Monday, November 25, 2013

K's "Please no more cookies right now" Blondies

K's favorite thing to bake is chocolate chip cookies. I know that it is a very first world problem, but sometimes I just can't take anymore cookies. See also: layer cakes. So this fall she has been experimenting with both brownies and blondies. Although we are still searching for our perfect brownie recipe, the recipe below, modified from one on the Ezra PoundCake blog, is both kid and parent approved. 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons rye or bourbon or rum (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking pan that is in K''s words: "as big as a piece of paper", and line with parchment, letting the ends of the paper hang over two opposite edges of the pan.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar and stir until smooth. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and rye. Stir in the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in the butterscotch and chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. When the pan is completely cool, use the parchment paper to pull the blondies out of the pan.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

2014 Tour de France Route

Well, this should lead to some interesting wine choices. . .
Time to start on my annual spreadsheet.  

Six mountain stages with five summit finishes, 15.4km  of the cobblestones that are the hallmark of Paris-Roubaix, plus only a single time trial.

The Stages:
July 5: Stage 1 Leeds to Harrogate, 191km
July 6: Stage 2 York to Sheffield, 198km
July 7: Stage 3 Cambridge to London, 159km
July 8: Stage 4 Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille, 164km
July 9: Stage 5 Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainault, 156km
July 10: Stage 6 Arras to Reims, 194km
July 11: Stage 7 Epernay to Nancy, 233km
July 12: Stage 8 Tomblaine to Gerardmer, 161km
July 13: Stage 9 Gerardmer to Mulhouse, 166km
July 14: Stage 10 Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles, 161km
July 15: Rest day
July 16: Stage 11 Besancon to Oyonnax, 186km
July 17: Stage 12 Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne, 183km
July 18: Stage 13 Saint-Etienne to Chamrousse, 200km
July 19: Stage 14 Grenoble to Risoul, 177km
July 20: Stage 15 Tallard to Nimes, 222km
July 21: Rest day
July 22: Stage 16 Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon, 237km
July 23: Stage 17 Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary-Soulan, 125km
July 24: Stage 18 Pau to Hautacam, 145km
July 25: Stage 19 Mauborguet Pays du Val d’Adour to Bergerac, 208km
July 26: Stage 20 Bergerac to Perigueux, 54km individual time trial
July 27: Stage 21 Evry to Paris Champs-Elysees, 136km

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making Ciccioli

When a Facebook friend asked a few weeks back if anyone would like to try making the Ciccioli recipe in the new Fatted Calf Cookbook, "In the Charcuterie," I signed up right away. Ciccioli is best described as a spicy, spreadable Italian pork terrine, and the ingredients are very simple: pork shoulder, lots of lard, garlic and herbs and spices. Since there were seven of us working on the project that meant starting with seven pounds of pork and a rather startling 24 cups of lard.
Note: walking around with that much lard in your bag may make you feel like you are in a liposuction commercial.

The recipe can be found here and we followed it pretty closely, though we added thyme and rosemary to one batch and marash pepper to both, rather than chile flakes. The recipe allows for a lot of down time, so although it is a many hour project, the active work time is minimal. We snacked, drank wine, chatted and shelled beans and peas. We ended up with approximately 1 pound of ciccioli each, with lots of leftover lard for future projects. Maybe time to fry some chicken?

A look at the project:

The pork, seasoned over night and cut into cubes

Lots and lots of lard

Pot #1

Pot #2

Testing the meat, several hours later

The meat, after cooking for 3 hours

Lard, with gelee at the very bottom

Ready for shredding

Shredded, with marash

Shredded with thyme and rosemary

Monday, October 7, 2013

2014 Giro Route

And here we go again! Or, really, there they will go in May. After weeks of leaks and guesses, the official 2014 Giro route has been announced. An interesting one for my Wines of The Giro as we kick off in Belfast. Whisky/whiskey? Beer? We'll see.

I'm still sorting through and making my spreadsheet and will update with more details asap, including a map. The organizers made a video, if you'd like to see more right away.

