Champagne-Ardenne

Another regular week had passed as we foreign exchange students have settled down completely and got used to the life at UTT. Both classes went well. After class, people may do all kinds of activities. Some would go to town center and taste more food or explore more sights. Some would go to grocery shopping at Carrefour or Leader Price which both are supermarket chain-stores. By the way, Carrefour is very internationally known because you can also see a lot of them in Asia!

Besides the 3-euro big meals at the University Cafeteria, a kebab shop has become a favorite. There are a lot of Turkish people in Europe, and therefore you can see a lot of kebab shops. So this kebab shop is just 5 minute walk away from our residence. For 5 euros, you can get a kebab full of bbq meat and lettuce with potato fries on the side plus one can of soft drink.

This weekend we were organized to visit the Champagne-Ardenne region which is like a district or province in north eastern France. Troyes is the capital of Aube, and Aube is a sub-department or sub-district of Champagne-Ardenne.

We set out Saturday morning and reached a restaurant around noon. The restaurant is very French country like as the decorations and setup inside were very neat. The meal was great too as there were appetizer wine, appetizer salad with bread, a glass of traditional wine, roast chicken as main course, a dish of cheese inevitably, a dessert cake, and finally a very small cup of espresso. French coffee is usually served in a very small cup, but it still does its job!

After the lunch, we went for our main activity today – visiting a champagne cellar. The company building was built, of course, around grape trees. After entering the building, we were soon led into the underground where the champagne cellars were. So yea, hundreds of thousands of wine bottles lied neatly underground not surprisingly. However, there were for champagne, which would be a little bit different from wine. Champagne needed to experience a second fermentation to produce carbon dioxide to therefore to produce bubbles. According to a rule, a minimum of 1.5 years is required to completely develop all the flavors. The bottles were also needed to be manipulated usually manually so that the lees will be settled in the neck of the bottles. Under the ground, there were also huge tanks and machines for the production of champagne.

After getting out of the cellars, we got to taste champagnes! Well, they tasted very nice serving chill. We also had the chance to taste different kinds of champagne, but the flavor did not strike too differently to me. The dryness of champagne matters a lot though. To me, I would prefer a less dry champagne, because dryness makes me feel more thirsty. Remember that champagnes are exclusively products produced in the champagne region of France, “champagnes” produced in any other places cannot be called champagnes!

Our final stop was visiting a castle. To me, the size of it is not a castle, but rather a private mansion. But this castle has witnessed more than five hundred years of history. It was exciting that our coach had to drive through a very small and forestry road to get there, and the weather was thunderstorm which added more excitement, haha.

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