Join Sacha Laurin, cheesemaker extraordinaire, for a unique journey through the cheese capitals of Northern France. Upon convening at the unique artistic boutique Hotel Roma Thursday evening for a cheese and wine welcome reception, your hands-on education and sensory delight begin on Day 2, Friday, with a visit to Paris' cheese caves and picnic lunch under the Eiffel Tower. The afternoon and evening will be spent in the sister villages of Butry-sur-oise and Auvers-sur-oise, first touring the goat farm Chèvrerie du Bouc Vert (
) followed by visiting Vincent Van Gogh's last home in the spectacular artist village of Auvers-sur-oise, where many choices for dining are available before returning the 17 miles back to Paris in the evening (
Day 3, Saturday, we will travel by car to Brie, accompanied by Sacha's husband Erik who will also be your host, having spent 15 years discovering the French cheese crawl with Sacha. After visiting an artisan goat farm and creamery in Valence-en-Brie, we will picnic at Chatelet-en Brie at the Chateau des Dames. We'll spend the afternoon visiting the medieval Chateau Fort of Blandy, local farms and creameries including la Ferme des Courcelles in Tournan-en-Brie and watch the evening milking of the cows before finishing the evening at the centuries-old castle Vaux-le-Vicomte evening by candlelight.
Day 4, Sunday, we will visit the local Paris farmers market, and then spend the afternoon at the magical Chantilly castle, with a private afternoon tour in English. We will return to Paris via a beautiful goat farm La Ferme de Chauvry, arriving back in the city in time for a free choice evening for dining and seeing Paris by night.
Day 5. Monday, our grand finalé and last day of our cheese adventure, will be spent travelling further north into Picardie where we will meet the celebrated cheesemaker Anselme Beaudoin, owner of la Crèmerie de la Chappelle St Jean, in Grémévilliers, visit his cheese caves and farm store before visiting the exquisite Geberoy, the famous medieval village of the roses where we will enjoy a sumptuous meal. We'll be back in Paris in time for last minute shopping and sight seeing.
A note about meals and wine:
Although meals are not included, there will be a combination of non expensive village restaurant meals and "potluck" picnic style lunch options that will minimize cost and maximize ambiance, cheese adventure and healthy simple "gastronomie". Complimentary wine and cheese tastings will be incorporated into the schedule every day, usually in the evening, but will not constitute a full meal (unless you enjoy light night snacking as your meal). Restaurant recommendations will also be available, and when eating as a group, paying cash is always appreciated in France as they usually do not accept multiple credit cards for one table. Lunches will be a personal choice of informal group picnics or local restaurants. Coolers (and picnic blankets) will be available for bringing/purchasing culinary farm to fork delights (emphasis on cheese!) on the day trips.
Sacha Laurin is on the faculty of the Cheese School of San Francisco and is Head Cheesemaker for Winters Cheese in Winters, CA. She has an absolute passion for artisan cheesemaking after living in France, between Chantilly and Brie for 15 years. Native to Australia, Davis, CA is now her home and launchpad for teaching cheesemaking throughout northern California and continuing her study of cheesemaking and affinage. She has participated in programs and courses at UC Davis, Cal Poly, and the University of Vermont. Sacha is passionate about France, speaks fluent French and loves to make, eat, breathe, teach, travel and learn about all things cheese.
About Erik: Erik is an emergency physician at UCDavis, whose passion is travelling the world, making wine, and enjoying Sacha's cheese adventures with her! They are thrilled to be able to show you an extremely unique, first of its kind hidden glimpse French cheese adventure that most people could only dream of!
Prerequisite for the trip: you must be crazy about French cheese, love picnics, and have lots of passion and energy for the French cheese back country, castles and cheese caves!