Thursday, January 1, 2015

Meetup Group: My new friend


Its been really long since i write anything. But now from this year i will try to write something new as much as possible. 
The best topic for the first day of new year cannot be better than my new Best FRIEND : Meetup Group.  It has changed my life for better, had saved me from going into deep depression, had helped to bring out my organisation skills, made me laugh, never left me alone....can never thank enough to this best friend
It doesn’t matter if you are in a new country, city , in your own country or returning to you home country after living few years abroad; there always comes a point when you feel alone, or you try to find like minded people , or people with similar hobbies , interest. In such situation the best answer is joining Meetup Groups.
What is this Meetup group….. well it’s a worldwide organization ,actually an Internet group which connects people from different countries, different cultures but with same interests , same hobbies and help find new friends, learn new people, new cultures.
Meetup group concept born actually after the incident of 9/11 attacks in NewYork. Scott Heiferman, Meetup's co-founder & CEO told the story of Meetup as , after the attacks he had an idea Could we use the internet to get off the internet — and grow local communities? Most people thought it was a crazy idea — especially because terrorism is designed to make people distrust one another. A small team came together, and they launched Meetup 9 months after 9/11. And today there are over 19 million Meetup members worldwide, and as of today, New York City is home to a million of them. . it’s working. Every day, thousands of Meetups happen. Moms Meetups, Small Business Meetups, Fitness Meetups, outdoor meetups, night life meetups… a wild variety of 100,000 Meetup Groups.
Basically it’s a website called www.meetup.com When you go in a new country or city or even in your own city and would like to meet new people or want to know some people having similar interests as you ; you can simply search on Meetup website any such groups within the specific radius of your town, city and then you will get the list of such groups. You can join these groups mostly for free and then continue attending their Meetup events. If the group activity is free or not depends on the owner of the group. 99% times its free. Anyone can start a new group on meetup site as per their hobby or interest and then Meetup site charge them some yearly fee and that’s why may be some owners charge some nominal fee like 1 euro or any other respective currency of that country to cover the charges for each event. Owner can decide if he or she would like to have few organizers for his group and then whole team keep organizing different activities. When the event is announced , all members of the group gets an email and then everyone can decide if they want to join that activity or not by registering for the event which is called RSVP to the event.
In Europe, America , Australia these groups are very popular but in India also its growing. 3 years ago I joined this group , and it changed my life. Although I was living in this city for almost 7 years ; I was feeling alone, not enough friends around sharing my interests. But then I found this magic site and then every weekend or even weekdays was wonderful. There was always someone with me to share my hobbies, interests. I am a member of 3 groups. And also now organizer of one group. It feels really nice when after every event I organize ; I get appreciation from participants, get new friends, get chance to know how many different things people around you are doing…that motivates me a lot. Its sometimes difficult to organize always something new, or reserve places , keep the track of people , events etc… but I really enjoy doing these things. After the successful event , its all worth the pain.
Even in my short stay of 6 weeks in USA; I joined different meetup groups and attended their events. It was great to know new people in new country . After my work when I was completely alone and was not knowing anyone there, I was able to enjoy my hobbies like hiking, partying with bunch of cool people.
So people never feel alone, it doesn’t matter how crazy your hobby or interest is; there is always someone who shares your idea, interest…so come on join the meetup group, be creative, be happy, meet international people, get new friends and enjoy life as much as you can in new country, new city or even explore your own city with new people. Its Fun..

