Monday, May 4, 2015

From Bugey Into The Jura

      On Saturday morning, after cleaning our gite we left Ambleon and drove to the big weekly market in Belley. It was a very large, busy market through the streets of the center of town, and we checked out all the vendors. We bought goat cheese from 3 different local producers, including one that we had visited on De Ferme en Ferme weekend and one that we had bought cheese from the prior Sunday at the fete in Lhuis.
Au Revoir Bugey
       After leaving the Belley market we drove straight to our next gite, in the village of Saligney in the Jura departement. We had spent a week in the Jura 5 years ago, in the more southerly, wine-producing area, but this time we were staying in the far northern part of the departement. Unlike the southern part of the Jura and the area we stayed in the first week of this trip, the northern Jura and surrounding regions have little or no wine production, although it's only about a one hour drive to the heart of the Jura wine area. Plus, we bought so much wine the first week that it's just as well we're not tempted by nearby wine producers. This way we can try to drink up a lot of the Savoie and Bugey wines we brought with us.

     While this area isn't known for wine production, there\s certainly plenty of cheese made here, mostly cow cheese. When we arrived at our gite, the owners presented us with a bottle of Jura wine, plus huge wedges of two well-known two local cheeses – Comte and Morbier.. Suddenly, our cheese supply had reached the level of our wine supply.

     After unpacking, we decided to take a short drive to the village of Pesmes, classified among Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (Most Beautiful Villages of France). It started raining when we got there, but we nevertheless took a short stroll around the village. We managed to take a few pictures despite the rain, but decided to come back another day and take a more leisurely walk around town. Back at the gite we continued to try to make our way through the wines we had brought from the last region. A particularly outstanding wine was a sparkling Montagnieu that we had picked up at Domaine Peillot in the Bugey. Made from Chardonnay, Mondeuse and Roussette, the wine could have been mistaken for a Champagne, except that it was better than half the Champagnes I've had and a fraction of their price.
View of Ognon River From Pesmes
Alley in Pesmes

      On Sunday morning we decided to go to the city of Besancon in the Doubs departement. We needed to pick up some provisions, and while there were no weekly markets nearby, Bescancon has an indoor market hall that is open every day except Monday. While Bescancon is quite large, since it was Sunday, navigating the roads into town was not a problem, and we parked outside the center and walked into the central part of the city. The market hall was quite amazing. There were butchers, vegetable vendors, breads and other baked good, a couple of fishmongers, and 3 cheese vendors, each of which probably had a better selection than any cheese shop I've been to in the U.S. While we held off on buying cheese until later in the week when we plan to return, we bought a number of other things, including the regional Morteau smoked sausages, and three types of ravioli – eggplant, ham, and mushroom.

     After leaving Bescanson we drove back to our gite and had a simple lunch on the outdoor terrace. We had several cheeses and a salad, and a bottle of white Jongieux from Domaine Chevallier Bernard in the Savoie. White Jongieux is made from the Jacquere grape, which can make a very bland wine, but when done properly it can be superb. This wine was outstanding, with a floral nose and a lot of flavor. As a bonus, it was 11% alcohol, which helps when you're having it at lunch.

    Later in the afternoon we drove back to Pesmes, and this time the weather was more cooperative. We again took a walk around the village, but this time we could take more photos.



  1. So beautiful - all of it! Thanks for sharing the trip with us.

  2. Lovely! Pesmes reminds me a bit of St. Hilaire.