Food & wine
On board, guests will experience the gastronomy of France
with fine regional wines and delicious gourmet meals
Wake up to fresh croissants and pastries from local bakeries along our cruise route. The culinary delights continue through lunch, with savory dishes and a feast of salads. Our chef is encouraged to be innovative and imaginative, marrying French cuisine with a contemporary twist whilst using fresh local ingredients to inspire and spoil you. Each evening the memorable four-course meal provides the climax to each day.
Through out the week we introduce you to a variety of twenty-three delicious French cheeses, from creamy Camembert to the famous blue Roquefort. Tea and coffee is available throughout the day, or perhaps choose something a little stronger from the ‘open bar'. Special diets are easily catered for aboard the Luciole.
The four-course evening meal is the gastronomic highlight of each day. Glistening glasses and starched linen napkins set the scene of a dinner party with friends. Dining by candlelight while the sun-sets, reflecting onto the river or canal. Simply bliss. Laughter and stories flow into the evening, concluding with coffee and liquers on the sundeck under the starlit nights.
Lunch is a well-balanced selection of fresh culinary delights. A choice of hot and cold dishes, introduced and served by your chef. Lush salads, French tarts, home-cured meats and Burgundian specialities. There is even a chance to try snails - but its not obligatory!
The day begins with the arrival of freshly baked baguettes and pastries. Each morning we collect our bread from the local boulangerie, the bakers varying styles can be compared throughout the week. There is also a choice of breakfast cereals, fruit, yoghurts and juices. Fresh coffee, hot milk and tea are always provided by the hostesses with a cheery smile to start your day.
Vintages from Burgundy, the Loire Valley and Bordeaux
We take you on a wine tour of France, through the regions and their grape varieties, selecting wines from established vigneron along with recommendations by our experienced wine merchants. The chef and our captain work closely together, pairing the wines with the fresh food served on board, introducing each wine daily.
French wines from far and near are chosen. Local vineyards are well represented with Chablis and the Yonne Valley on our doorstep . Wines from the Cote d'Or and Loire Valley are also on our list, together with selections from further afield: Bordeaux and the Alsace.
The Burgundy wines from our region have their own distinctive character. Generally, Pinot Noir grapes are harvested for the red wines along with Gamay and César. For the whites it is Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Aligoté. The 'terroir' of the Burgundy is particularly fascinating and unique. The stony vineyards, cold winters and warm summers contribute to the complex and varying flavours of each vintage, highly regarded by the wine enthusiast.
The appreciation of our Burgundy wines, as the week progresses, is a rewarding journey. We also serve the full bodied Cabinet Sauvignon wines from the hotter climes of the southerly vineyards of the Rhone Valley and Bordeaux.
GRAPE: Pinot noir
TASTE: Very smooth but earthy red wine with a lot of depth.
GEOGRAPHY: Soils are a clay and limestone mixture
WINEMAKER: Rossignol also makes Gevery-Chambertin and Côte De Nuits-Village
TASTE: A very pure chardonnay with acidic and zesty mineral flavours that mellow with age
GEOGRAPHY: Calcareous soils and Northern so sees dramatic temperature differences
WINEMAKER: Since 1973
GRAPE: Pinot Noir
TASTE: Subtle red fruit, soft and pleasant
GEOGRAPHY: Located in a deep valley; protected from winds and storms, but sees lower temperatures
WINEMAKER: Has 13 hectares (32 Acres) and his grapes are hand picked
TASTE: Full, flowery and tender
GEOGRAPHY: The town has a huge network of medieval cellars in which the wine is aged
History of wine making
Historians find it hard to determine exactly when wine was first made, perhaps as long ago as 10,000 BC. Evidence of wine making has been found in both Chinese and Middle Eastern history. In France, the Gauls and Romans certainly cultivated vineyards, but the art of winemaking was really established by the Catholic monks, who planted vineyards to make wine for their Churches. In the 19th Century the disease Phylloxera and mildew Odium wiped out many of these vineyards, the World Wars and resulting economic downturns, also had their negative effects on wine production. Slowly the French planted and built up their vineyards again.
In 1935 the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) was created to protect French wines, helping develop the wines to the high standards that we know today. Winemaking in France is now taking new routes towards sustainable, organic and bio-dynamic viticultures.
Burgundy's climate and geography
Burgundy is located in Central France and has a high percentage of woodland and forest alongside pastures and, of course, vineyards. The region experiences cold winters and hot summers due to the changes in the prevailing winds, from the South-Easterlies in the summer to the North-Easterlies in winter.
Burgundy’s geology has an enormous impact on the taste of the wines. In Burgundy, the vine roots bury down through the stony soil, reaching the limestone bedrock from the Jurassic period and the distinct strata of rock known as ‘Kimmeridgian’ and ‘Portlandian'. This limestone rock runs under the sea from Dorset in England down into central France and is composed of a large density of fossilised marine organisms and their skeletal remains, such as ammonites, coral and clams. The rock is extremely high in calcium, giving Burgundy wines their distinctive crisp mineral flavours.
Grand Cru (1% of the total) - Reserved and named only after the best vineyards
Premier Cru (10%) - Still high quality wines. The village name is used with clarification of the vineyard
Village Wines (37% ) - Grapes are sourced from several vineyards
Regional Wines (52%) - Grapes are combined from a number of vineyards in the area
Cheese has been an important part of French culture for generations. Hundreds of different varieties have been developed using the milk from cows, ewes and goats, in a diverse range of techniques. The cheese course is introduced to you by the hostesses who give an explanation of the composition and a potted history, so you know what you’re about to taste!
Made East of Paris since the 8th Century
Rich milky and sweet buttery taste of mushrooms or nuts
The first cheese to be given AOC authorisation
Salty and rich complex flavors from the penicillin mold
From the makers of the cheese Comté, originally ash divided the morning and evening milking.
Rich, creamy and very nutty
Farmers from the Haute Savoie originally made this cheese with a covert third milking in the evening to avoid paying taxes!
Very pungent, very nutty aftertaste
Tea and coffee is available throughout the day
This includes: gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, vegetarian, vegan and any food allergy.
Please mention special diets before your cruise and speak personally to the chef on arrival. Alternative dishes will be provided to suit requests and requirements.