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monte Negro- Country of black mountains

This year I wanted to go to some new, different place for holidays. Just got bored of usual typical holiday destinations in Greece, Spain and Italy. And suddenly remembered of Monte Negro. I heard this country first time when I watched the James bond movie Casino Royal. Since then I wanted to see this country. But it’s not that popular holiday destination and so was difficult to get information about this country.
Finally started to Google Monte Negro. And got the email id of MonteNegro tourism office. I emailed them and got all the information about when to go and how, best tourist city etc… They gave me email of their travel agent and I must say this travel agent from Monte Negro was really good. Very friendly, very helping. Always answered all my emails very patiently. Offered a very good deal of hotel, different tours there.
This country is actually very new. Very small but very beautiful country. Monte Negro was a part of former Yugoslavia and now since 2006 they got independence. Since then county is definitely facing some financial challenges but they are hoping to get better in next few years.
This is a very beautiful country with long costal area at the south surrounded by black mountains. The name of the country itself means Black mountain. This is an Italian word. Monte Negro was ruled by many years from Turkish people, Italian people.
We decided to fly with Monte Negrian airlines. I must say that was not the very best experience. :( They have really old aircrafts; seats are not so clean and not enough leg space inside. Well it was just a two hrs. flight from Frankfurt. So was ok. Plus it was very cheap. :)
 When we landed in Podgorica airport, the first impression was good. Very small airport even if Podgorica is a capital city of Monte Negro. When we came out the first thing I saw was advertisement of our german bank…. Sparkasse. :) was very happy to see something written in german. :)
The travel from airport to our city Budva was just 86 k.m. but it took more than 1 hour. They still do not have very good infrastructure. Also the road is not that easy. Very small roads and that too from the mountains. 
In our stay there, we always experienced the hospitality of Monte negrian people. They are very helpful, always answering with smile, even if some people we asked help for on the road; were not able to speak English or german still they tried to explain us always with signs, tried to help us as much as they can.
The main industry in this country is tourism. They still have to develop it a lot but they are trying.
One day we did a hiking tour up in the mountains. It was only two of us , high mountain and very narrow road, lot of spider nets on the way, plus some small snakes. I was really afraid but Jens as usual with his "all is good attitude", made me do this trek. The view of the city of budva and island of St. Stefan from the top was just amazing. When I saw that I was really happy and thought it was totally worth to walk this way up. This island St. Stefan was actually a fishermen’s town in former times and now they turned it into a hotel. The complete island is a big hotel and of course very expensive. One big hotel chain from Singapore bought and renovated all and now a big, expensive hotel. No one other than hotel’s guests are allowed to go inside. If you want to see the hotel from inside then you have to pay 25 euro entrance fee . Just to go inside and have a drink in their very stylish restaurant ,25  euro.... hmm not very impressive.
One day we did a tour of MonteNegro with the bus. It was really cheap , just 45 euro per person with bus, tour guide and food. Wow just cannot imagine this price in Germany for any such a big tour. That was one of the best thing there , everything is really cheap. In this tour we visited a city of Kotor. It is a very old town . They have preserved it very nicely. This is a city of very reach people thats what our tour guide told us. We also went with the bus on the top of the mountains to have a lunch in a very small family restaurant. That was amazing. Seating outside on benches, having a spectacular view of the whole valley. just gr8! There we saw the original small room where they do the best smoked ham. They are doing this since almost 50-60 years. We also ate that ham . very delicious.
