There’s something very special about experiencing great food and wine in the very place it was produced. Nowadays, modern logistics can do great things and get you wine and food from almost anywhere, wherever you live. But there’s a certain je ne sais pas about going to the actual (and spiritual) home of great food and wine—Burgundy—and smelling the freshness with your own senses, feeling the zing on your palate. Experiences matter, and the best linger on in the imagination years after they ended. That’s always been the mission of Dennis and Ellie as they welcome visitors at their baronial manor house in the heart of Burgundy – the spectacular Domaine de Cromey.
The Domaine de Cromey sits among the vines in a peaceful vale to the south of Beaune. Since the late 1600s, the locals have called it the ‘chateau’, and there were indeed Lords of Cromey. But the property was always more a baronial farm than a residence. It was, in fact, the winery for these local lords, as the surrounding vineyards, vast vaulted cellars and imposing wine press attest.
So, (as if the question needed asking!) why should you come to Cromey?
Burgundy is, quite rightly, thought of fondly as France’s stomach (her head being in Paris and her soul said to be in the Champagne region). Over the last thirty years, Dennis and Ellie have made Cromey an homage to the best of French cuisine. You can feel that spirit in the place—an organic, uncompromising, passionate pursuit of excellence in the simplest things. It’s like having your own culinary concierge to guide you and your palate—a concierge who just happens to have access to the wealth of ingredients in the Cromey gardens.
And what gardens they are. As well as parkland and decorative gardens there’s a potager (soup garden) where the best vegetables are grown with as much love and devotion as the vines which thrive in the countryside around Cromey. There’s also an orchard, focused on conservation of older varieties of fruits and nuts that you won’t find commercially available.
It’s from this abundance of nature that the ideas for Ellie’s cookbook came. It’s a personal record of the great meals cooked over the last three decades. Each recipe comes with a wine recommendation and fascinating insight into the dish and its history.
Of course, anyone coming to Cromey does so expecting a very special wine journey—and that’s just what they get. Cromey offers WSET wine certification and Domaine de Cromey’s own 3-day Burgundy Wine program. The complexities of appellations and taste profiles will melt away as you discover the best small-production, estate-bottled wines; Burgundy wines in Burgundy—their natural habitat.
If you want to learn more about Burgundy wine, then Cromey solves a problem for you: there are thousands of winemakers in Burgundy, and not all of them are good—so how do you know where do you start? Thanks to the legwork done by Dennis and Ellie over the last 30 years, they know that the best wines come from the best farmers—without good fruit there is no good wine, and they know them all. Simple, down to earth—not at all like some would have you believe, that Burgundy is expensive or pretentious.
The philosophy of ‘taste – knowledge – passion’ shines through in everything at Cromey. You can drink Burgundy wine and eat French food anywhere, but to understand the soul of Burgundy, you have to go there. Plus, of course, many of the wines you’ll discover there simply aren’t widely available—sometimes not at all outside of Burgundy.
Together, Ellie and Dennis owned and operated the luxury hotel-barge ‘Le Papillon’ for a decade in the 90’s. The popularity of ’Papillon-style’ holidays and their ever-growing reputations led them to expand the Papillon repertoire to ‘land-based’ holidays, and from 1993 until 2014 they took ‘Papillon Select Tours’ to villas in regions where food and wine are a priority. So what began on the waterways of France three decades ago has come home, to Cromey. Why not find a home there too and experience all that Cromey has to offer?
Elden Selection’s Burgundy Wine Club offers members the chance to find out more about the wines of Burgundy, sending four shipments per year. Members also receive invitations to member-only virtual events in the US; 2 specially selected wine glasses; tasting notes; and the chance to win a stay at the Burgundy manor house Domaine de Cromey.
To read more about the producers, appellations and terroir of the Burgundy Wine Region, visit the Elden Selections blog.