Ray Walker has been making wine in Burgundy under the label Maison Ilan since 2009. He is the first American ever to "make Le Chambertin, the grand cru red Burgundy that is one of the most revered names in wine."
As he visits NYC to shoot his new TV show (preview below), he shares some of his favorite spots in Burgundy.
When people generally think about French food, they commonly think of amazing cheeses, buttery bread that flakes off with the slightest touch, and of course those beautiful, little jewels of nature, escargot. Many of these foods are at their most exciting, their purest, in Burgundy. And, of course, we cannot forget the wine. After all, what use is food so good that you would sell your friend for another bite, if you’ve no wine to drink with it? So, read on and you’ll see some of my favorite places to eat and drink in Burgundy. And remember, in France, a dining experience is just that, an experience. The pacing is completely up to you.
Restaurant Ed.Em (Chassagne-Montrachet)
Pastry Chef Emilie and Chef de cuisine Edouard are the wonderful husband and wife behind this small restaurant in Chassagne-Montrachet, that is putting out plate after plate of big flavors, with a unique style to go with it! The food, presentation, decor and service show details and grace typically reserved for some of the finer Michelin-starred restaurants in the area. Ed.Em goes above and beyond with their food and brilliant wine list without the prices that typically accompany a restaurant of this caliber. Fish is a specialty here, and be sure to save room for their exceptional desserts.
Restaurant Le Carmin (Beaune)
Chef Christophe Quéant and his Le Carmin have been a welcomed addition to the growing collection of restaurants in Beaune looking to push beyond serving Coq au vin and escargots. Here, the one-Michelin starred restaurant offers a cozy dining experience, with an equal focus on meat as well as fish. The wine list boasts many hard to find gems that are even rarities amongst the finer wine shops in the region. The staff is friendly, and helpful, ready to fill you in on the occasional off-menu selections or special wines that haven’t yet his the list!
Auberge La Miotte (Ladoix-Serrigny)
Located just a ten minute drive outside of Beaune, to the North, is the tiny bistro of Auberge La Miotte. While many come away from this locals favorite dreaming of the escargots, it is the duck confit, or confit de canard that haunts your dreams. Its crispy skin, the insides cooked to perfection, with direct and honest flavors will make you feel like you have an idyllic French mother cooking her favorite dishes for you in her kitchen. The wine list here will often boast gems such as the highly sought after Coche-Dury. Make sure to order extra frites, as they are the best in Burgundy. Simple dining, and a bargain. Don’t leave Burgundy without stopping in here!
Caveau De Chassagne-Montrachet (Chassagne-Montrachet)
Jean-Francois Rateau (call him Jeff!) and his father have been sourcing some of the most brilliant wines one can find for a few decades now. Many of the producers are his friends. So, when other retailers can’t find something, you know where to look! Make sure to ask what is in the refrigerator for tasting when you stop in, as there are typically twenty or more whites and reds open for free tasting for potential clients. With the best Burgundy wine list in the region, if not in the whole of France, this is one place that any Burgundy wine lover needs to make sure to visit. The staff here is top-shelf as well, always more than happy to explain in enthusiastic detail the nuances of the region’s famed wines.
Remember, when you are in Burgundy, life moves slower for a reason. There are so many things to enjoy, to savor. These things need time to fully explore and appreciate. And last thing, leave the calorie counting and food guilt at home. No one here will think twice about how many calories are in that perfectly baked croissant from Dix Carnot in Beaune. Just relax, and breathe it all in. It doesn’t get much better than this.
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