May 9, stage 1: Belfast - Belfast, team time trial, 21.7km
May 10, stage 2: Belfast - Belfast, 218km
May 11, stage 3: Armagh - Dublin, 187km
May 12: Rest day and transfer
May 13, stage 4: Giovinazzo - Bari, 121km
May 14, stage 5: Taranto - Viggiano, 200km
May 15, stage 6: Sassano - Montecassino, 247km
May 16, stage 7: Frosinone - Foligno, 214km
May 17, stage 8: Foligno - Montecopiolo, 174km
May 18, stage 9: Lugo - Sestola, 174km
May 19: Rest day
May 20, stage 10: Modena - Salsomaggiore, 184km
May 21, stage 11: Collecchio - Savona, 249km
May 22, stage 12: Barbaresco - Barolo, individual time trial, 46.4km
May 23, stage 13: Fossano - Rivarolo Canavese, 158km
May 24, stage 14: Agliè - Oropa, 162km
May 25, stage 15: Valdengo - Montecampione, 217km
May 26: Rest day
May 27, stage 16: Ponte di Legno - Val Martello/Martelltal, 139km
May 28, stage 17: Sarnonico - Vittorio Veneto, 204km
May 29, stage 18: Belluno - Rif. Panarotta (Valsugana), 171km
May 30, stage 19: Bassano del Grappa – Cima Grappa (Crespano del Grappa) individual time trial, 26.8km
May 31, stage 20: Maniago - Monte Zoncolan, 167km.
June 1, stage 21: Gemona – Trieste, 169km.

Friday, August 23, 2013

On Not Drinking the Vuelta (Again)
I am no Adam Hansen. Hansen, a shoe designer, leadout train member extraordinaire and rather awesome tweeter is currently aiming to complete his seventh consecutive Grand Tour. As much as I enjoy drinking the wines of the Giro and of the Tour de France, I have yet to drink the wines of the Vuelta. One of these years I will (and will probably start here), but not 2013. 

But, I'll certainly be watching. The startlist includes names like Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez, Sergio Henao, Rigoberto Uràn, Ivan Basso and more. The route map is above. I'm very fond of the Podium Cafe race viewing preview and I am hoping that they  may host another Stage Predictor game. There is also good race information on Inrng.

That said, I was sent wine samples that correspond to three of the Vuelta stages by the folks promoting the Spain’s Great Match event, a wine and food event taking place in New York on September 24th. Wines information in italics below comes from their promotional materials


Stage 5: Rey Santo Rueda 2012 is a white wine made in the region of Rueda near the Lago de Sanabria stop in the race. It is a blend of estate grown grapes from 10-year old Verdejo and 40-year-old Viura vines. Information from the importer is here. and the producer here.  

 In Spain, Rueda whites are called the most popular white wines. Rueda wines have a refreshing distinct flavor, known for a hint of herbs, a balanced minerality and an excellent level of acidity. The wines are crisp, filled with tropical and stone fruit. Known as “the people’s white,” Rueda wines are accessible and versatile, a perfect pairing with seafood, salad, white meats, pasta and more. 

I found it fragrant and herbal, with lots of fruit, a very easy-drinking summer white. 

Stage 10: 2008 Casa Gualda La Mancha Seleccion Cincuenta Anniversario A blend of Tempranillo, Petit Verdot and Syrah. It spends four-months in new French and American oak barrel and 1 year for semi-new barrels and is made very near the Torredelcampo stop. The producer website is here.

Stage 21: ARRAYAN SELECCION 2009  A blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot that is aged for eight months in French oak casks. It is made north of Toledo southwest of Madrid near the end of the race. The producer website is here.

These two wines are from the region of Castilla la Mancha which is a large wine producing region south of Madrid on the vast central Iberian plateau. More than half of the country's grapes are grown here. They are characterised, above all the young wines, by being very expressive in the nose, for their fruitiness (black fruits, mature fruits, cherry, strawberry, redcurrant), their strong colour, generally an intense purple-red with purple rims. In the mouth they have structure and strength, with lively and persistent tannins.

I say: Indeed, lots of fruit here along with some leather, spice and sweetness. Persistent tannin indeed, especially on the Arrayan. Some licorice on the Casa Gualda.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blackberry Almond Buckle

This time of year, many recipes at our house start with: first, you pick the blackberries. As our new neighbors seem to have no interest in sharing in our annual harvest, we are once again dealing with an excess of blackberries. Most years, I simply freeze most of them and use them on the sort of cold January night, when even in California, you feel like spring is too far away. But this year my freezer has been taken over by K's baking projects. At last look, and I may be missing something, that included: half a chocolate layer cake, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, halves of two different vanilla layer cakes with colorful frosting, random cupcakes, and chocolate zucchini bread. Add that bounty to our regular freezer items and there is little room for blackberries. 

