One of the only cuisines in the world to be named on UNESCO’s World Intangible Heritage list, it’s no secret that French gastronomy is revered worldwide. And it’s not just the classic Gallic dishes themselves, or the cooking techniques behind them, that have led to its acclaim. UNESCO’s experts in fact singled out French cuisine because it is so firmly embedded within the national culture – an unshakeable and time-honoured tradition which extends from pairing food with wine, to dressing the table and, most importantly, bringing friends and family together around a dinner table.
As such, it seems fitting that a French cruise line should place a firm emphasis on its food and wine offering. Luxury French fleet PONANT not only has a strong gastronomical focus onboard its small ships – think specialty breads and sweet pastries from gourmet French patisserie Maison Lenôtre, as well as vintage wines by the glass from eminent Parisian wine cellar Maison Taillevent – but it also offers cruising itineraries that are tailored solely around the pleasures of good food and wine.
The cruise line’s Gastronomy, Vineyards & Grand Crus trip, run in partnership with French wine estate investor, Artemis Domaines is one such example. Departing Lisbon, Portugal, on April 13, 2019, and arriving in Portsmouth, England, on April 22, 2019, the voyage will take in some of Europe’s most sought-after food and wine regions. From visiting the so-called world capital of wine, Bordeaux, to the famous Château Latour winery in France’s Medoc wine region, and sampling Portugal’s moreish pasteis de nata, or custard tarts, there are numerous food and wine-focused ports of call, many of which are inaccessible to other, larger ships.
Guests onboard luxury small ship L’Austral for this 10-day itinerary can also enjoy the expertise of two leading figures in French food and wine, with lecturers Jean-Robert Pitte and Bernard Antony imparting their wisdom through organised talks on the journey. The former has published numerous books on gastronomy and wine and has chaired the Académie du vin de France, or French Academy of Wine, since 2011. The latter is one of the most renowned cheese ripeners in the world, entrusted to devise cheese boards for nineteen three-star Michelin restaurants, and his Alsace boutique is frequented by none other than royalty (such as Prince Albert of Monaco).
For more details on PONANT's voyages across the globe, visit au.ponant.com.