Monday, May 7, 2012

Wines of the Giro Stage 3 Horsens, Denmark: Akvavit

Another day in Denmark.

Etape 3 - Horsens-Horsens

GiroStarts 2012 tells me that: Both the start and finishing line are in Horsens for the third and last of the stages in Denmark. The peloton will follow a route along the south side of Horsens inlet via Glud towards Juelsminde before the route goes north back to Horsens and continues along the northern side of the inlet in the direction of Odder. From there the route leads the peloton west crossing two of the highest points in Denmark: Ejer Bavnehøj and Yding Skovhøj before reaching Horsens via Brædstrup.
The route will then take the peloton back to Horsens where they will pass the finish line at Strandpromenaden and ride a 14 kilometer loop around the city, three times. 

The day started with a memorial to Wouter Weylandt, who died during the race’s third stage almost one year ago and Jan Trojberg, the mayor of the start town of Horsens, who died suddenly on Sunday. 
The stage itself went much as expected. A break went out early and was caught. The peloton came into the finishing town all together, once again set up for a bunch sprint. The sprint though, was marred by a crash taking out not only Mark Cavendish but the race leader, Taylor Phinney, as well. Cavendish did get up and cross the line, after some fine bike handling from a few riders to avoid his head, but Phinney did not. Early speculation is that it could be a broken ankle. More on that to come. Rest Day tomorrow as they fly to Italy to continue the race.

Stage winner: Matt Goss
Maglia Rosa:Taylor Phinney

To drink: Today, something traditionally Danish. Indeed, Akvavit from Aalborg.

To say that I know very little about Akvavit would not be an exaggeration. But, The San Francisco Chronicle again to the rescue: 
"The drink: "Aquavit is indeed the national spirit," says Martin Bjelgaard, marketing director V&S Distillers, which produces 17 different aquavits, including Aalborg Taffel, Hoker Snaps, Harald Jensen and Aalborg Jubilaeums. Ranging in hue from clear to brown and even bright red, some Danish aquavits are aged in barrels and some are flavored with oak or berry extracts. Most have forward dill, coriander and caraway flavors. 

The tradition: Don't sip a shot of aquavit while in Denmark. But before chugging the stuff down, take time to toast your companions. Danes raise their glasses together, say "skal" (which sounds like "skull"), and make eye contact with each person at the table before drinking. Before setting their empty glasses back down on the table, they again make eye contact with each person. While each shot of aquavit is served with a glass of beer, expect at least two rounds - "because you need one for each leg," says tour guide Ida Saval - with the toast repeated each time.

The food: Danes typically enjoy aquavit at lunches that can linger into late afternoon. Traditional midday meals feature herring and smorrebrod (open-face sandwiches)."

I say: Well, then, that is slightly intimidating. I had planned on a cocktail. A friend had recommended the Trident, which I will try at a later date. But who am I to go against tradition? Skal!

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