The 6th of May was again spent mostly just meandering about fairly aimlessly and enjoying the sights of Dijon, a city I did find rather pleasing on the eye. Certainly, I had scored my mustard (my main, if slightly idiotic reason for going there) but the rest was very much in the lap of the Gods. I had seen a beautiful botanical gardens within a stone’s throw of the train station which was also near where I had been staying previously. It had been closed when I had been passing late the evening before so I decided to give it a look and it was an absolute delight. Apart from some beautifully rendered formal gardens and an excellent herb garden, it was superbly laid out and tended and it was perfumed with the scents from the herbs on display in the air. Even on a pretty dismal day (I mentioned the weather had been fairly appalling) it was a lovely place to walk round. Some better than decent statuary and a man-made lake completed the picture. It is also home to the local planeterium which did not appear to be open when I visited.
A very calming and relaxing walk round the gardens and a few images (see the attached) more or less concluded my day upon which I retired to my “tame” bar to continue my beer drinking exploits.
I say it concluded the day but not quite. On the way home I stumbled (probably literally) into a wonderful little bar / restaurant called La Scala, initially just seeking yet another beer. The menu, however, did, take my eye and I was immediately struck by the notion of moules mariniere (mussels in wine) avec (with) frites (chips / fries). This is a perennial favourite.
Having been through Belgium where it is more or less the national dish and not bothered with it (as previously stated, I eat very little) I thought it really was time. Yes,I know Dijon is miles from the sea and the moules had a load of road miles on them but I just fancied it. A quick chat with the barman (again, I was remarkably speaking French) and it all came up, cooked to perfection and tasting every bit as good as I hope the images look.
Yes, I know I bang on about eating local produce and having the regional speciality wherever I am but this really was well cooked and presented, not that there is much presentation needed for such a rustic dish supposedly invented by fishermen on the French / Belgian coast and which they cooked over an open fire on the beach. I’d love to try my admittedly limited culinary skills under such circumstances, that would be a bit of a coup. Cook Moules Marinieres over a fire on a beach a mile from where they were landed, that is proper cooking.
Well satisfied, in every sense of the word I took myself off to bed. Come on, be honest, how bad can it be? I had started this mad jaunt in a fit of black despair thanks the the rightly reviled kaufer but now I was actually beginning to remember why I travelled in the first place.
Still more to come so, as always, stay tuned and spread the word.