Burgundians are not only renowned for their love of wine, but these tastes also reach to their cuisine. Many dishes which are considered the epitome of French cooking find their home in this part of France.
Starters: Escargots a la Bourguignonne (snails cooked in garlic-herb butter)
These are the traditional variety of escargots local to the Burgundy region. Very simple to prepare, the most important element being the type of snails used. The Helix Pomatia land snails are most commonly used in this dish. You can either go fully authentic and purchase live snails (which then need to be cooked and cleaned) or save some time by buying tinned ready-to-eat snails. Simply mix 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 chopped shallot and a generous sprinkling of parsley with 100g butter. Place an escargot into each shell and spoon a little garlic mixture on top. Place in an oven at 200C for 10 minutes until the butter begins to bubble and serve immediatedly (ideally with some baguette on hand for any spilled garlic butter!)
Serve with a Chablis. Try Patrick Piuze’s Chablis Grand Cru.
Main Course: Boeuf Bourguignon
This dish is synonymous with the Burgundy region of Eastern France (not least for the name) but also the inclusion of local chalonais cattle and roots that go back to the Middle Ages. Traditionally the slow cooking process, was in order to soften up tough cuts of meat and a peasant dish. First mentioned in cook books by chef Auguste Escoffier in 1903 the dish has now become a type of haute cuisine. For family cooking, this dish is perfect as it’s mainly prepared in one large casserole dish. Cook the beef, bacon, shallots, carrots, mushrooms, garlic and bouquet garni until lightly browned. Mix in the tomato purée and cook for a few minutes more before adding red wine (preferably Burgundy) and a little water and setting to a high heat to reduce. Then using tin foil to create a cartouche, place the dish in the oven at 150C and leave for 3 hours. Add potatoes to the stew or serve with a potato or celeriac mash for the perfect winter warmer.
Serve with a youthful Burgundy Pinot Noir. Try Denis Mortet or even Anne Gros’ Bourgogne Rouge.
Cheese Course: Époisses and Chaource
Chaource (pictured above) is eaten relatively young, at only 3 or 4 weeks old. This light cheese has a creamy texture and a white mold rind. The époisses on the other hand is renowned for having a strong smell. This cheese gets its orange/ brown rind after 2/3 months of scrubbings from marc-de-bourgogne brandy. A creamy texture and slightly more distinctive flavour.
Serve with Chambolle Musigny or Sancerre. Try Francois Bertheau’s elegant version or Hudelot Baillet’s more complex version of Chambolle, alternatively Pascal Cotat’s Sancerre, the cousin of Francois Cotat. The lesser known wines of Pascal give you more minerality.
Dessert: Poires pochées à l’orange (Poached pears with orange)
Pears can be poached in a multitude of ways, including in wine- but for a lighter dessert, try poaching the pears with orange and spices. Simply heat orange juice, white and brown sugar, a stick of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of vanilla over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then add peeled pears and leave for 1 ½ hours- spooning the syrup over the pears at regular intervals. Serve standing upright with any extra syrup poured on top.
Serve with Volnay or Santenay. Try Benjamin Leroux’s Volnay Clos de la Cave des Ducs Monopole for some interesting depth or Mikulski’s floral Volnay, either would go very well with this dish.
And voila! You have an authentic and delicious feast from Burgundy, perfect for the cooler winter months.
– Lucy Kelly