We also visited the old capital city of Monte Negro called Cetinje. Now there is just one palace of their former king which has turned into a museum. the tour guide told us one interesting story as in olden times they had a tradition to decide the marriage of the children when they were very young and then when they become 14-15 they used to get married. I mean woman around 14-15 and man 19-20 years old. Their king was married when he was around 19 and queen was that time 14 years old. In very young age they had to take the responsibility of the country. I was surprised and told to her that in India also many years ago there was this kind of tradition. 
Monte Negro had their own currency but after many wars etc.. their currency’s value got totally damaged. Was a big inflation and then they got into some kind of contract with Germany that they could use german Mark as their currency. And so automatically when Germany changed their currency to Euro Monte Negro also had to change to Euro. Even though they are still not in European Union they are using Euro as their currency. They have to work hard and improve many things in the country to be a member of the European Union but they are hopeful and think in few years they will be up to the European standards. Currently lot of investment is going on in tourist industry. This is the best time to buy land in this country as prices are lot cheaper than other European countries and in few years one can sell it for really high price. Because in few years they will need more land for hotels, and villas and other touristic attractions. So those who have surplus money, I think the best thing is to buy land there now.
We also visited the Tara River canyon in the north of the country. The north side is not much developed as compared to south of the country. On the north there are only high mountains. No sea. But its equally beautiful. They have made a plan to develop this part of the country as Eco tourism area. The life there in the  mountains is really simple and quiet. People do not earn much there but they still live happily with whatever they earn. Mostly all people have some cattels, and little farms around their houses. Also try to get some extra cash by searching good raspberries, mushrooms, some herbs from the deep forests there and sell it.
This Tara river canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world. The road to go there from the mountains is amazing, beautiful and difficult to drive. These mountains there are paradise for hikers. This road goes through the national park Durmitor. The water of Tara river is very clean. Crystal clear. 
We have a plan to do once a big hiking tour of 6-7 days that starts from north of monte negro and ends to the deep south in Albania; a neighbouring country.
There are four national parks in Monte Negro. We did once hiking in another national park called Lovcen. This hiking tour was good too. The road later was very narrow and just at the age of the mountain. So if you miss one step then directly in the valley. But again the view of the city from their was too good.
One day we visited the biggest lake of the Balkan “Skadar Lake”. When we cruised through this lake, we went to one small family restaurant in one village. The owner of this hotel and restaurant was really a nice person. An old man with hat and white beard. Very friendly . The interesting thing is he goes every morning in the forest and collects some very good herbs and makes a packet of it for each lady customer who comes in his restaurant to eat and gives as a gift to each lady. Something to remember by. Very sweet gesture. The food was good too.
 In this whole holiday we always had really good food. Every evening had a good dinner by some sea side restaurant with fresh fish and seafood, good local Wien, beautiful view of the sea, smiling waiters. Was perfect.
Many people there told us  that , financially ;the time of Yugoslavia was much better for them .  Since the freedom, many factories just got closed , so people have to go far away from their families to find a job and also do not earn much now. But they have to live with it now and can just hope for a better time.  
This is still not a very hot and popular holiday destination in Europe but the way they are trying to improve their tourist industry , in next 4-5 years it will be definatly one of the most popular holiday destination. And I just hope they will still be able to keep their charm and will not become one of those typical commercialized holiday spot. So till that time one should really plan holiday in Monte Negro.

