Burgundy: Blackcurrants and history

If there's one thing that Burgundy is known for, it is its prized wines; its dry Pinot noir reds and Chardonnay whites. But while Burgundy is most famous for its grapes, it also has a proud history of blackcurrants, and the famed liqueur made from them - crème de cassis.

Though cassis liqueur has a long history in Burgundy, it was given new life when Félix Kir, mayor of the Burgundy city of Dijon, popularised the "blanc-cassis" cocktail - crème de cassis topped up with white wine - by offering it to delegations from other countries; Kir was a pioneer of the sister city movement in the aftermath of the Second World War, and thanks to him, Dijon is twinned with Mainz in Germany, York in Britain, and Dallas in the USA. Thanks to Mayor Kir's revival of the cocktail, local producers of crème de cassis asked him for the right to use his name, and so what was previously known as "blanc-cassis" became known as a kir cocktail.

Burgundy's pride in their blackcurrants is such that they even have a museum dedicated to it! Le Cassissium not only walks visitors through the history of the "Super Cassis", but also gives them a guided tour of the Védrenne liqueur factory - and, of course, the trip wouldn't be complete without the chance to sample the product!

If all of that sounds as enticing to you as it does to us, you can visit Le Cassissium on one of our Burgundy cycling tours, now open for enquiries and bookings for 2018; we have Burgundy tours running from June to September.