Buckle has always been one of my favorite desserts and it is one of my favorite ways to use up "excess" blackberries. Thus this text exchange earlier in the week with K.
"I think you should make another buckle."
"You'll need to buy more butter."
"Also, vanilla."
"With what fruit? Please don't be blackberries."

Blackberry Almond Buckle
Adapted from the The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes, because we like Caitlin's buckle
We've upped the fruit a lot from the original recipe because I like a lot of fruit in my buckle, if you like more cake than fruit, use 1 or 2 cups.


  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla salt (Kosher salt with vanilla bean) or Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla salt
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups blackberries or fruit of your choice
To make the streusel, cut the butter into small chunks and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse beach sand, about 
2 minutes. Add the almonds and mix just until the streusel begins to clump together and look like gravel, being careful not to let it come together to form a dough.

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and salt and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the eggs and the vanilla extract and whisk until well blended. With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg mixture slowly, in a steady stream, and mix until well-incorporated and very smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix on medium speed for 30 more seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed just until uniform in texture. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the blackberries until evenly incorporated. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth it with a rubber spatula, and sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top. Bake for 60 minutes, until the streusel is dry and golden and the buckle is firm and springs back when gently pressed in the center, rotating the pan midway through the baking time.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Stored in a covered container at room temperature, it will keep for up to 3 days. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Flour Bakery's Homemade Oreos

I've been quiet, but K has been baking up a storm. I actually said out loud a few days back "Please, no more cake." One of her latest projects, and one of my recent favorites, was the homemade "Oreos" from the Flour Bakery Cookbook.

Flour Bakery’s Homemade Oreos
Yield: 16 to 18 sandwich cookies

1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (200 grams) semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg
1-1/2 cups (210 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (90 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp. kosher salt (K used vanilla salt)
1/2 tsp.baking soda

In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and granulated sugar until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate. Add the egg and whisk until thoroughly incorporated. 
In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda until well mixed. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The dough will start to seem to floury, so you will find it easiest to switch to mixing it with your hands until it comes together. (K's note: You will get lots of cookie dough on your hands.) The finished dough will have the consistency of Play-Doh. 

Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Shape the dough into a rough log about 10 inches long and 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Place the log at the edge of the sheet of parchment paper, and roll the parchment around the log. With the log fully encased in parchment, roll it into a smoother log, keeping it at 2-1/2 inches in diameter. (Note: K's log rolling skills were not perfect, so we ended up with oblong cookies.) Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm. The log may settle and sink a bit in the fridge, so re-roll it every 15 minutes or so to maintain a nice round log, if you like. K did not re-roll.
 Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the dough log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place the slices about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cookies are firm to the touch. Check them frequently after 16 or 17 minutes, poking them in the middle. As soon as they feel firm to the touch, remove them from the oven. Let cool before filling.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1-2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. milk
Pinch of kosher salt

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until completely smooth and soft. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until the mixture is perfectly smooth. Add the milk and salt and again beat until smooth. You should have about 1 cup.
Scoop about 1 rounded tablespoon of the filling onto the bottom of 1 cookie. Top with a second cookie, bottom side down, then press the cookies together to spread the filling toward the edges. Repeat until all of the cookies are filled.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cooking from the Books with K: A Chocolate Cake for Matilda

If you have been reading here, you may notice that I have been a bit focused on the Tour de France. Someone asked one day if K watches with me. The answer, sadly, is no. For many of the stages she is asleep (hello, 3 am wakeups) and for others at her father's house. But when she is awake and I am watching she tends to do one of two things: read or bake. Thus, a special post-Tour Cooking from the Books.

In this edition we present: Roald Dahl's Matilda. Although K read most of the Dahl books years ago, I never thought that she was a big fan. She says "I liked and read them in second grade." But this summer, she had two weeks of Musical Theater summer camp. In their end of camp recital they performed songs and skits from two musicals: Pippin and Matilda. Thus, I have spent the past month or so listening to the songs of Matilda. Working on the songs, K was inspired to re-read the book.

As always, K's thoughts: "Matilda is about a girl named Matilda Wormwood, whose parents ignore her and love tv more than anything. At 5 years old she can read collage level books and is excellent at math. Her school's headmistress, Miss Trunchbull is a cruel, twisted person who believes strongly that children are maggots; that is the school motto. 
Matilda's teacher though, is a kind quiet woman named Miss Honey, who sees Matilda's brilliance and tries to talk to her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood however laugh at the idea of Matilda being smart, kind, and the thought of her ever going to collage. 