fresh fish to choose for dinner









Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas is in the air

Since childhood I was very much attracted to Christmas. In those days , in children story books I saw many times nice pictures of Santa Claus , Christmas tree with gifts around , snow and a table full of cakes and cookies....I was really fascinated by these pictures and always wanted to celebrate Christmas.
In year 2000 few days before Christmas me and one of my friends went to a mall in Camp area, pune near Westend cinema. It was all nicely decorated for Christmas and shops were full with gifts in very attractive packing....whole environment was very beautiful. Me and my friend were drinking coffee there and I told to my friend, it will be so nice if we get a chance to celebrate the Christmas in a real Christmas celebrating country like Somewhere in Europe or America. And to our surprise, next year my friend got married and went to USA and celebrated Christmas there and I got job in Germany and got a chance to celebrate Christmas there :) seems like Santa really heard our wish and apparently fulfilled it too. :)
In 2001 first time I got a chance to experience the real Christmas, its preparation, snow and all fun. But still I was not very happy as I didn't celebrate it with any family.
Soon I got familiar with the German Christmas market concept. Every year 4 weeks before Christmas, in every German city and town starts the Christmas market. Its fun to go there with friends and drink Glühwein which is a warm spicy traditional German winter drink made from warmed wine. Eat special traditional food, enjoy small shopping. My favorites in Christmas market are Glühwein, Schupfnudel, rosted chestnuts, and warm waffles. Going to Christmas market every year is like tradition for me and my husband. :)
In year 2004 I celebrated Christmas with my real German family...well that was my husband's family. :) First time I also got my gift kept under the Christmas tree. It was really a fun to celebrate it with family.
In our family this 2 and half days of Christmas are celebrated traditionally with the whole family and close relatives. Normally in catholic families Fish is cooked on 24th Dec. for the dinner. Well in my family nobody is very religious but still my mother-in-law cooks very testy fish with different cooked vegetables and salad on 24th dec. After dinner all the relatives gather to have fun, give gifts, drinking good wein, eating christmas cookies and special small breads cooked by my mother-in-law specially for christmas. My mother-in-law decorates her Christmas tree every year very nicely. We all keep our gifts under the tree and then in the night the gift opening starts. That’s the best part :)
Remaining 2 days we all gather together at my in-laws house and just eat and eat and drink and chat till late night.
In these two days my mother-in-law and her sister cooks really good food. Normally for lunch some very good and rarely cooked meat like a deer or rabbit is served with soup, salad, special German noodles called 'Spätzle', Knödels and different sauces. These Knödels are normally made in two different types. One from the bread and another from the potato. My favorite is potato knödle . My father-in-law cooks it very good. Different wines, beers and small shots increase the test of the food.
After this heavy lunch we all go out for a long walk in the forest behind the house. After coming home from the freezing cold ; coffee and Christmas sweets are must.
Normally in the evening very light dinner is served. Normally for dinner we eat different salads, different types of breads, cheese, Asparagus rolled in ham.
After these Christmas days then slowly everybody starts to pack back to go back home with the decision to make diet for next few days which hardly happens :)
This Christmas is exactly like I always saw in the pictures and movies....
For me the biggest attraction of Christmas was the snow but now after living almost 10 years here, I can definitely say that I really hate the snow now. But still I love to have white Christmas. Christmas without snow is not a real Christmas. I wish to have snow for Christmas but then after that wish to have nice warm, sunny weather. :) I hope Santa Claus  will hear my wish and hopefully fulfill it too :)
But till then Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all. Have a white Christmas with lots of gifts and fun.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Halloween at Burg Frankenstein

The German word Burg means Castel. Burg Frankenstein is about 5 km south of Darmstadt in Germany. This castel was first built in 1100 and expanded in the 14th and 15th Centuries. In 1976, American soldiers stationed in Darmstadt founded an annual Halloween festival at the castle, which has grown to become one of the biggest Halloween festivals in Europe. There are few stories about this castel.

Every year there is a big famous halloween event at the castel for 3 weekends near halloween. On these weekends , there are different horror shows, enactments of some horror plays and party. Last year one of our friends told us about this and we decided to attend this halloween show and party this year.
It is necessary to buy the tickets well in advance as the tickets are limited and many people attend this shows.
Well i was very excited to go there as this was my first Halloween party ever. One day of this halloween weekend is for children above 7 years and other day is for adults above 14 years of age .
The event organisation was really good. We all have to park our cars at the bottom of the castel and from there goes a shuttle bus every half an hr. or so till the top of the castel taking all people.
When we went at the top of the burg, we saw monsters , witches , zombies , ghosts walking around , getting ready for the show.
Exactly at 7 p.m. the door to the horror world opened. We all went inside and it was really cool .....There were many graves, some torture chamber, fireworks, flaming swords . It was all dark and the people wearing masks and dresses of monster, witches, werewolves, Vampires, spirits , ghosts , orks were coming suddenly in front of us and try to horrify us. The place was full with screaming and laughfing . The special effects of lights and music increased the horror effect.
While walking, we saw there was a group of few witches and monsters who used to select randomly any person walking by and keep him/her inside an empty box and close the box for few seconds till the person inside screams .... most of the time young, blond , thin girls used to be the target :)
Once a werwolf came in front of me and pressed my nose :). One monster tried to kill me :)
At one spot there was a device called guillotine. This is a device used for carrying out executions by decapitation. It consisted of a tall upright frame from which a blade is suspended. This blade is raised with a rope and then allowed to drop, severing the head from the body and people were allowed to go there to get decaptivated just for fun. And one monster was controlling this decaptivation event :)
Soon we reached the main show area. First they started with enactment of a story of a devil and two prists as exorcists. Then there was modern dance of witches and monsters. While we were watching this, some vampires and monsters were walking among us and trying to horrify us. some people were screaming, some were clicking photos with them.
After this first show we went to other part of the castel where another show was going on. Where some witches and werewolves were fighting with eachj other and then the looser was hunged up and killed :) Then there was another show where 2 orks and some witches were fighting with each other with swords.
All these shows are repeated 3 times at different times. so that all people can see it. Every weekeend there are different shows.
After a long time we had a really interesting saturday evening. I am not sure if i could enjoy this every year but its definately worth watching once.
This was very exciting and interesting Halloween I had after a long long time.








