Saturday, 25 May 2013

Cognac: Maison De Brandy Français!

I had definitely heard of Hennessy, Remy Martin and Courvoisier? The next stage of my French holiday took me through the rolling hills and vineyards of South-west France to a small town that's home to lots of industry. Cognac, a small historic town in the South-West of France happened to be my next port of call. I raised a toast to the history of French Brandy! Oui, Cognac!

Cognac is a town that has exceptional beauty and a great depth of history. I'm all about seeing something new, so my day in Cognac showed me just that! I saw countless buildings that dated back to the 17th century. Judging by things the town of Cognac was very quiet for a Saturday, but everything closes for a few hours in the early afternoon for lunch in France, a rule we should adopt in England! Cognac is sandwiched between the sprawling French countryside that lasts for absolute miles, but when in the town you must visit the winding cobbled streets because they really are worth the journey. Cognac had an air of savoir faire but in an understated sense that impressed me much! I should have packed my trainers! Regardless of my choice of footwear, the aged feeling of Cognac's older buildings impressed me much, they oozed character and charm with their own French flare! I had made my holiday week count!

Cognac boasts an outdoor market, not like Bilston's outdoor market but its unique to this town of Brandy. Serving French town realness with the aged buildings in every direction! Shopping could be a good idea if you don't have a budget, but I just wasn't interested in that. The drive to Cognac was filled with an everlasting view of vineyards, because that's where the 'Henny' comes from! I was transported to another moment in time, the architecture of Cognac posed to be very rustic. I did think for a moment, how do all these farmers make their money? But it was so easy to see that the demand remains so high for wine and brandy in the wider Cognac area, its actually a no-brainer! From looking closer at the town I suppose Cognac isn't just about the Brandy? Who am I kidding? This small French town represents Brandy to the fullest with all of the houses serving taste! Scoring tens across the board, Cognac's old town realness stole all the trophies, bring on the Brandy! Chérie légendaire!

Are you familiar with the phrase 'haute?' It translates from French to English as the word 'high' when talking about things like food and fashion. I would say that my visit to Cognac brought a whole new meaning to the word 'haute'. Cognac is home to 'Haute Brandy' because some of the world's most famous Brandy's originate from this small French town! Captured to the left is the 'Hennessy' distillery, overlooking the banks of the 'Charante' river, this world recognisable French Brandy attracts visitors to its 'Maison de Hennessy' which translates to 'House of Hennessy'. I had to snap a photo of this distillery as soon as I saw it. One person who I know will appreciate this scoop will be my friend Sharoya! It's a true fact, Roya loves her 'Henny!' Had I been fooled by the small winding cobbled streets? Cognac serves body and flavour with its production of Brandy, she knows how to work! Why didn't I buy a bottle?

Cognac isn't just famous for 'Hennessy' because this town is home to a whole host of other 'Haute' Brandy's. The distilleries of 'Martell' and 'Remy Martin' are situated close to Cognac's wholesomely French centre-ville. My favourite brand has to be 'Courvoisier' as their distillery is located in Cognac also. Why Courvoisier? I joked with my friend Fiorella that if I ever have a daughter she will be called after that liquor because it would be extra to shout in the street if she had been naughty! Who knew that so many high class variations of Brandy are made in Cognac? It's not just the big brands that make their beverages in Cognac, smaller farmers make their own brews of the good stuff, I wonder what Brandy reigns supreme? From the 'House of Hennessy' to the smallest producer its all great for the region! Looking at the ways of this small town Brandy mecca its a powerhouse, creating 'haute' for the world to enjoy! France is just one big producer of alcoholic beverages! Champange too?!

Having a coffee in Cognac should never be done! I should have had a word with the locals that I saw sipping hot coffee instead of Brandy! I simply couldn't leave Cognac without having a small glass of the good stuff! As you can see by the photo on the right I enjoyed a glass of 'Martell' Brandy as I did not specify what label of Brandy I wanted because the price fared to be the same. It was safe to say that I enjoyed my small measure of 'Martell' Brandy. I warned myself that having a coffee in Cognac is cheating! Brandy is the best! Cognac enjoyed its selection of cafes during my short visit but I couldn't help thinking about the dreary weather that threw shade! Shopping for the good stuff wasn't on my list, it wasn't an option that day! Brandy wouldn't really be my first choice of spirit but when in Cognac I just couldn't say no! No, I didn't buy a bottle of Brandy from Cognac but I had visited the home of 'Hennessy!'

I took my time because Cognac's only a small town, I needed to make the best of my time whilst I was in Cognac. Getting to Cognac wasn't difficult for me because I had access to a car, well it wasn't mine and I can't drive! Nevertheless, I used my less than ideal situation to the best of my ability, lets just say I used a certain family members skill of driving to afford me the chance to see places like Cognac. I put up with that pain for the sake of this blog, it was worth the debt I was left in once I checked my account after I landed at Birmingham Airport a few days later. Paying less attention to the driver, in that moment I loved discovering the winding streets of Cognac and the waters of the Charente River. Paying my way, I was very charitable to a source that never even said thank you to me! Bitterness aside, I'm here to recount my visit to Cognac, I wanted to see that town and succeeded! Knowing in my heart I enjoyed every sip of that 'Martell' Brandy even if it cost me my student loan! 

Brandy aussi haute que la mode!

Joseph Harrison

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