It was my friend Geneviève who started it all. It was really her fault. Had she not shown me her new cookbook about Burgundy gastronomy, I would not have become so curious to want to explore the region. It was full of old and almost forgotten recipes but revisited in a contemporary style. My brain began to go into overdrive.

For those who know, Burgundy is not easy to explore. It’s big, it’s rich, wines, gastronomy, history, food, culture. It’s a world of its own.

The only thing to do was to go and visit the region. But how to meet this challenge? Of course, I could do a lot of serious research, and cook my way through the cookbook, but I needed something different.

There was only one thing to do. Take a map, and a dart from my dart board and throw it. Then, I would simply jump in my Pink Lady and explore and discover the secrets of that area.

I hung the map on the office wall, went and got a dart from the dartboard, closed my eyes, pointed the dart in the general direction and threw. It landed near Beaune, a lucky shot.

A few days later, Geneviève and I sat in a café in Brida and chatted, amongst other things, about my plan.

“I attacked Burgundy,” I said.

“Really, which area did you liberate?” Geneviève replied, taking a sip of her coffee.

“I landed in Beaune.”

“Ooooh! Sounds tempting.”

“Hmm, perhaps, why do you say that?”

“Well, you know, it’s the heart of great food and wine. There is the Hospice, which they call the winemaker’s hospital.”

“Go on…”

“Well, if you go to Beaune, you have to visit the Hospice, the market, the cellar. You can lose a day inside that.”

“Hmm, but I need to eat, and I want to discover the old ways of cooking.”

“You really ought to go to the best restaurant and let yourself be seduced by the local dishes.”

“Any ideas?”

“When you go there, you need to try the boeuf bourguignon, snails, the black currant jelly, the crêtes de coq, and of course, the cheese. Not to mention the wine. Oh, did I mention game?”

“Ah, yes, of course! But what about this Crêtes de Coq thing? Are you telling me I need to try this cockerel comb? It sounds really disgusting!!!”

“It’s a forgotten dish, but still relished by connoisseurs. You won’t find it around much, but you should give it a try, if only for the experience.“

“Hmmm, I think I need to stay there for a few days, don’t you?” “How do you want to get there?”

I picked up my phone, scrolled through the pictures and showed her. “Voilà”, I said, “Meet the Pink Lady.”

“Wow! You want to drive all the way there in that?”

“And, why not?” I asked, in mock indignation. “Can’t a woman have a little bit of fun?”

“Then it will definitely be a crazy trip. You know that it’s quite a drive to Beaune from here.”

“Is that a problem?”

Geneviève paused to think. “No, not if you drive the scenic route.”

“Which is?”

“Well, have you heard of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer?”

“Can’t say I have.”

“It’s a tiny town, medieval, surrounded by town walls. It’s known for its Roma pilgrimage in May. It’s really overcrowded in summer.”

“Best avoided then.”

“But it’s early spring, so you will avoid the crowds. And the town is not an enormous detour for you. You practically have to drive past it. You drive along the coast, and then you can stop there for lunch.”

“OK,” I said, warming up to her plan. “And then I could stay in Arles, Avignon with its Palais des Papes. I need to show off the Pink Lady…”

Geneviève had caught the ball too. “…..and then I have a secret which I can share

with you. There are some really beautiful potteries in a tiny town called Dieulefit.”

“Hmm, so it will take me at least a week to get to Beaune if I travel at that pace.”

“No, two days. Of course, you need to show everybody your Pink Lady.”

“Hmm, there is that, of course.”

“And you have to eat in Lyon.”

“Don’t you think outside the city might be a better idea? I mean, the traffic is pretty bad, non?”

“Well, you need to eat in a Bouchon.”

I laughed, “So, you do mean a traffic jam! No, just joking, you’re right.”

“Yes, you need that traditional Lyonnaise restaurant with a family flair and down-to-earth cooking.”

“Which suits me fine. Nothing fancy wanted here.”

“Then you need to find a place to stay in Beaune.”

“Ah, I actually have that already. I’m going to stay in a Château outside of Beaune.” I said, mimicking airs and graces. “It’s a little on the up-market side. It looks like a beautiful and quiet place.”

“And how do you want to attack Beaune?”

“Ah, I thought I might follow the food. Eat in a restaurant, look for the local suppliers and discover where it all comes from. I want it to be authentic.”

“Which is what I said at the beginning. Sounds great, good luck.”

“Thanks, it will be a blast!”

We continued chatting. But I was beginning to wonder what I was getting myself into.

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