for its boutique river excursions and fine culinary experiences (1995 Nikolaihof Riesling anyone?), has set about to outdo even themselves, by offering themed based sailings centred exclusively on the food and flavours of France.
Known as the Connoisseur Collection, Uniworld has put together three sailings that are meant to inspire the foodie in all of us. From the Uniworld Master Chef dishes prepared on board to the culinary tours around the fertile lands of France, each day is meant to be a celebration for the senses.
John Molinaro, Uniworld’s General Manager summed up the culinary qualities of this uniquely French sailing experience.
"UNESCO declared French cuisine a ‘world intangible heritage’ and our Connoisseur Collection includes plenty of opportunities to smell, taste and appreciate France’s incredible culinary scene.”
Connoisseur Collection sailings depart from June through August 2016 on the itineraries below, making stops at both famous as well as intimate French settings. Foodies won’t be able to resist these top highlights.
Paris & Normandy
1. Not only is Restaurant La Couronne in the village of Rouen famous for hosting celebrities, but it is credited for being the cooking inspiration for one Julia Child, who went on to become a connoisseur of all things French.
2. What’s France without the cheese? Local tastings in the quaint villages of Normandy include popular pairings with local cider and Apple Brandy.
3. On board, a Uniworld sommelier treats guests to a tasting of top French champagnes while lovers of culinary history will enjoy a fascinating lecture on the history and legacy of France’s greatest chefs.
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Burgundy & Provence
4. Sailing east from Paris, the Château de Seigneurs in Tournon welcomes guests to the famous Burgundy wine region with a cocktail reception. The lovely 19th century Château is just minutes from what is said to be France’s most beautiful village, Aubeterre-sur-Drone.
5. Uniworld chefs regularly include this rich flavour in their cooking. After a visit to a local Grignan truffle farm, guests will know why this rare and hidden delicacy is so valued.
6. Lovers of modern French cuisine will no doubt appreciate the cooking demonstration at Institut Paul Bocuse. This famous French chef known for his high quality fresh ingredients has inspired many with his nouvelle techniques.
7. Onboard activities centred around food include a chocolate tasting with wine pairing and a discussion on the contributions of France’s greatest chefs to the culinary arts.
Bordeaux, Vineyards & Château
8. What better place for a Bordeaux food and wine pairing than at Renaissance Château de Roquetaillade. Set in the beautiful hills of the French countryside, this 700 year old castle with its striking turrets and opulent interior can only be outdone by the quality of the French food and wine on offer.
9. Enjoy the spectacular river views from atop the Patiras Island lighthouse before enjoying a riparian sunset cocktail party.
10. Brandy aficionados will certainly appreciate the visit to the Grollet Estate of Remy Martin, maker of the finest spirits in the world. Step inside the famous distillery where guests are shown the various stages of cognac ageing before being treated to samples.
A New Found Appreciation
Uniworld has always maintained a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to food and wine, but when combined with the flavours found at each port, there’s no doubt, these sailings elevate French cuisine, produce, spirits and wine to a whole new level.
As Mr. Molinaro explained, “We’re very excited to announce the new Connoisseur Collection, we think they’ll hold great appeal to Australians and provide even more reasons to explore Europe by way of its waterways."