Happy Hawaïan Travelers in Gironde
This year I had the pleasure of welcoming a group of 12 people from Hawaii who wanted to discover the authentic side of our region. When they contacted me – they made it clear that they would prefer to eat in farms/inns and to stop on small family run estates. I designed them a tailor-made programme and hoped they would not be disappointed with it...
Day 1 : experiencing harvesting technics and crushing grapes by foot !
After picking my small group up in the hotel in Saint Emilion, we were off to Bourg and the Gironde estuary. Our first stop was with a professional fisherman to try the typical white shrimps from the estuary. Because the boat had just returned from its fishing trip we were able to join in with the cooking of these little crustaceans! Then we set off to the Château Mercier where we were very warmly welcomed by the owner. Following Isabelle’s explanations, our group was able to get pleasurably stuck in to harvesting armed with secateurs and buckets, and then, the hard labour of stemming by hand and crushing the grapes by foot.
After all this exertion the group took some comfort by way of an improvised apéritif of the shrimps we had bought earlier from the fisherman, together with a good dry white from Château Mercier followed by an excellent meal cooked up by Martine.
Finally I was able to lay on a small surprise due to the time of year …. I made them stop at Asques to watch the passage of the Mascaret, the tidal bore (wave phenomenon on the Gironde estuary). With a tide of 97, it wasn’t a spectacular one but sufficiently so to demonstrate this phenomenon which is particular to our region.
Day 2 : tasting Saint Emilion wines and tasting the locals specialty : the lampreys!
Guided tour of Saint Emilion village and its underground monuments before finishing our itinerary in the underground cellars of Clos des Menuts. I picked them up after lunch for a quick trip to the Union of Producers of Saint Emilion. This visit, timed at the peak of the harvests, proved to be very interesting because the co-operative was working at full throttle with the arrival of the first Merlots. Have you ever been into a Union of Producer’s cellars full of barrels ? I would never have believed it was so big ….. really impressive with its 5000 barrels !
We then did a mini walk to see the Ferrand caves all of whose secrets have still not been divulged! It is a very unexpected place and one that never fails to surprise tourists...
Finally, we ended this small tour with our emblematic dish – so, a trip to the lamprey museum at Sainte–Terre, followed by a lamprey tasting directly from the fisherman on the banks of the river Dordogne.