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.
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.
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.)
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.)
Next: The medieval village of Viviers and a truffle farm