Courban to Menthon St.Bernard, Lake Annecy

Having throughly enjoyed our stopover at the heavenly Château Courban First Nights Stop we headed off on the next leg of our fourth food and wine tour. The first couple of hours are fairly unremarkable as you pick up the autoroute and head south east along on the A5 and then south on the A31 towards Dijon. 

Being a wine tour this was never going to be about getting from A to B by the quickest route more an opportunity to deviate from that route if the opportunity arises to visit an interesting wine area or town. The scenery started to become more interesting as we picked up the A39 just south east of Dijon and we realised that we were only about 30 mins away from Arbois in the Jura mountains.  Arbois the First AOC wine in the World link will tell you more about the wines of the area which we sampled on a tasting in the town.

I really would recommend allowing more time here as we had left Courban later than planned and so only had an hour and a half for this important stop over. In addition to the wine tasting at Domaine Jacques Tissot we also had time to take a refreshment stop at Chocolat Hirsinger which is on the opposite side of the square to Domaine Jacques Tissot. 

As well as being a fine chocolatier, these guys also excel in French patisserie. So we indulged in 2 cafe au laits a divine caramelised pecan nut praline tart and a courgette and Gruyere mini quiche. A really nice touch and probably a great marketing ploy is that they serve you one of their rich chocolate ganache truffles complimentary with your coffee. OMG they were probably one of the best chocolates I have ever tasted! Rich and silky smooth on the inside with a harder exterior that hold the soft filling together and with an intensity that you can savour long after you’ve swallowed! 

If it hadn’t been for the high temparature in the car then we’d have definitely indulged in a box to take away!

With Lake Annecy in our sights and with our plan to arrive in time for dinner we set off from Arbois with a definite plan to return on another tour and spend more time there. At this point we had the option to just pick up the autoroute again and get to Annecy about half an hour quicker or switch the sat nav to most direct route and head straight over the top of the Jura towards Lake Geneva! I’m guessing you probably know which route we took! 

What a drive, the roads were quiet, there were no tolls and we were rewarded with some of the most stunning alpine views, at some points we drove along single track roads with only the sound of cow bells in a nearby field as our soundtrack.

We passed through the ski resorts which seemed almost in reverse hibernation waiting to spring to life at the falling of the first snow and then through Morbier famous for its cheese of the same name which has a distinctive layer of ash in the middle. Shortly afterwards we hit the Swiss border and the architecture changes dramatically as you pass through the customs point.

Whilst you see a few Swiss style chalets in the ski resorts on the French side as you head to the border, once in Switzerland they are the rule! Driving through picture box villages we headed east down the mointain and were rewarded yet again with stunning views of Lake Geneva.

More industrialised than we imagined we left Lake Geneva behind and set off for the French Border again. As dusk fell we arrived at Lake Annecy and our next stop at the Palace de Menthon in Menthon St.Bernard.

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