                                                                                                                                     

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Patisserie Course

Yesterday I attended a Patisserie course at crown plaza hotel. Till now I always used to wonder this dessert buffet at crown plaza . Always used to think that it must be something that only professional cooks can do but never thought its actually really simple to make even at home.
This was my first time to attend such course here in germany. We were almost 13 people in the course. course timing was at 14.00hr. and exactly at 14.00 hr. the head cook with his 3 assistants came where we were seating and introduced him and his team to us. Perfect german timing..... :) Everything was well organised. the whole staff there was also very  friendly. We all got one cocktail as welcome drink. when we heard this one of our team member asked oh...is it possible to cook after drinking alcohol? the chef said....well professionals like me can manage it better after 1,5 promillo but u should not :)  well he was kidding. But we all got anyway alcohol free cocktail. then we all got a nice  apron and cooking hat , a booklet with all recipes that were planned for our course. We all were instructed to wash hands first and then put some disinfection lotion on hand and only then we could enter the kitchen. All perfect planned and hygienic. I really liked this.
It was a good experience for all of us to see this big kitchen and all big machines these people are using there and also meet the kitchen staff. There was a little buffet of sweets and small starters for us to eat during our course .
We were divided into 2 groups and two of the assistants headed each group. These two assistant girls were also very friendly and explained us very well and also answered all of our questions. We all also got chance to do things own our own. It was really enjoyable.  We made Creme brühle, Shoko creme brühle, Hessisches tiramisu, Himbeer cream, Cappuccino trüffel. All are my favorites and really easy to make.

It was good to know how stressful the cook's job is in such a big restaurants. the head cook told us in such hotel chains, everything has to be perfect and so we all have to concentrate a lot while cooking . They all have long hrs. of work and gets only 1 hr. of  break during the work. Most of the time they cannot even seat at one place and have proper  lunch . Mostly they all eat some small stuff during the work. Take short break and eat and then again on the work. Its really funny , the person who cares for other's good health with healthy and perfect cooking cannot really get time to look after his /her own health. He was further saying because of stress many of the cooks are also smokers. Its also now a days really difficult to find good cooks as many of the students from hotel management colleges are not really willing to work in the kitchen. Only people who can really take this much stress and can really enjoy the cooking work can stay longer here. These people also get less time for family. Mostly during festival times , they can not take holidays as they have to serve us. It was really interesting information to hear.
I also met new people there , learned how to make these delicious desserts, got a chance to know more about cooking job, work in this big resturant's kitchen. Now I feel even safer to go to crown plaza and eat in their restaurant as I have seen it now how they really work there.
Now planning for my next course also at crown plaza for christmas baking and I am sure it will be also a good experience like this and can surprize my family this christmas with my desserts and christmas cookies :)
  

