Eating in France is a celebration, not just of the food, but of the culture.
Here, cooking is a refined art form with even the most humble ingredients combining to create sumptuous dishes. And there is no better example than the nation’s signature soup. A robust onion and beef broth enhanced by herbs, Gruyère cheese and the obligatory baguette typifies this cuisine that has its roots firmly in peasant staples.
Travelling through France enjoying its spectacular scenery, rich history and alluring culture is always a parallel journey of culinary discovery – the bustling street markets and busy boulangeries, the fromageries and patisseries, food is an integral part of the French experience.
And there’s no better way to enjoy this gastronomic wonderland than by following its fabled waterways that pass by mighty historic cities and former fortresses, charming tiny villages, hamlets, vineyards and farms.
Acclaimed river cruise specialists, Scenic offers luxury journeys on the Seine, Rhone and Saone rivers taking in stunning regions like Bordeaux and Chalon-sur-Saone.
Held in select locations throughout France onboard Scenic Sapphire and Scenic Diamond, the exclusive Scenic Culinaire program is tailored to embrace and showcase the magnificence of French food using the finest of local ingredients with private on board cooking demonstrations with Scenic chefs.
As the chef demonstrates various cooking techniques, a live camera captures all the action and displays it on an overhead video monitor so no one has to worry about missing the nuance of a slice, a stir or a pinch. Naturally, tastings are the best part of the experience!
The joy of French cuisine is not limited to the all-inclusive restaurants and onboard cooking classes either.
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On Scenic’s 14-day Spectacular South of France cruise and tour from Paris to Marseille for example, guests visit local farmers just outside Tournus. Here you’ll take part in a traditional truffle hunt with the hounds specially trained to sniff out the highly sought-after delicacy.
Lyon is widely considered to be the gastronomic heart of France and it’s here you can visit the exclusive culinary institute of Paul Bocuse to perfect the art of Gallic cooking learning from master chefs.
A little further south in delightful Provence, it’s the earthy vegetables that reign supreme here. Home to the rich and fragrant ratatouille, there’s a distinctly homely touch to the regional fare. Provencal cooking is charactered by its generous use of herbs and olive oils.
And with its close proximity to the sea, traditional fish dishes such as Brandade de Morue – salt cod with olive oil served with bread or potatoes – can be found on many local menus.
Other highlights include a guided walk of Tain L’Heritage which includes a stop at Valrhona Chocolates in Tournon and a visit to the aromatic Lavender Museum for lavender cookies in Ardeche.
When you think of Bordeaux, bold fruity reds produced in the region are usually top of mind but there is a range of delicious dishes to match the world famous wines.
On the 12-day Breathtaking Bordeaux cruise and tour from Paris to Bordeaux, sample delicate foie gras. A delicacy in France, it’s a must-try when visiting. Enjoy a tasting at a charming local farm before heading back to the ship for a Scenic Culinaire demonstration using this finest of ingredients.
In the town of Cadillac, join local truffle hunters in the surrounding forest as you search for this treasured and elusive subterranean treat. In Bordeaux, join the ship’s chef on land as you discover the locally-sourced ingredients being used in the evening’s menu.
In Arcachon, take a sweet diversion with an on board chocolate and wine-pairing event. But it’s the seafood that will be the star of the evening’s dining with fresh local oysters and rich dishes like bouillabaisse.
So, pack your stretchy pants with your appetite in France and let Scenic entertain your taste buds like never before.
Scenic’s France river cruise brochure
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