Perhaps the most famous drink named after the place in which it is made is Champagne. Regional stipulations mean that no other beverage can legally use the Champagne, unless it was produced in the French province and adheres to strict rules, elevating its prestige and preserving the taste drinkers will immediately recognise.
There are many other drinks that are produced in a similar way, some of which can be sampled on a number of European river cruises. Here are some great examples.
The type of brandy known as Cognac comes from a small town in the west of France and is produced in a very specific way as to maintain its quality. Everything from which grapes are used to where the yeast comes from is stipulated. Even the barrels used to age the Cognac have to be made of a certain type of wood and be from a particular town. Cruise lines such as Viking River Cruises and Uniworld offer shore excursions as part of their Garonne Rover cruises. During these, you can visit estates owned by major brands like Remy Martin to sample the end product.
Cologne’s beer is something that is built into the foundation of what it means to be a resident of the city and is something the people are very proud of. The light beer, known as Kölsch, is one of the three ‘K’s of Cologne and is drunk in great volume in brew houses everywhere. Only beer brewed within the city can bear this name and so exports to countries like the USA and China are growing to meet demand. A Rhine River cruise will offer the perfect opportunity to order a test tube (the name given to the long, thin glass Kölsch is drunk from) of this refreshing beer.
The Tokaj wine region is split between Hungary and Slovakia, but the laws surrounding how it is made are drawn up by Hungary only. There are six different grapes that are allowed to be used during production, chosen because of their ability to create a second skin which protects the rot that makes them so sweet. Although dry Tokaj is growing in popularity, these are typically sweet wines that are drunk with dessert. CroisiEurope have Tisza River cruises available which include the option to visit a Tokaj cellar, learn about the ageing process and drink some of the sweet nectar (as it is referred to in Hungary’s national anthem).
The Port wine region in the Douro Valley is one of the oldest protected wine areas in the world. Although the beverage can be made anywhere and still be described as ‘port’, it can only bear the name ‘Porto’ or ‘Oporto’ if it was produced in this appellation. Douro River cruises continue to grow in popularity and the area’s own fortified wine has a lot to do with this. All along the valley, there are plenty of chances to visit ‘Quintas’ to see how Port is made and discover the various different kinds available.
We end the list where we began, in France - particularly the town of Calvados. Another type of brandy, Calvados is made from apples rather than grapes. Like many alcoholic drinks in France, there are many regulations that need to be followed if you want to label your end product in this way. A number of apple varieties are specified, a minimum ageing period of two years in needed and distillation must be done in a certain way. Both the brandy and the region are named after a group of rocks off the coast of France. Tauck and Scenic both offer the chance to explore the Calvados route as part of their Seine River cruises.
If you would like to learn more about these drinks and even sample them in the places they are produced, we can offer some excellent itineraries that allow you to do just that. Contact us today for more details.