The Rhone River - from the 'wild' Tournon side

The Rhone River – from the ‘wild’ Tournon side

Day One of the Real Cruise.  We docked at Tain-L’Hermitage and Tournon, two towns spanning the Rhone River, both known for their Syrah vines (and wines, of course.). We learned from the local guide that one side of the river (Tain-L’Hermitage) is warmer and sunnier than the other and that people on the Tournon side of the river are wilder than their countrymen on the Tain side.  Being cold and dark will do that to you.

Roger being warm and sunny

Roger being warm and sunny

We were promised a walk in the vineyards which we were unable to accomplish because all of the tunnel passages (under the railroad tracks) to the vineyards were blocked by stalled construction projects.  (What?  In France??  Sacre bleu!). So, we decamped to the ‘wild’ side of the river (Whoo-eeee!) and had a little wine and goat cheese tasting at this tower.

A walk on the wild side

A walk on the wild side

Once the excitement died down, we returned to what was, to me, the REAL attraction of this area – the Valrhona Chocolate factory.image

I am an avowed chocoholic.  And I don’t differentiate between milk and dark – I’m a chocolate junkie.  The Valrhona tasting room was my nirvana.  Much the same as at a wine tasting, all of the chocolates were labeled as to ingredients and likely taste and texture nuances.  You weren’t encouraged to spit between samples.  You were encouraged to try as many as you could conceivably shove in your mouth.  And shove.  And shove.  (And, yes, I know you can find Valrhona chocolates in the US, but I’ve never seen the astounding variety of chocolates there as I did here.)

Signpost of my dreams

Signpost of my dreams

We tried to exercise restraint (Rog was much more successful than I), but we walked back to the ship weighed down with a shopping bag of Valrhona’s best (or maybe their worst.   Or their mediocre.  Like I said – I’m nearly indiscriminate when it comes to good chocolate. (Please note, I did say GOOD chocolate.  I’m not a barbarian.)

Ship weighed down with chocolate tonnage

Ship weighed down with chocolate tonnage

Next:  The medieval village of Viviers and a truffle farm

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4 Responses to Chocolate!

  1. Marilyn May 23, 2016 at 10:15 pm #

    Why do we feel the need to have anything other than wine and chocolate?

  2. Nancy Martin May 24, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

    Sounds Like A Fabulous time. Keep up the entertaining commentary

  3. Rosemarie Limberis May 25, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

    Elaine – I didnt think i could love you more, but how did we miss our mutual love of chocolate? Living vicariously through your amazing journey, and now dealing with a huge hankering for some melt in your mouth chocolate. BTW…my favorite is Leonidas which is named for a Greek hero (we almost named Luke in his honor) and i had it for the first time in Belgium. So incredible!

  4. celie kennedy May 26, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

    Ohhh! WIne, good chocolate, and the wild side. That’s for me!

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