Friday, July 21, 2023

20th of July 2023 Viviers, truffles and Chateauneuf du Pape wine tasting

Viviers has a long history going back more than 1,600 years.  At one time, Viviers was a rich town under the patronage of the Catholic church but now is quite poor.  There are no hotels or shops for visitors which adds to its charm.  

We climbed up the hill through cobbled streets to read 12th-century St. Vincent’s Cathedral which is the smallest cathedral in France.  It was lovely to sit in the quiet of the cathedral.

From St. Vincent’s Cathedral  we climbed further to the Belvédère of le Rocher de Châteauvieux, a 14th century fortification which gave us sweeping views over the rooftops and the Rhône.

We are starting to see more lavender as we go further south.  The scent of the lavender up on the Belvédère was very strong.

We then returned back through the Old Town with medieval houses and narrow cobblestone lanes.  There were holes among the cobblestones which meant being very wary of where we put our feet.

Our guide took us into her beautiful home for refreshments.  These included a lovely aperitif of chestnut liqueur and white wine.  We also tried the local saucisson.

On our way back to the ship we stopped briefly to watch a game of pétanque.  Pétanque is based on the same principle as horseshoes except it is played with steel balls.

After lunch we visited a family owned truffle farm for an explanation of truffle hunting.  These days dogs are often used instead of pigs.  We were given an explanation of how the dogs were trained including rubbing truffle oil on the mother dog's teats so that the puppies become familiar with the scent.

A truffle hunt followed however the farmer was honest and said that he had planted the truffles as he farms predominantly winter truffles.  A truffle tasting followed accompanied by local wines.

Our final stop of the day was to the Bouachon wine cellar in the renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine appellation where we sampled one white wine and two red wines.  The white wine was tasted both with and without a lavender scented dark chocolate.  I was surprised how much the chocolate enhanced the flavour of the wine.  We also tested the second red wine both with and without a thyme scented dark chocolate.  The thyme scented chocolate rounded the flavour of the wine.

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