Body and soul of a prestigious land...
In Troyes, Historic Capital of Champagne, the nearest vineyard is about ten kilometres away (Montgueux), so it would be a sacrilege to talk of gastronomy without mentioning the famous sparkling nectar of the region, Champagne!
It is not well known that the Aube is the 2nd largest producing département of five of Champagne, after the Marne. The actual Champagne appellation vineyards planted and in production cover 6,500 hectares and supply a fifth of the production, with a potential of 50 million bottles, of which 6,3000,000 are produced by winegrowers and winemakers of the Aube.
The 59 communes of the appellation are for the most part concentrated in the south of the département the length of the “Cotes des Bar” (from the Celtic “Bar”, meaning peak), between Bar-sur-Seine and Bar-sur-Aube, with a prolongation onto the slopes of Montgueux that overlook Troyes and, and to the northwest near Villenaxe-la-Grande.
For the best view of them, take the Champagne Tourist Route from Bar-sur-Aube to Bar-sur-Seine to the region of Riceys (that also produces the famous rosé des Riceys). The route passes through charming towns and villages where you can stop and taste in the cellars. There are also many visits such as the Abbey of Clairvaux, Bayel Crystal, the wine centre at Essoyes and the Nigoland leisure park at Dolancourt.
The Champagne Tourist Route has its own signposting system and the winegrowers there are ready with their welcome.
Some of them display the sign “point d’accueil” (reception point), attributed by a jury of professionals in the tourism and wine industries. For the visitor it is a guarantee of quality: for the welcome, the equipment and the explanations given.
The Champagne Festival in the Aube is organised each year, usually around the end of July.
It takes place successively over a weekend in the major areas and villages in the Champagne sector.
Its special feature: the “passport” tasting glass that can be bought that allows you to visit and taste for free throughout the weekend.
Champagne and its containers
There are eleven kinds of container for this very special wine.
The first 5 are the best-known: eighth, quarter, half-bottle, bottle (75cl) and the magnum (equalling 2 bottles).
But it is often difficult to remember the names or the contents of the other bottles that only tend to appear on special occasions.
- Jéroboam = 4 bottles
- Founder and 1st sovereign of Israel (931-910 BC)
- Réhoboam = 6 bottles
- Proper name given to the expertise of the Champagne monasteries
- Mathusalem=8 bottles
- Biblical patriarch known for his longevity (969 years…)
- Salmanazar =12 bottles
- King of Syria (859-924 BC) son of AssourNasirpal
- Balthazar = 16 bottles
- Regent of Babylon, son of Nabonide (…539 BC)
- Nabuchodonosor = 20 bottles
- King of Babylon (605-562 BC)