Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011: Voiron - Chocolates, Market, Lunch, Chocolates, Chartreuse

Today was a trip with the Sweet Home Grenoble group to Voiron. Even though, population-wise, it's a town, Voiron has many large institutions: a beautiful church, famous chocolate shop, one of the largest markets in the region on Wednesdays, and a famous distillery.

We stopped in at Bonnat Chocolatier, which was established in 1884. We planned to shop later in the day - for now we enjoyed a quick look around the shop, the amazing Easter displays, and sat down for a cup of chocolat chaud (so good!).

Then we walked through the market. A friendly vendor offered us free samples of the fried frog's legs (yes, they did taste like chicken) and we chatted with him for a while in English.

We had a leisurely lunch, sitting in a back-yard patio. And after we visited the Chartreuse distillery, where the traditional liqueur, an "elixir of life" made of a complex recipe of mountain herbs developed by monks, is made. We had a tour and then a tasting. It's strong stuff, with something of a medicinal smell (which makes sense for an elixir of life). I suppose it's an acquired taste. I only bought some of the liqueur-filled candies, since I didn't want to commit to a whole bottle.

And then we were back to Bonnat to make our purchases. I got a lovely little tin filled with squares of chocolate made from beans from various suppliers around the world.

And that was it - another beautiful sunny day in France, another historic village, another market, another chocolate shop. And it's still just as satisfying.

Church of St Bruno - an 1800s church, financed by donations from the Carthusian monks. They saved money with some of the exterior decoration by using the "gray gold" (concrete) from Grenoble.

I love the multicoloured roofing tiles and the pattern they make - like dressing your cathedral in argyle.

Guess what this bank logo is? (I'll put the answer at the bottom of this page)

All kinds of fancy chickens for sale at the market

Frog's legs!

Candied fruit (I think the mysterious green ones might be rhubarb - right size and shape although the colour is completely unnatural)

Huge chocolate egg at Bonnat

Chocolate hens lined up for sale

Aging barrels lined up at the Chartreuse Distillery - a truly enormous underground room (the longest liquor cellar in the world!) that was used to host a dinner for the nearby 1968 Grenoble Olympics

 A recreation of a Chartreuse monk checking on the liquor

[The answer to the bank logo is: a squirrel!]

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