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Eating, Eating and Eating

FOOD....amezing word and my the most favorite. After looking at me anyone can see this. :)I am not very choosey person about food but I just love to eat. I like to try out different food types. Food from different counties, different resturants, veg, non-veg....all.
From childhood I used to enjoy eating in resturants but my parents were against it. My mom used to cook definately good food at home so she wanted me and my sister to eat at home but we were more interested to eat outside. I know my Grandmother used to take me, my sister, my cousine...to eat outside after we finish our exams and also after we get our results. That used to be a fun day for us. Going out with grandma , then shoping and then eating our favorite dish in resturant...wow that used to be the best day as a child.
In those days another favorite programme was eating Paav-Bhaji at Jayashree near Sarsbagh with my cousines. My Mavashi and Uncle used to take me and my sister along with her children there many times. That time it was very small resturant but test was really good. After they opened many branches all over pune but then it was no more fun to go there.
As i started going to college, my resturants visites started increasing. And till that time I also got freedom from my parents to do what i like.
When I was studying (hahahahah ????) in S.P. college, our best meeting spot was S.S. The main attraction there was Vada-Paav and Samosa Paav. Still some times when i go to pune, i try to go there atleast once to eat Samosa-Paav. In those days another attraction was to go to Vaishali to eat S.P.D.P. But it was far away and so could not go that often. But my mom used to like Dosa at Vaishali ...so sometimes then on sunday we all used to go there.
My another all time favorite eating spot is marzorin sandwitches at M.G.Road. Even my father used to like those sandwiches so i was officially allowed to go there often :) Last time I took my hubby also there and now he also likes those sandwitches.
When I was doing my Masters, me and my family used to go almost every sunday out for lunch and so obviously it was a job for me and my sister to find out a new resturant for every sunday. One of us used be in that resturant atleast once before and so could give good advice to my parents :) My parents used to be amezed with our resturant knowledge :) That used to be real fun sunday. But that time my eating world was limited to Veg food only. As my parents are strictly vegiterian, we used to eat veg only. But out of curiosity I tried 2-3 times chicken. But did not feel something very special about it.
During college days, me and my friends used to go many times on our motor bikes to Sihgad to eat Kanda Bhaji. and now even my hubby is a big fan of that kanda bhaji.... It is a must programme for him to go to Sihgad and eat Onion Rings :)
After coming to germany, my food world widened drastically. I am basically curious about different food types so never had problem to adjust myself with german eating habits. Here I tried all kinds of food. My resturant love has not changed here too.
One of my favorite resturants is Sushi resturant in Heidelberg. Me and my hubby , we both are sushi fans. Just cannot stop eating sushi. Italian and chinese food joints are always on our list. I
specially like Duck made in chinese style and different pastas from Ialian resturants. We also love Mexican food. And till now Enchilads in Mannheim is the best resturant I found for Mexican food.
When I came to germany , I was really not good at cooking and was also very lazy ..so mostly used to eat outside only. During that time I started liking a very special and famous food in Germany....Kebab...well its not german but Turkish...still very comman in germany. In early days kebab and pizza was all time favorite and affordable too :)
Luckily I got many friends here who could cook very good and so used to get always good food to eat.
After marriage I became even more lucky because now I got my hubby and mother-in-law who could cook very good. :) In the first year of marriage I don't even remember cooking more than 12 times in a year. Many times my hubby cooked or we went outside to eat. Every saturday my mother-in-law used to inviate us for lunch. There I tested first time a real typical german food. And i liked it. Its mainly different types of meat but with some typical german souce and it tests very good.
One very famous dish from Black Forest area is Käsespätzle which I like a lot. When i was living in black forest area , I used to eat this whenever possible.
During Christmas its a big eating time which I really love. First eating in Christmas market and secondly at my in-laws house cooked by my mother-in-law, my hubby's Aunt and his Grand Mother. They all cook so delicious food these 3 days....wow yummy......One is on 24th night what my mother-in-law gives with drinks is her special breads with some potato and cucumber filling, then very delicious Cream Rolls made by Grand Mother and third one is "Kartoffel knoedle" (potato dumpling) made by my father-in-law and Christmas special Vanilla Sugar Cookies . Just amezing. There is much more to eat but these 4 are my most favorites.
Around 4 years ago I suddenly got interest in cooking and now is much better cook than before.
I cook now lot of different things...Thai, Chinese style,Indian even some times typical maharashtrian.... like Puri, bhaji, shirkhand and my hubby also likes it ....atleast thats what he told me :), different pasta, cakes.....and sometimes evem my own creation :)
One thing I must say...all my cooking is inspired from cooking websites...without internet I would have never learned this much cooking. On internet there are many times Videos to look at the actual cooking process which has definately helped me a lot.
No one could belive that I can cook and we both can eat that too. :) But my mom belived it when I actually cooked for her during her germany visit :)
Its fun now to cook at home too. But still Resturant is always a first prefrence for both of us ...no dought.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Champagne Testing



