When it comes to cooking, most people would agree that the French do it best. French food words pepper our language: à la carte, aperitif, haute cuisine, bon appétit… it’s no wonder that French gastronomy was added to the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ list by UNESCO in 2010.
What better way to celebrate the delights of fine French cuisine than to experience it as you drift along the serene waterways of Southern France? Our culinary cruise along the Canal du Midi aboard the luxurious hotel barge Enchanté immerses you in the rich gastronomic history of this beautiful region while allowing you to indulge your taste buds.
The Enchanté is a luxurious, double-decker hotel barge that can be home to up to eight guests on each cruise. As well as providing all the modern comforts such as air conditioning, WiFi and an on-deck spa pool in a relaxing and contemporary setting, the barge is the perfect place to savour an authentic French gastronomic experience.
You can watch the world drift as you enjoy a chilled glass of wine from Minervois or Corbières on the spacious sundeck, or perhaps sit by the demonstration galley to watch your own personal master chef prepare the next gourmet meal from the freshest of local ingredients.
Discovering and Tasting Delicacies
As you wind your way along the captivating Canal du Midi, this culinary cruise also gives you the opportunity to disembark and discover the secrets of many local French specialities. One day you will be taken to the nearby forests of the Minervois hills to partake in the ancient art of cavage, or truffle hunting, before being invited to taste ‘the diamond of the kitchen’, or the white truffle yourself. Then, during the afternoon cruise our onboard chef will demonstrate how to prepare it.
Truffles are not the only delicacies that you will be able to follow ‘from farm to fork’. Guests are invited to discover the story of Petit Gris escargots (land snails), to visit the olive oil press at l’Oulibo and try their tapenades or olive oils, and to taste the difference between mature and young goats’ cheeses at the Combebelle goat farm.
Learning from the Masters
Our culinary cruise is not just a tasting experience; it is about learning from passionate producers and gastronomists. On another day you will tour the bustling indoor food market of Narbonne, where your chef will be on hand to make suggestions and help you select delicious fresh produce for your dinner that evening.
There will also be a cooking class at a special place alongside the canal, where a knowledgeable local chef will teach you how to cook up seasonal ingredients in a traditional recipe, but with a modern twist. What better way to enjoy the fruits of your labour than to eat it together on the canalside with a glass or two of local wine as you watch the sun glint off the ripples of the water?
If you’re a keen foodie who is interested in the process of preparing fresh food as well as eating it, a hotel barge cruise through one of the loveliest regions of the world’s food capital is one experience that you really have to tick off your bucket list.