French cuisine and wine are two of the main motivations of travelers vacationing in France. Whether you’re tucking into a freshly baked croissant alongside your morning café au lait or sitting down to a gourmet supper, every bite will leave its impact.
There are 11 exquisite wine regions in France with Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and the Rhône and Loire valleys being the most well-known. Gastronomy varies from region to region although cooking is associated with rich meat dishes accompanied by seasonal vegetables and one of the French Mother sauces. Naturally, seafood and shellfish play a pivotal role in coastal kitchens. Let’s take a look at what food pairs best with the classic wines of France.
Commonly known as “Burgundy Red” the Pinot Noir crafted in east-central France is considered the finest of its kind. These complex, medium-bodied wines carry earthy notes and undertones of cherries and raspberries plus a hint of mushroom. It’s the wine of choice for chefs preparing Burgundy’s classic boeuf bourguignon and thus pairs to perfection with a glass.
For many, Black Friday can be overwhelming. The countdown is on to secure the best opportunities, fast.
Italy experiences all four seasons and is a joy to visit at any time of year. Ultimately, the shoulder seasons provide the best conditions to visit most destinations however summer and winter do carry certain benefits. Here’s where to go in Italy for every season.
Spring in Italy
Early spring yields cooler temperatures that increase significantly from the start of May. Unless you opt to visit Venice during the annual carnival, spring is the best time to explore the Floating City. The crowds lull in early spring before gradually trickling back on the approach to summer. As the evenings draw longer, you’ll enjoy al fresco cicchetti (Venetian tapas) and spritz overlooking the canals. Look for risi e bisi on the menus; this rice dish is tastiest with fresh spring peas.
Cinque Terre is one of the prettiest destinations on the Italian Riviera. These five fraziones are linked via hiking trails and express train. Riomaggiore is the largest and liveliest with a variety of activities while Corniglia is the sleepiest of the quintet. Monterosso has the sandiest beaches and fewer hills. Vernazza appeals to history buffs whereas Manarola is best for sampling the local dessert wine, sciacchetrà. Visiting the Five Lands in mid-late spring is ideal for avoiding crowds and experiencing Easter events or the Monterosso Lemon Festival.
The Cotswolds is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in central southwest England. This breathtaking region of rolling hills, untamed wolds, and idyllic villages is spread across the five counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire. As one of the most luxurious destinations for a British getaway, the Cotswolds offers exceptional gastronomy and upmarket accommodation inclusive of charming vacation cottages and spa hotels.
You can connect to the larger towns of Cirencester, Cheltenham, or Bath by train from London. Once there, it is wise to hire a car to get around the various villages. Let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful towns and villages of the Cotswolds.
Castle Combe, Wiltshire
Awash with honey-colored cottages overlooking a babbling brook, Castle Combe is the definition of a postcard-pretty English village in the Cotswolds. The main attraction is to simply roam the streets with your camera with a stop for coffee and cake before following the brookside paths or venturing into the woodlands. The faceless clock inside St Andrew's Church is thought to be one of the oldest in the country while the village hall occasionally hosts craft markets.
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