11:27PM | Bussière-sur-Ouche | France
Croissants and coffee this morning on the Place Carnot, Beaune’s central square. We head south mid morning through the Côte d’Or and out the St. Aubin valley to the Chateau de la Rochepot. The castle dates from the 13th century, and was carefully and lovingly restored in the 19th century by a local family. Rochepot boasts classic Burgundian tiled roofs, a bright and sunny courtyard, and a 230 foot well through solid rock dug entirely by hand in 1228.
Lunch back in Beaune — escargots, aligoté — then a stroll through the streets and an exquisite raspberry tart. Back in the car, we head west through beautiful rolling hills full of poppies and white Charolais cattle. The road leads us through dark forests, past tiny stone towns, and a stretch along the picturesque Burgundy canal.
The Abbaye de la Bussière, our home for the next two nights, is a magnificent property, with beautiful gothic buildings and impeccably tended grounds. Once a summer retreat for the wealthy bishops of nearby Dijon, the main buildings have been converted from an Abbey dating to 1131, and the inside of the building is extraordinary. Stained glass and stone staircases adorn the reception hall, and the one-star dining room is in an open two-story atrium with stone columns and a blacony.
We check in and take a walk around the grounds, which include an old mill wheel, stables, bee hives, a functioning winery and cave, a 12th century underground chapel, and a lake swimming with beavers and geese. We find a boat and take a quick spin around the lake, before returning to the main property for an afternoon on the lawn.
Dinner is an exceptional eight course tasting menu, with too many details to name. Highlights include a creamy and whipped Abbaye de Citeaux cheese dish, roasted pigeon on a bed of puréed peas, and a sous-vide unnamed saltwater fish with kale juice as a garnish. Macon from Louis Michel, unusually dense Savigny 1er cru from an unknown vigneron, and a rosé Champagne from Leroy Duval are among the several memorable wines.