Later, we see that the Trunchbull will do almost anything, including throwing children by their hair or ears. When a boy named Bruce Bogtrotter sneaks a slice of her chocolate cake, she makes him eat the whole thing in front of the whole school. When she comes to check on the class, Matilda's best friend Lavender puts a newt into her water jug. The Trunchbull believes it is a crocodile and freaks out. Somehow, Matilda uses a power she never knew she had and knocks the glass over. She later tries to show Miss Honey what she can do. 

Miss Honey invites Matilda over to visit. We see that Miss Honey lives in a tiny house, having her house and money stolen by her evil aunt, Miss Trunchbull. Matilda asks some pointless seeming questions, and goes home to practice her power. 

The next day at school, Miss Trunchbull visits them again, and Matilda levitates a piece of chalk and writes; "Agatha, This is Magnus. Give my little bumblebee her house and her money. Then get out of town. If you don't, I will get you. I will get you like you got me. That is a promise." Miss Trunchbull runs away, never to be seen again.

 Then Matilda finds out her family is moving to Spain and begs Miss Honey to adopt her. She does and they all live happily ever after.
 There is also a musical of this, that we did parts of at camp, that has very good songs. I like the cake and blackboard parts."

K was pretty clear on what she wanted to make from Matilda "the richest most chocolatey cake we can find, like Bruce had to eat." She then spent far too much time searching through the cookbooks in our house, unable to find a recipe that made her happy. After some crowd sourcing on Twitter, we ended up with this recipe from Epicurious. You can use the chocolate cake recipe of your choice. 

However, K was not happy with the suggested frosting, so we ended up with a more traditional ganache, from Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum. That recipe is below, edited to reflect the way K made it. A more detailed recipe is in the book, which K says "is one of her favorite cake books."

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup whipping cream, warm
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla 

In a microwave-safe container, melt chocolate chips, stirring occasionally. 
Once the chocolate is fully melted, gradually stir in the cream until it is uniform in color. Allow to cool, until no longer warm to the touch. Whisk in the softened butter one tablespoon at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Use at once or allow to sit for a few hours. The ganache will continue to thicken at room temperature.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wines of the Tour de France 2013: A Recap

Hard to believe, but another Tour de France is in the books. Congratulations to Chris Froome and his Sky team for a race well done, even if they did not have Bernie Eisel on their Tour roster. Congratulations also for Nairo Quintana and Joaquim (J-Rod, Purito) Rodriguez for their podium spots. Quintana also won both the polka dot (King of the Mountain) and white (Best Young Rider) jerseys, a pretty remarkable accomplishment. Congratulations as well to Peter Sagan for his green jersey. You'll get them next year Cav!

Final GC:
1. GBRFROOME Christopher 1 SKY PROCYCLING 83h 56' 40''
2. COLQUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander 128 MOVISTAR TEAM 84h 01' 00'' + 04' 20''
3. ESPRODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin 101 KATUSHA TEAM 84h 01' 44'' + 05' 04''
4. ESPCONTADOR Alberto 91 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 84h 03' 07'' + 06' 27''
5. CZEKREUZIGER Roman 94 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 84h 04' 07'' + 07' 27''
6. NEDMOLLEMA Bauke 164 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 84h 08' 22'' + 11' 42''
7. DENFUGLSANG Jakob 63 ASTANA PRO TEAM 84h 08' 57'' + 12' 17''
8. ESPVALVERDE Alejandro 121 MOVISTAR TEAM 84h 12' 06'' + 15' 26''
9. ESPNAVARRO Daniel 139 COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS 84h 12' 32'' + 15' 52''
10. USATALANSKY Andrew 178 GARMIN - SHARP 84h 14' 19'' + 17' 39''

For me, that means another Wines of the Tour is done.  A special thanks this year goes to Christy Frank at FranklyWines for her help in sourcing wines (11 this year!), plus the folks at Podium Cafe for giving me a place to chat at 3am. I couldn't have done it without you!

