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wine and mustard at Chateau Virant

Happy Wednesday! You made it halfway through the work week! Are you taking time to check-in with yourself and give yourself the care, love, and attention you need? If not, it’s perfectly okay to set aside time for yourself to do whatever you want/need to do during ‘me time.’ Maybe your thing is yoga, meditation, running, reading, tending to a pallet garden you built, sewing some pillowcases for your home decor, making a dress to match your homemade mask, paddle boarding, refurbishing furniture, tooling around with some new tools, or even playing animal crossing with family and friends, but whatever you want to do during your assigned ‘me time,’ make sure you’re doing it and giving yourself a break.

If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post - “Saucisson and delicious olives” - you can click here to read all about the magic that is the market in Aix-en-Provence! Otherwise, if you’re all caught up, buckle up and let’s continue this journey together! It’s our final day in France with my boyfriend, babayyyyy!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we spent the end of the wedding weekend watching episodes of Spongebob Squarepants in French in our pajamas, which was the perfect, relaxing night to an awesome weekend! Our final day in France consisted of waking up somewhat early and touring a family-owned-and-run winery, Château Virant. My boyfriend’s brother-in-law did a great job of translating French to English for his wife, my boyfriend, and me, and the facility was clean, cool, and well-organized (which may seem like weird notes, but I am someone who very deeply enjoys clean organization). Our tour was led by the owner of Château Virant who, although she had retired from tour-giving and many of the hands-on of the day-to-day operations, agreed to come in and give us the tour as no one else could. Remember how I mentioned it was a family-owned and family-run business? That definitely worked in our favor when it came time to tour! Our guide was lovely, attentive, kind, and knowledgable, offering expertise on the process of wine and olive making, and also offering some insights into a wonderful family history.

If the tour set the bar for how great the experience would be, then the actual wine and olive oil tasting blasted the bar out of the water. Any wine tasting will usually offer me something I don’t really enjoy (since I’m not the biggest fan of white wine), but Château Virant proved how difficult it would be for me to dislike any wine if it was just genuinely good. I enjoyed - to varying degrees - each wine I tried, and I will say that there wasn’t one I just flat-out didn’t like. The same thing happened with the olive oils we tasted, dunking in our fresh French bread - all of them were good! The most surprising event of the day, however, was sampling Château Virant’s Moutarde. The dijon-like mustard was the clear winner for me, and my boyfriend bought a container of it (with some olive oil, as well) to pack and bring in his suitcase home. As soon as we finished the little jar of Moutarde here at home, I actually got in contact with Château Virant and they were able to ship me an order of three more jars… so now we have one-and-a-half left. What can I say? It really is THAT good!

After touring the winery, my boyfriend and I said our goodbyes to his extended French family and went to one final French lunch with his sister and brother-in-law. Stopping at a little roadside restaurant, we each got the special, which consisted of steak and frites (which was delicious) and shared a carafe of wine. It was a nice last meal before heading to the airport to fly to Palma de Mallorca, Spain!

Have you ever toured a facility where they produced a product you didn’t originally think you’d find? Like the Moutarde at Château Virant? Let me know! Subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and reach out, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been receiving a lot of really incredible stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe! Other people’s stories that I’ve gotten to read via e-mail, text, tweet, DM, etc. recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! I hope I get to hear all about whatever stories you’ve been thinking about as we’ve been on this virtual journey together! Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you have any restaurants/eateries/pubs/coffee shops/ice cream joints/theatres/lookout spots you would recommend in other countries or even in your current home town or city, I'm absolutely 100% all ears!! I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you.



P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of travel adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):

1. Won't you join me?

2. grateful for starbucks and sandymount strand

3. Once Upon a December in the National Gallery

4. plant a smooch for that gift of gab

5. may the 4th be with you: Dingle style

6. cinco de mayo: the best Mexican food in Dublin

7. pizza in roma

8. mussolini’s window and the philosophers’ metro stop

9. father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife

10. it's the vatican, not the vatican't

11. spoiler alert: i did not lose my hand

12. more pizza and gelato and Neptune, oh my

13. craft beer, romper season, and volcano magic

14. bus singalongs and the okey dokey karaoke origin story

15. the beginning of the journey to the land of outlander

16. the boy who lived and the musical rapper

17. oh i just can't wait to be kingggg

18. fudge and haggis, quite the dynamic duo

19. the banshee labyrinth... or, my first time trying buckfast

20. the world's most magical toilet

21. gwyneth paltrow's (improv) sliding doors

22. scottish sombreros and jam, thank you

23. bob seger, a cèilidh, and arthur's seat

24. the next maxim cover girl!! 25. you can vote now!!

26. kindness at… the airport??

27. conversations with strangers and #basic meals

28. aren't gas stations amazing?!

29. not just mac's... supermac's

30. American vs. European Cell Phone Providers

31. brown bread ice cream

32. Black Lives Matter

33. technology and theatre

34. a love of Dublin pizza: Manifesto

35. a love of Dublin pizza: Dublin Pizza Company

36. a love of Dublin pizza: with my dad

37. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness

38. thank you! round 2!

39. a love of Dublin pizza: and every other pizza

40. ahh-oooooh werewolves of london

41. a special london edition nerd alert

42. defying gravity is a WICKED good time

43. that wanker Van Morrison

44. The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre

45. LA girls love London green juice

46. Super Bowl LII Champs at Wembley

47. champagne fizz and fruity cocktails

48. How-to: DIY Pallet Garden

49. dublin tattoo magic

50. juneteenth

51. thank you! Maxim round 4!

52. dublin bog bodies

53. dún laoghaire ice cream

54. local celeb sighting

55. 13.1 in Dublin

56. thank you! Maxim round 5!

57. every girl likes a bad boy

58. poolbeg lighthouse

59. conflict, bias, and propaganda in belfast

60. bow to your lord mayor


62. Maxim Cover Girl Quarter-Finals!

63. gulliver's travels in belfast

64. all aboard the HMS Caroline

65. all aboard the RMS Titanic

66. you know nothing, jon snow

67. cave-born shadow babies

68. afraid of heights?

69. giants and their egos

70. the Kingsroad

71. sunsets in Donegal

72. derry dining chains

73. Maxim Cover Girl Semi-Finals!

74. Spontaneity is Key

75. Dear Nana

75. blasket island centre

76. Nana's blue tin cookies

77. a dance lesson in Dublin

78. dublin to Royal Portrush

79. Shane Lowry's Open Championship

80. maxim and Belfast Chinese food

81. Irish beachy wild women

82. my Irish love, Cork

83. my Irish love, Cork: hot chocolate

84. my Irish love, Cork: knit life

85. my Irish love, Cork: English Market

86. my Irish love, Cork: Blackrock Castle

87. one year ago today

88. pastis and the French Riviera

89. French Alps swim session

90. French weddings

91. Saucisson and delicious olives

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