Burgundy is one of France's main wine-producing areas known for its whites and reds mostly, chardonnay and pinot noir varieties. The history of this wine area goes back to around 50BC. The Celts were producing wine then, and the Romans took over when they conquered the region. The Benedictines became the first big Burgundy vineyard owners in the 900's and a bit later followed by the Cistercians. Monks maintained the vines and passed their knowledge and skills on.
Does Dijon mustard actually come from Dijon?
Yes! The Romans first produced it, and they established a tradition of grinding the mustard seeds, then mixing this with white vinegar. Then in 1752, the mustard was revolutionalized when the sour juice of unripe grapes was added, giving it the creamy texture it has today. Although Dijon mustard has been uprooted from its homeland, if you want it to be the "real deal", it's got to be made in Burgundy's Cote d'Or region with the mustard seeds grown in this soil.
Burgundy is one of France's most prominent regions and comprises a plateau of low hills and at its centre some small mountains, the Morvan. It is also covered by forest and, not surprisingly, by lots of vineyards. It consists of 4 departements; Core d'Or, Nievre, Saone-et-Loire and Yonne. Its largest city of Dijon, and a few rivers flow through it, including the Loire, Saone and Seine. It has 600 miles of rivers and canals, and this is how many people travel through it by boat or barge. It is France's most navigable region by water.
Explore a local Burgundy Market
Visiting a local market or two is a very enjoyable way to discover the local specialities of a region and Burgundy is no exception. It's a great opportunity to converse with the locals and try out your french plus a chance to check out the fantastic home-grown produce, such as Charolais beef, blackcurrants, gingerbread, mustard. What a gastronomic heritage Burgundy has. If you are in the mood, you can even rummage through the clothing section!
The two biggest markets are Dijon and Beaune. Dijon Market is one of the best in France. It is a covered market and you may recognise its designer as it's none other than Gustav Eiffel, creator of Paris's most famous landmark. Here you will find the very best cheese stalls, artisan bakers and cake makers. Beaune Market is a great way to see the town when it's in full swing. The large Saturday one is a colourful food and clothes market and has over 150 stalls, with the smaller one being on a Wednesday. On a Saturday it tends to spread beyond the undercover section in the Place de la Halles and spills out into the pedestrianized area.