Pain d’épices from Dijon
It originated in China – known as mi-kong or honey bread – but the people of Dijon have turned this gingerbread recipe into a biscuit that is now a best-seller all over the world. The company Mulot & Petitjean, a traditional family business, is the heir to an ancestral expertise that has endured since 1796. The shop, situated at 11 place Bossuet in Dijon, is a wonderful place that is well worth visiting to sample the biscuits. Another address not to be missed is La Rose de Vergy, 1 rue de la Chouette, Dijon.
Saône-et-Loire has its brillat-savarin, the Charolais goat’s cheese that has gained its AOC, but époisses is one of the cheeses that attracts the most media attention. There are several producers of this cheese, made from lactic curd and with its washed crust. These include the cheese maker Gaugry, in Brochon near Dijon, where you can take a guided tour of the entire production site. We should also mention the cheese maker Berthaut. Based in the little village of Epoisses, this company has been making époisses cheese since 1956 and has revived the production of this cheese, which has now become one of the jewels of Burgundy.
Fallot mustard from Beaune
Dijon mustard might well owe its salvation to a company in Beaune, the height of indignity for a typically Dijon product that has become international thanks to companies such as Amora. The mustard producer Fallot, the last company still making mustard in the traditional way, is in fact engaged in a fight to protect this typically regional product. Marc Désarménien, the manager of Fallot, has launched a mustard made in Burgundy. In other words, it uses mustard seeds that do not come from Canada, as is the case for most of the pots on the market, but from Burgundy.
Beef from Charolles
Every chef will tell you that Charolais is a must. Here too it all comes down to the region. In the Charolais and the Brionnais, “the land, which is generally malrstone-limestone or clay, is often in a concave area or at the bottom of a slope”, as explained by the syndicate for this appellation d’origine contrôlée. This encourages the collection of water and the development of deep soils, leading to natural, high quality meadows. But it is also a question of the weather and the grass. This explains why Charolais meat is amongst the finest, with excellent flavour and taste qualities: “great tenderness, very good juiciness, low elasticity, very little gristle and great intensity of flavour”.
Negus from Nevers
The shop owned by Ménard since the end of 2013 is located right in the heart of Nevers. It owes its reputation to a small soft chocolate caramel, coated in cooked sugar and christened Négus. This is a reference to the emperor of Abyssinia, Ménélik, known as the Negus, who came to France on an official visit, was received by the President of the Republic and served this sweet. It will now always bear the name of this visitor from far away.
Chicken from Bresse
Once in your life you really should see the market in Louhans, the capital of Bresse poultry. And you should go and taste the true flavour of a bird from Bresse more than once in your life. The market in Louhans, and its fair, are an essential meeting place in the life of Bresse every Monday morning. This is one of the simple pleasures in life. A piece of advice: go there nice and early.
Chocolate from La Clayette
Bernard Dufoux did his apprenticeship with Bernachon, in Lyon, but settled in la Clayette (pronounced “la Clette”), a small village in Saône-et-Loire, in order to, in his words, “dedicate himself to chocolate creations”. Having worked with chocolate for 40 years he received the title of Best Workman of France in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. He made his name thanks to several specialities, such as the Conquistador, a chocolate praline dessert rich in fruit and with a strong flavour. By appointment, you can attend courses run by this chocolatier, who is in a class of his own.
Oils from Iguérande
This factory in southern Burgundy has been manufacturing exceptional olive oils for a hundred and twenty years. While the oil producer Leblanc is mainly known for its oils, the company also creates vinegars and mustards. You can visit this traditional oil producer and taste the products. If you visit Iguérande you can also taste the products from the kitchen of Troisgros on the Colline du Colombier
Anis from Flavigny
These little white balls are a monument to the gastronomy of Burgundy, and are still manufactured today using the same ancestral methods in the former abbey of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, in Côte-d’Or. This aniseed-flavoured sweet, managed by the third generation of the Troubat family, has made a name for itself thanks to its quality, and also because of its now-famous tin boxes that have become collectors’ items.
Cassis de Dijon
Cassis de Dijon Cassis has been able to cover its back, so cassis de Dijon can only be created in Dijon, even if Europe challenges this rule. Thanks to Canon Kir, who gave it his name, the combination of white wine and cassis has become the second most popular aperitif for the French. Today there are four Dijon companies producing a crème de cassis of international standing: Edmond Briottet, Lejay-Lagoute, Gabriel Boudier and L’Héritier-Guyot.