The word Cognac generally conjures up visions of snifters and plumes of cigar smoke rising from a Chesterfield armchair. But Cognac is also the name of a historic and beautiful town, just north of the famed Bordeaux wine region, in the southwest of France. Packed with things to do and see, Cognac is definitely an ideal addition to a stay in the area. A modest little village for centuries, things changed for Cognac in the middle of the 20th century when it became a thriving centre of commercial activity thanks to its river port, the salt and wine trades and finally cognac (eau-de-vie).
Covering nearly 75,000 hectares (over 180,000 acres), the vineyards of Cognac spread out over the Charente and Charente-Maritime "departments". This is where the famous eau-de-vie of the same name was born, rich with the deep aromas of hundreds of years of history: old buildings, romanesque art, gallo-roman remains and culinary traditions.
The Charente river flows through the town of Cognac, beneath the castle where François 1st was born in 1494. Then following the cobbled streets in the old town, visitors arrive at the town center which boasts one of the most picturesque covered markets in the region. This is probably where many of the local chefs pick up their ingredients for the delightful restaurants you will find in the area.
Let us take you to meet one of these chefs. Start the day by heading over to a small village located between the towns of Cognac & Jarnac in the heart of the countryside. Here you will learn the meaning of terroir and how cuisine can become an ambassador of a certain art-de-vivre and tradition, of values and respect. You will discover a richness of flavour through good food and wine.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted by the chef with coffee: take a seat to discuss the menu of the day. Then push up your sleeves, tie your apron and follow the directions of the chef as you prepare a 3-course gourmet lunch: peel, chop, slice... you will learn how to achieve the perfect result with his help.
Late morning, to reward yourself for your hard work, enjoy an aperitif before you sit down for lunch to taste your preparations. The meal will be paired with French wines, commented by the sommelier!
A fun morning for all foodies!