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French Barge Cruise

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French Cuisine Onboard
French Barge Cruise

The ship's dining room.

Photo courtesy of French Country Waterways, Ltd.
Since Burgundy offers a bounty of culinary and wine treasures, the onboard cuisine has a responsibility to live up to the area’s riches. And it does.

Each morning, a staffer heads to an on-shore patisserie to purchase freshly baked croissants, soft baguettes, and buttery, flaky pastries. They’re served with assorted cheeses, savory cold cuts, fruit and eggs. Breakfast is the one meal that is not served communally.

During lunch, giant platters of assorted salads are presented with a quiche and a main meat or chicken dish. That’s followed by a cheese course with a back-story about the history of each. Who knew that citeaux cheese is made by monks from Citeaux Abbey and is lovingly called “holy cheese?” At lunch and dinner at least two wines (typically a red and white) are served along with insightful presentations about origin, history, vintage, and terroir.

The grand pièce de résistance is dinner, which is pure theater. Passengers gather in the dining room and feast on four courses. No dish is ever repeated and the chef masterfully creates everything from soups, mushroom tartes, and elaborate sauces to desserts such as crème brulée and ice cream by himself. Also, while dishes are satisfying; they’re not overly rich. In fact, the chef is careful not to overdo the butter and cream.

While the bathroom may not contain fancy soaps, French Country Waterways doesn’t skimp on wines. The sommelier painstakingly pairs each dish with an appropriate liquid gold. It’s not uncommon to drink the esteemed Chassagne Montrachet premier cru or the Corton Bressandes Grand Cru – sure to impress most wine snobs. At the end of the cruise guests receive the names of all wines served along with dinner.

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