To comply with government regulations, Château de Pommard will be closed to visitors until further notice. École V classes in Paris and Pommard are continuing with safety measures in place. As always, our online wine shop is open 24/7 -- we hope to see you again soon. Shop Our Wines

Our Stories

Meet James Beard-nominated writer Catherine Down

Catherine, tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a food and travel writer based in Paris. Originally from Boston, I moved to Paris eight years ago. Before that, I was in graduate school in Italy at the University of Gastronomic Sciences where I got a Masters in Food Culture and Communications. As part of the program, we studied food in every way possible—anthropology, food history, chemistry, journalism, food production... you name it. As part of the program, I traveled around Europe where we met with olive oil producers, winemakers, cheesemakers, learned about the different production processes, and how to evaluate and taste different products. My exams were on charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, beer, olive oil, etc.. It gave me a really broad, holistic view of the food world.

 

Why did you choose to settle down in Paris?

I knew I wanted to stay in Europe, so I found an internship in Paris at a food writing website. I did restaurant reviews and guides to the city. I was supposed to stay for just a few months, but I fell in love with the culture and the food scene. I moved back to the United States for a brief period of time, where I became the editor-in-chief of a local food magazine called Edible DC. I missed Paris too much and ultimately decided to come back. I’m now a freelance food and travel writer for a variety of magazines, newspapers, and websites. I write about restaurants, chefs, agriculture, and travel. I write to share the things that I love about food, French culture, and gastronomy. There’s nothing better than sharing my favorite people and places with travelers who get excited about the same things as me.      

What is so specific about writing on food?

I love the conviviality that comes with food. I love the feeling that you get when you’re sitting at a table for a long time with people and the ways in which food brings people together and facilitates conversation. We all need food to survive; it connects us all. When learning about food, you also learn about gender, religion, ethnicity, history, anthropology etc. It’s a lens through which you can look at many different subjects at once. As a journalist, I can jump into people’s lives and stories and learn from them. I get to learn constantly and stay curious. I know I will never get bored as I constantly get to meet new people, learn new techniques, and discover new flavors.

 

What do you love so much about France?

I love the way of life, the culture, the people, the cuisine and the wines. There is a deep-seated pride in French Patrimoine and gastronomy. It’s a place that people travel to, specifically for food and wine. It can be intimidating for travelers who do not speak French, but I love being everyone’s virtual friend in France who can guide them to things they might enjoy while here.      

You recently visited Burgundy. What was your experience from that trip?

I’ve been lucky to visit Burgundy before, but this recent trip was my first time traveling La Route des Grands Crus specifically. I explored the iconic villages of Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Aloxe-Corton, and Meursault. I loved driving along this famous wine road. It was exactly the charming and picturesque villages that visitors expect when traveling in France. I loved seeing the different architectures within each village. They’re all located just a few miles away from each other, but they each have their own individual terroir and landscape.           

 

What were the little details that struck you when visiting Burgundy?

It’s such a little thing, but I loved the tiled rooftops you see across the region. In Aloxe-Corton, for example, there is one chateau you can see from a distance with an amazing tiled rooftop peeking out over the vineyards. As we were driving along in the car, I got really curious about these tiles and their designs and found myself wanting to research more.           

Burgundy is so close to Paris; it’s a very easy train ride to Dijon, but it feels a world away. You feel transported immediately by the architecture and landscape. Coming from a big city, it was just incredible to look out over the fields and see vines as far as your eyes can see, to see the sky and the earth.

What would you say about Burgundy to your readers?

I know people can’t travel right now, but if I were in the United States reading about Burgundy, I would bookmark this journey along La Route des Grands Crus for a future trip. The villages are not far from each other, but each one has such a distinct character. I did it as a road trip, but it’s a wonderful, scenic bike route for those who want to balance their food and booze with a bit of exercise. In the meantime, people can enjoy the wines from this beautiful region in the comfort of their homes while dreaming of traveling to these villages once it’s safe again to do so.

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