This is the first article entitled a theme: We Travel and We Cook.
There are a lot of people writing about where to go and where to eat, however the culture of cooking food by yourself seems to be missing somewhere. We have been passionate about cooking for some time since we were students working part time in Chinese restaurant. Being budget travellers, we reflected on our recent years’ travels and we found the common themes: buying local produces and cooking food on my holidays. Visiting the local fresh food market also helps to get a sense of how local people live and eat. Quite often we have some wonderful conversations with them too. It is hoped that this series of article might inspire others who consider cooking when you travel on a holiday.
In July 2015 we went to Bordeaux for a week. France has been one of our favourite countries (OK, we love Italy, Spain and Germany too): very accessible from UK, fabulous food and drink culture and somehow much better weather condition than UK. We visited Paris, South of France (Nice), River (Monet Garden), Le Man and this time “H” chose Bordeaux.
Bordeauxis well-known as a world class wine producing area. It is also a place that had a major development to the seafront area and it is also a host of 2006 World Expo. Bordeaux is also full of wonderful architecture with both ancient buildings and modern design. When people come to Bordeaux, especially wine lovers, will surely go to St Emilion too. None of us is fanatic about red wine, although we love to drink, we also like to go to St Emilion because of its World Heritage status. In France fresh oyster is very popular, Gujan-Mestras is a nearby town where produces fresh oysters, together with Archachon that is well known for the highest sand dune in Europe – it has already sounded like a good literary.
If travelling in a budget and still enjoying yourself are part of your plan, I recommend John and Heather travel blog, we follow a few tips from their recent visit to Bordeaux and they work well. Full details can be found in A DIY Day Trip from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion, France.
We visited fresh food market in Bordeaux twice and Saturday was a better day as there were more stalls open. Of course we bought some fresh oysters and brought them back to our accommodation to eat. There are two types: The first type is nice looking shape that are usually served for eating them fresh, they are sold in different sizes (1 – 5). The second type is not so good looking in shapes but still good for cooking. The latter type is as big as size 2 but 50% cheaper in price.
There are lots of fresh vegetables but the ones that caught our eyes were these Chinese vegetables. We never come across them as fresh as those in this market.
Most of the bakeries are superb but La Fabrique Paris et Brioches is highly recommended and we weren’t disappointed at all.
One of the dishes we wouldn’t recommend to eat in Bordeaux is Sushi. Normally we would, but not at there. We found their presentation wasn’t good, the fishes didn’t look very fresh but the price was still high.
Many people commented about the cost of travel in Bordeaux could be expensive, we found a Factory Discount Outlet by the river front on Quai des Chartrons that sold big labels at good price. We certainly picked up a few bargains there ourselves. What’s more, there is also fresh oyster stall nearby.
Sight seeing: Bordeaux, St Emilion, Archachon & Gujan-Mestras.
Many people visited St Emilion for its wine, we did too but we also interested about its culture as it was granted the UNESCO World Heritage Status. Once again John and Heather gives an impressive guide and all we want to add is making sure you spare time for the tour to underground church. It is suggested that over 1 million visitors come to there, only 10% see this historic site. It is simply brilliant.
Before going to Archachon for the highest sand dune in Europe, pop-in Gujan-Mestras and learn about oyster in the Oyster Museum. Don’t forget to eat some at the nearby store too. They are relatively cheaper than Bordeaux and you can’t get any fresher than them as they just get them by the sea.
Archachon beach is very pleasant. The beach offers shower facilities but no changing room, so get ready prior to the visit. The sand dune is awesome, not just for thrill junkies but I also see family with kids are climbing up to the dune too. Visiting Archachon from Bordeaux is very convenience by train, service is very often and the trains are in condition than our ones in the UK. Buy your tickets from the office would be better as the ticket machines doesn’t programme for one day return at the saver rate.
As usual we wish we could have stayed longer. The variety of activity, quality of food and drink, the culture and the peacefulness are key attractions of Bordeaux and its surrounding area. No matter what you are after in your holiday, you would surely find something you like here.