Hi Frugalistas! Reims, and the Champagne region generally is, of course, synonymous with Champagne. But Reims is also a mecca for foodies generally, with great food and drink on offer. Whether you are in Reims for a day trip, or plan on staying longer, it is well worth trying some of the local culinary scene. More than just champagne, here is my guide to eating well in Reims:
What to eat in Reims
While there is no really distinctive Champagnoise cuisine, food in Reims is fantastic. If you are looking for genuine, local cuisine seek out jambon de Reims, a ham dish that is very similar to the jambon persillé of Burgundy (minus the parsley). It makes a delicious entrée (appetiser) or light lunch.
Dessert wise, you are spoiled for choice, with plenty to tempt. For something distinctively Reims, go no further than the famous biscuits roses (pink biscuits). These twice cooked pink biscuits are somewhat similar to an Italian biscotti in style. Originally invented in the 18th century as an accompaniment for champagne, they now find their way into any number of desserts around the city. In three different meals, in three different restaurants, I managed three different biscuits rose desserts! All delicious!
What to drink in Reims
While champagne is definitely the star of the show here, don’t think it’s the only drink on offer. The Champagne region is also home to a deliciously light red wine, Bouzy rouge, that is well worth a try! Sometimes served lightly chilled it is a great wine to enjoy at lunchtime when something lighter is often in order. The addition of Bouzy is also what gives pink champagne its wonderful colour.
If an aperitif is in order, head for the ratifia, a fortified wine made from left over champagne pressings. With a slightly peppery taste it is very different to champagne of course, but is a wonderful aperitif to enjoy with nuts before your meal.
Of course champagne is definitely the star of the show in Reims, and you should try plenty. Most restaurants will offer a good variety of choices by the glass. Whether it is a glass of the house champagne, a small, local producer’s best or a bottle from one of the internationally renowned houses, there is something to please every budget. If you are a champagne drinker, don’t miss the opportunity to try a different brand or a different style to your usual tipple. Ask your waiter if you are unsure what to choose. And drink up – it’s a local wine, so is very frugalfirstclass!
Snacks in Reims
Cruise around the streets, and don’t miss the fantastic gourmet treats that are on offer. Whether it’s a cake that looks like a work of art, an artisan cheese or something fresh and delicious from the market, you won’t be disappointed.
Taking home a souvenir from Reims
Taking home a food or wine souvenir from Reims is easy. Bottles/cases of champagne or Bouzy rouge are an obvious choice to send home.
Biscuits roses can be bought in every possible combination and permutation, and because they are quite firm, should travel well. If you want to try it in a dessert home (biscuits roses ice cream anyone?) you can also buy it powdered and ready to go.
For a classic souvenir with a twist, why not go for a chocolate? Not particularly original on the surface, but when it’s a box of champagne truffles in the shape of champagne corks and champagne bubbles, packaged with the laughing angel from Reims Cathedral on the box, it’s distinctively Reims. What a lovely souvenir or gift……
Reims is a food lovers delight – and is definitely more than champagne!
Author’s note: while in Reims I was a guest of Reims Tourisme.
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