Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 06, 2011: Tain l'Hermitage - Bus Trip, Voiron, Car Trip, Chocolate, Wine

A new location today because we went on a road trip! I started the day by taking the Trans Isère bus to our meeting point in Voiron. This was my first time taking Trans Isère, so it was useful to get that figured out - these buses go further afield than the local TAG system, and we might want to use them to get to some hiking locations in the future.

From Voiron three carloads of people from the Sweet Home Grenoble group headed out, about an hour away, to Tain l'Hermitage. Our first stop was for a wine tasting at Cave de Tain, one of many wineries in the region. I don't think any of us were bowled over by what we tried (as some of the Australians in the group pointed out, the French taste is for fairly subtle, balanced flavours), but I bought a bottle nonetheless, so that Mark could feel like he'd had some participation in the day.

Then we had out in the sun at the riverside Nice Cafe. I had the salad La Corsica, which was an enormous plate with quadrants of different ingredients on a bed of lettuce: jambon cru, tomato, sun-dried tomato, a tiny (quail?) hard-boiled egg, couscous with raisins, corn, carrots, and feta cheese. It was delicious and filling. Luckily I had almost two hours to munch away at it. I also had kir for the first time, a popular apéritif, made with cassis liqueur and white wine. All in all it felt like a very summery lunch.

After lunch we walked down the riverside to the famous Valrhona chocolate store. There was chocolate madness in the store - free samples of all the different kinds of chocolates, a multitude of options for purchase, enticing Easter displays and lots of freebies with purchase. The town itself seemed fairly sleepy, but it was hopping inside the store.

And that was it: wine, lunch, chocolate. A perfect day.

The winery

Wisteria starting to bloom. Look closely - there's a cat asleep on top of the pillar.

Lunch - photo courtesy of Linda, our fearless organizer.

A strangely stark garage - no cars, just two pairs of tires lined up symmetrically at the entrance.

Cherry blossoms by the river.

A footbridge and distant vineyards on the slopes.

Mmm. Valrhona Chocolate. 

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