Tour the Loire with cycle expert Harvey Downard
Summer is a great time to break out the cycle, and there's a bounty of sun soaked landscapes to explore in neighbouring Europe. We sent intrepid cycli...Read more
Gliding along stunning coastal paths and rolling through a seemingly endless expanse of vineyards: a gentle cycling holiday in France is tonic for the soul, conjuring up as many smells and tastes as it does splendid views. Enjoy a wide array of gastronomic delights as you wind your way from one beautiful provincial destination to the next. Alsace, Burgundy and Provence offer riverside scenery, historic stop-offs and yes, plenty of wine-tasting opportunities. Here's an overview of the enticing culinary specialities of these destinations.
This northeastern region has so much history sprinkled into its famous dishes. Due to Alsace's changing ‘ownership’, the cuisine here is defined by both German and French influences – making a rich and tasty mix. The most authentic eateries are Winstube, meaning ‘wine rooms’, although this translation captures none of their charm and cosiness.
You'll find sauerkraut, or as it’s regionally known, choucroute, very much at large here, as well as several varieties of sausage. The tarte flambée is a delicious regional pizza-esque dish. Alsace is, in fact, known for its tarts – sweet and savoury – as well as its mouth-watering and hearty meat stews. It's not for everyone, but foie gras d'Alsace, served with lentils, is a local delicacy.
A drink with that? The region's rocky, sandy soil means that white wines are the crowning glory here, so you can look forward to pairing your beautifully-cooked pork with a delightfully acidic white.
We can already feel the full-bodied flavour of a deep Burgundy echoing in the depths of our taste buds. With this region's lush, rolling hills home to some of the most delicious grapes in France, sampling this rich red is a must.
For dinner, choose from traditional dishes such as beef bourguignon, coq au vin (chicken casserole) and roasted veal. Poached eggs in red wine sauce is also one to try.
Love a good cheese and wine night? An activity holiday is an ideal occasion to indulge – after all, you'll need all those extra calories to get you to the next village. In Burgundy, you'll find a whole host of goat and cow cheeses (not to mention yummy crusty baguettes) to help you ponder the perfect combination.
Take a leisurely trundle with us through this striking landscape, with its attractive hilltop villages, lavender fields and rolling olive groves. With local produce also including almonds, cherries, apricots and pears, this feels like an Eden of fresh goodness.
Try rich stews and traditional ratatouille or, for a light bite while pondering the wine menu, homemade tapenade. If you ride with us in truffle season, prepare for a taste-bud explosion. And if you aren’t dribbling yet, how about bouillabaisse? This flavoursome, spicy dish includes a minimum of four types of fresh fish, with every chef leaving their own stamp on it.
The sweet-toothed cyclist will receive a warm welcome in Provence. Fall into piles of fresh croissants, macarons, pains au chocolat, millefeuilles and lemon tarts – then burn it all off on the roads tomorrow.
So where will it be? Crisp whites and German influence; the region where cheese is king and red wine flows in both glass and dish; or a fishier affair, with a raft of dessert options? Pick soon, before your stomach starts rumbling!Back To Blog
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