Located in southwest France, Bordeaux is a gorgeous city full of history and culture. It is surrounded by a rolling landscape dotted with French chateaus. And the city itself is speckled with the most delightful restaurants. During our recent trip to France we spent our time between Paris and Bordeaux (see my post on Where to eat in Paris). Here are my recommendations for enjoying the amazing Food & Wine in Bordeaux.
Like all popular travel destinations, the city of Bordeaux has its fair share of ‘tourist trap’ restaurants. You will want to steer well clear of those. Instead, make a reservation ahead of time and enjoy some seriously fantastic food by some of the city’s talented chefs. I really enjoyed these two restaurants:
This little gem offers a tasting menu or à la carte. The dishes were creative and delicious. And the plating was absolutely beautiful. It did take awhile for all the dishes to come out. So, if you plan to enjoy the tasting menu, I recommend that you go on an evening that you are not in a rush. But it was worth the wait! [Cromagnon website]
Le Bistrot du Gabriel
This charming restaurant is located in a plaza surrounded by a fountain and beautiful architecture. You should take advantage of their outdoor seating with a view. You will find that it is a wonderful spot for people watching. And everything we ate here was so tasty. I really enjoyed their refreshing summer menu on a hot evening. [Le Gabriel website]
Enjoying wine in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is most famous for its red wine. The first vineyards of the region were planted in ancient Roman times. Although some other varietals are grown, Bordeaux wine is primarily made up of merlot, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon.
The Bordeaux wine region is divided by rivers into two main areas. The left bank that is dominated by cabernet sauvignon grapes, and the right, which is primarily merlot. These are both further divided into regions and subregions, each with their own specialties.
Some of the regions have charming town centres. You should make a point to visit at least one. I took the above image in Saint Emilion. The individual chateaus (think of a home or estate with a self-sufficient winery on property) are scattered all across the region. You will have to book ahead of time to visit the finest chateaus as they are quite exclusive and can only be accessed through appointment, if at all.
I would recommend doing some research ahead of time and making arrangements to visit the ones you’re most interested in. If you rely on a wine tour’s preplanned options you will likely only see the most touristy places. You can experience underground wine caves at some of the chateaus. In the below image is a stack of bottles aging in such a cave.
An interesting by-product and local delicacy..
Traditionally, in Bordeaux wine production egg white is introduced to aging wine barrels to help with the collection and removal of sediment from the wine. As you can imagine, they had an awful lot of yolks left over. Resourceful bakers came up with the canelé – a small, rum and vanilla flavoured pastry with a thick, caramelized crust. Below are the cute, little baking tins.
I hope you enjoyed this post on Food & Wine in Bordeaux. Now I’m off to pack my bags, because later today I am off to spend a week visiting wonderful friends in the Okanagan Valley. But I will be back next week with bounty from the ripe fruit orchards there, and a delicious recipe for you!
Have you visited the Bordeaux region? Do you have any favourite places to go there? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear about them.