As born and brought up in a typical Indian family, even saying the word "Alcohol" was not really allowed. So drinking alcoholic drinks was ofcourse completely prohibited. :) So ofcourse i was not knowing much about types of alcoholic drinks, or anything much about it.
After coming to Germany I came to know very first time about German Beer Culture. Here beer is not just alcohol , its a culture. Every small town has their own special beer brands , of which they are really proud. I got a chance to visite the biggest German Beer festival... Oct. Fest and was really impressed with it. Big tents, live folk music in the tents , lot of people drinking 1 liter of beer glasses one after another and those waitresses holding this big 1 liters of glasses atleast 10 at a time togather in both hands , in their traditional dresses...all is just amezing.
Well going in those tents and not drinking beer is definately a crime :) ofcourse i did not make that crime. :) But i am really not a big fan of beer. I like more Wine and Champagne.
2 Years ago one of my friends told me about Champagne Testing in france and since then wanted to go there. Finally this year managed to go to Champagne Region of france for Champagne Testing. Its really good to get all this information and see the cellers of these Champagne producers.
We visted 2 of the many Champagne producers....one of which was the biggest Champagne producer and another was very small but very old Champagne producer. It was definately big difference in both the tours.
The biggest producer i visted was Moët & Chandon . It was a hour tour with testing at the end. But it was all commercial. tour costs 14 euro if we want to test only one of their many champagne types. and ofcours cost increases if u want to test more.
Originally it was only Moët but then after few years one of the doughters in the family married into a Chandon family and this son-in-law was very active in this family business of Moët. so after few years the name changed to Moët & Chandon . And currently it is one of the biggest and famous Champagne producer. They produce around 26,000,000 bottles of champagne per year. Champagne is nothing but a Sparkling Wine . Only the Sparkling Wine produced in this chanpagne region of france is allowed to have a name champagne. This is all because of the special quality of graps produced in this region. All the work of cutting graps is made by hand and not by machine. In chanpagne production many steps are done with hands. Champagne growing region is about 34,000 hectares. Out of this almost 1000 hectors region belongs to Moët & Chandon.
There is one special type of champagne and i.e. called "Vintage Champagne" This means that it is only made in the best year, and all grapes used to make it were harvested in the same year. Ofcourse it costs more than the normal one. One of the tour guides told us that they are expecting that this year could be a vintage year.
Another small producer we visited was Forget-Brimont. Its one of the small producer but very old brand. This name is the combination of the names of the owner and his wife. Here ofcourse there was no official tour of the celler with money but we had an inofficial tour and champagne testing after that. It was more personal tour. The woman who showed us all their process and gave information was really emotionally attached with this brand. The owner of this brand is now very old and his 2 doughters are not willing to look after this family business and so he is selling now his champagne business to another person. I felt little sad when i heard this. The annual production of Forget-Brimont is around 280 000 bottles. Very less compared to other big brands but test is equally good.
There are many more producers in this area and may be I can visite few more of them next year. Till that time I will enjoy my current champagne collection :)