All the main ingredients of Burgundy's famously rich cuisine can be found in Yonne, from quality wines, tender Charolais beef and dishes served 'a la bourguignonne' with a red wine sauce of shallots, mushrooms and butter, to the biggest snails (escargots) in France - raised on vine leaves to make them extra tasty. Enjoy quenelle of trout and pochouse (river fish poached in white wine with onions, butter and garlic), delicious smoked Morvan ham tasting of the rugged countryside, game from the forest and soft creamy goats cheese. Look for tartouillat aux cerises made with quality Yonne cherries, harvested May to July from around Auxerre and Sens. Take home exquisitely light dry Sens macaroons (little cakes with almond paste).
Yonne's vineyards cover 6,000 acres either side of the A6 motorway, producing a wide variety of wines, from the white and roses of Auxerre and full-bodied reds of Irancy and softer reds Coulanges-la-Vineuse further south, to the local speciality Sauvignon de Saint-Bris and more recent sparkling Cremant de Bourgogne from the village of Bailly. Most well known is the light, dry white chardonnay of Chablis with a fragrance of forest mushrooms. Wine-tasting is commercialised in Chablis itself. It's more fun to sample this famous Burgundy product in Pontigny and surrounding villages where monks in Pontigny's Abbey church first developed and refined the wine. Perhaps drink it as an aperitif with little warm baked cheese puff balls called gougeres.
Yonne may be less well known as a cider region than Brittany and Normandy but its full-bodied farm cider from the apple orchards around Sens and Pays d'Othe, is well worth tasting. See apples pressed in the traditional way. Tourist Offices will have route maps. Information offices also have details of autumn and winter wine festivals and truffle markets in places like Noyers-sur-Serein, place de l'Hotel de Ville, where the most expensive black truffles 'black diamonds' can be seen.