The last three days, just like every other day, has been filled with a wide array of new experiences and fun facts about wine and cheese. Friday we spent the majority of the day in lecture learning in depth about the processing steps of wine and cheese. What, it takes, metabolically and mechanically, to turn grape juice into wine and milk into cheese is very interesting and it is a process so many people take for granted. It is easy to overlook such complexities when you simply pick your desired item off the shelf of a grocery store. People in the United States do not think about where their food comes from and this is not the case for many parts of France where local food is highly valued and where the customer vendor relationship is almost palpable.
On our first Saturday we got to experience the Cluny markets where local farmers, producers, and vendors come to sell their goods. This market occurs every Saturday morning without fail and is a place where restaurants and townspeople can buy their groceries while talking to the individual who produces the goods as well as socialize with others. It is a very large community event that is held in many towns in France and it was an amazing opportunity to shop like a local and even practice my French.
Following the market, my classmates and I got the pleasure of getting a tour of Cluny’s horse stables where we were shown several of the horse breeds and the carriages they would pull before cars were invented. Did you know that you can tell the age of a horse by the length of their teeth? Because I did not! We also got our very own performance of dressage where a very experienced horse and her rider showed us various trots and tricks the horse has learned and competes with in dressage competitions. Equestrian life is important here in Cluny, and this town is even hosting the national Horse Ball Championship during our stay here. If you are not familiar with horse ball, I highly recommend looking up a video!
Today we enjoyed a day off and got to do our own exploration on a bike ride and picnic. The countryside here is beautiful and breathtaking. We have had great weather for the most part so far, have had the most incredible meals, and have become very close friends. This trip so far is everything I could have hoped for and more!