An Overnight in Champagne, France

A few weeks ago on our way back from skiing in The Alps, we made a pitstop in Champagne and spent the night to break up our drive back to England. One of the perks of driving from England to France is that you get to enjoy beautiful places along the the way. An added bonus- I get in my fix for stopping in French gas stations – where else in the world could you order fantastic beef bourguignon at a gas station that tastes just as good as one from a 5 star restaurant at home, red wine included (I’m not kidding!!!)? I am also partial to the fruit snacks (like apple sauce) sold in resealable packages that aren’t marketed towards children like in the states, but to adults! The list goes on…
Anyways, things get a bit more exciting when you venture off the motorway and into lovely countryside towns in rural France.  We arrived in Champagne midday and there was only one thing that we all knew we had to do – drink some Champagne!  Staying true to Buggy Designs ethos of Think Pink, Live Green, I was in search of  organic pink champagne and found my Shangri-La at Drappier.
Last year, I joined Harry and his incredibly generous family on a “booze cruise” where we stopped in Champagne to stock up on some bubbly, so we knew just the place to go – Drappier!  Drappier is the perfect place to visit on a rainy and cold day as they offer big comfy couches, a warm fire and a never ending supply of Champagne – heaven!
The history of Drappier goes back to the 12th century when Saint Bernard had an annex to Clairvaux Abbey built in Urville. The vineyard which today surrounds these Cistercian cellars is the pride of Drappier House and the Drappier Family. Pinot Noir grapes rule however there are also some ancient varieties of grapes still being cultivated using organic and natural methods: Arbane, Petite Meslier and Blanc Vrail. Drappier is most proud of their Brut Nature without Sulphur cuvee, quite a feat as making champagne without sulfites is very difficult.
Charles de Gaulle chose Champagne Drappier for his private receptions in Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, where he liked to offer an aromatic and authentic Champagne. Always vintage, the Charles de Gaulle Cuvee is composed of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. I particularly like the bottle design – I like to think Charles de Gaulle sat with us for a drink!
Who could say no to some pink???
H’s lovely parents!
Before leaving, I took one last gulp and toasted with pink to St Bernard!
After drinking our fair share and stocking up on Drappier Champagne to bring home, we headed off to our hotel. If you are looking for a reasonably priced hotel en route to The French/Swiss Alps, conveniently located right off the highway, Val Moret is a great choice (and just down the road from Drappier!). We, along with several other savvy skiers, bookended our ski trip at Val Moret in order to break up our drive back to London. The rooms are not highly decorated, but are welcoming. Surprisingly, the food at the Hotel Restaurant is the real star here. We enjoyed wonderfully authentic French food, served in a style moderne.
Not willing to surrender quite yet to the “after vacation diet”, we had the tasting menu and started with Foie Gras! Followed by a healthy serving of Turbot and veg.
I really appreciate portion sizes in France as I am a committed grazer. Dessert was a lovely and refreshing Passion Fruit Tart and Sorbet. And the piece de resistance — the CHEESE COURSE!!!!
A perfect way to end our trip to France.
If you are interested in buying Drappier Champagne in the states, Sherry-Lehmann in NYC ships to any state in the country that allows the sale of wine to individuals via internet. You can also check with your local wine guy/gal for availability. Chin Chin, sin sin 😉

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