Burgundy, France

My apologies, because I've been absent for just about a week now, but I promise I can explain. Early last week I found out that I was not the only one enjoying this apartment - apparently a group of bed bugs decided to camp out here as well. Tant pis. Thankfully the exterminator came, but I lost several quality days of heading to the market and coming back to my apartment to experiment with my purchases.

But that's not the only reason I've been absent; shortly after the exterminator's visit, I took a trip to heaven. And by that I mean I took a trip with the rest of the students in my program to the Burgundy region of France, home to some of the most delicious wines and dishes I have ever eaten.

So let's just get right to the good stuff. France is well-known for its cheeses, and rightfully so. I still haven't gotten over the quality and variety of cheeses I can find in just about any restaurant or cheese shop (and there is a cheese shop every several blocks in Paris). Here is a picture of the "chariot de fromages" in one of the restaurants we ate at in Vézelay (a city in the Burgundy Region), called La Bougainville

Everything about the cheese makes them almost sacred: the smell, the texture, the creamy interior that looks like it's about to ooze out of its stinky crust, and the taste. Oh, the taste. The second the creamy saint-marcellin touches my taste buds, my eyes automatically close and I feel a sense of relaxation and calm that is so rewarding and that only cheese can provide. Of course, cheese can be extremely rich, so I advise to eat it with caution and care.

The other really amazing part of Burgundy was the wine. The passion they have for cultivating wine is outstanding. Don't tell anyone, but we went into one of the vineyards and ate some of the delicious purple grapes!! This is not technically allowed, because the grapes haven't yet reached their peak - at that point they will be picked off, to make some more yummy French wine. And then visitors can eat all the leftover grapes they desire.

It was an exhausting but wonderful trip, and it reminded my once again of why I love this beautiful country - for its culture, its food, and the many people who care about preserving it.


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