Three days, 2 nights in La Charente
We will arrive in Angouleme in the afternoon after a 2 hour train ride and head for the the magnificent three story home that my friend Loui has created. Beautifully decorated rooms (merci to the brocantes), a garden and a rooftop terrace for sunbathing. After a walk to the ramparts and the Tourist Office in the courtyard of a medieval castle that also functions as Le Mairie and then a short walk to the magnificent covered market recognised as one of the most beautiful in France. Just across the street the exuberant Paris expatriate Jacky at le Meilleur de France selects and stocks only the finest products and will offer fascinating descriptions.Back Chez Loui she will serve a welcome to Angouleme pineau de charente before we head out for dinner.
The town is vibrant at night, crammed with restaurants on meandering streets. We may go to La Cour for foie gras and a slow cooked magret de canard-imagine 7 hour lamb, washed down by a local red.
Coffee and toast in the morning and we are off to visit and taste Cognac Paul Giraud. Paul Giraud, the 7th generation Piraud who guards the heritage of this small family run affair with his father, greeted us and gave a very informative and easy to digest tour followed by an even easier to digest tasting of the full range of his spirits-VSOP, XO, etc.
Prior to lunch at Graines & Garenne with Mayor 'Jacky'we will make a quick stop at La Baume de Bouteville to taste and stock up on their balsamic vinegar.
Construction of the Chateau de Boutveville began in the ninth century and just a few years ago a massive renovation commenced under the loving stewardship of “Jacky” the seven time mayor of this village of 340 souls. It is only open to the public on Wednesdays as part of a guided tour but since hizzoner has the key and will give us an anecdote filled tour. He is larger than life, both physically and in spirit, and is almost worth the visit himself.
Inside or out superb meal awaits us at Graines and Garenne.
Day 3 A Day at Cognac Frapin
History: Established in South-West France since 1270, 21 generations of the Frapin family have been, at first wine growers, and then distillers, and owners of 240 hectares of vineyards in Grande Champagne and expertise handed down from generation to generation.
The Visit: You will discover the secret world of their prestigious family estate. During the 2 1/2 hour visit you will explore the vineyard and distillery that will be exceptionally available to us, then dive into the half-lit atmosphere of the century-old ageing cellars. Halfway through the tour, nestled in the heart of the vineyard, a break at Château Fontpinot will be made to discover the house and the ancestors of the family, including the famous François Rabelais, followed by a cocktail break. You will also find the treasures contained in the paradise cellar. The visit will continue with the discovery of the new museum, cellars and will end with the tasting of 4 cognacs, including our top the range carafe followed by a cognac lunch at the chateau.
The Lunch: Each Frapin cognac has its own aromatic profile, and finding the right balance between acidity, bitterness, sweet and salty is the key to pairing with food, and when done correctly can provide the most wonderful tasting experience. The food should not overpower the cognac and vice versa. To taste, take a sip the cognac, then try the food, and then another taste of the cognac.
Back to la Gare d'Angouleme and the train to Paris.
Limited to Five adventurers
Double Occupancy: 960 euros per person all inclusive except for the train
Single occupancy: 1060 euros all inclusive except for the train
Available to private groups of 5