Below, links to each stage write-up with race action and wine details.
Stage 1 Domaine de Marquiliani Rosé de Sciaccarellu
Stage 2 Domaine de Gioielli Cap Corse Blanc
Stage 3 Abbatucci "Cuvée Faustine"
Stage 4 Chateau de Bellet Baron G Blanc
Stage 5 Domaine du Bagnol Cassis Rosé
Stage 6 Chateau Simone Rosé
Stage 7 Laurent Cazottes Wild Cherry
Stage 8 Clos Centeilles C de Centeilles
Stage 9 Domaine Bru-Bache 2010 Jurancon
Stage 10 Luneau Papin 1999 L d'Or Muscadet
Stage 11 Cyril Zangs Cidre
Stage 12 2003 Les Roches Chinon
Stage 13 Domaine de la Folie “Petite Fugue”
Stage 14 Sunier Fleurie
Stage 15 Souhaut La Souteronne
Stage 16 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1995
Stage 17 Clos St Jospeh Villars-sur-Var 2011 White
Stage 18 Pierre Gonon Chasselas
Stage 19 Danilo Thomain Enfer d'Arvier
Stage 20 Domaine Dupasquier Mondeuse
Stage 21 George Laval’s Brut Nature (375)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Paris! Wines of the Tour de France Stage 21: George Laval’s Brut Nature & Kittel

118 kilometers from  Versailles to Paris Champs-Élysées

From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view

Around the Arc-de-Triomphe: "It's the final day, and it's going to be incomparable in the strictest sense because we really wanted to pay full tribute at the end of this 100th edition. From the sporting perspective, there shouldn't be too many surprises: it's difficult to imagine the sprinters missing out! And if that sprinter happens, for the fifth consecutive occasion, to be called Mark Cavendish, then that really would be an extraordinary exploit. From the celebratory point of view, we have an unforgettable route, which will start in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, pass the monument to Jacques Anquetil, then go through the courtyard of the Louvre, before turning not in front of but around the Arc de Triomphe. The finish will be at dusk, at around 9.45pm. It will be magical..."

I've said it before, but at this point in the race, I'll repeat myself. I first fell in love with cycling wen I was unexpectedly in Paris for the final stage of the Tour years ago. We watched some of the final stage, essentially from the Louvre. It was completely magical. 

A day for celebration in the peloton: Paris, nighttime, sequins. No, really, sequins.  For the first time ever, today's "parade" into Paris will be held at night. Well, I suppose that I have always said that Paris is the best lit city I have ever visited. 
The stage will be relaxed, there may even be Champagne on bikes. Until, of course, the Champs-Élysées when the pressure will be on Mark Cavendish for what could be a record fifth consecutive stage win at one of the most famous finishes in the cycling world. 
Adam Hansen, looking forward to next month's Vuelta, has made me laugh again on twitter. 
HansenAdam 1:22am via Twitter for Android
Today's the last day of my 21 day holiday in France. Back to work monday morning to save up some cash. Holiday in Spain next would be nice!

Still hoping for a top 20 finish in the Podium Cafe Stage Predictor game. My picks: Cavendish, Kittle, Sagan and Greipel.  

In case my allegiances are not clear: Go Cav!  As always, fingers crossed that he can win again on the Champs-Élysées. But first, a parade. Sagan, by the way, has done a rather bad job dyeing his goatee green. Rather than bleaching and coloring, he seems to have just covered the hair in something green. 
170 of 198 riders will finish the race today, with seven complete teams. Meanwhile, Purito Rodriguez is having trouble lighting a cigar.
Flag down and the "race" begins. Not that they speed up at all. 
Cats for Cavendish!
My conclusion one that I seem to reach every year: today's coverage is like the longest "One Shining Moment" ever. One Shining Moment is, of course, the segment shown of dramatic moments at the end of each year's NCAA basketball tournament. 
Finally, Champagne for Froome. It is tradition after all.
  inrng 10:32am via Web
After the champagne we need the ritual "fake attack with exaggerated body language" and the classic "tall rider on small bike" routine

On tv, a Jens! highlight feature. He has said that this will be his last Tour, so I expect him to lead the peloton onto the Champs. This year the riders will go around the Arc de Triomphe for the first time in race history. Happy 100th, Tour de France. Planes with red, white and blue smoke. Late afternoon light. Well done Tour organizers. Time for the laps around Paris. 60 kilometers to go now!
In contrast to the earlier hours, they are moving very quickly right now, as the usual attempt to form a breakaway takes place. Flat tire for Cavendish. Early still, but if OPQS has to waste energy chasing, it could matter later. 50 kilometers to go. Cav back in the pack quickly, Millar and Flecha in a break up front. Six laps to go and Argos-Shimano and OPQS lead the peloton.

Very sad to see Westra abandon. Apparently he is ill and was lapped so was forced to abandon. Another flat for OPQS, Chavanel this time. And another, Steegmans this time. Note that as wide as the road is, the cobbles make it far from a smooth ride.
David Millar alone in front with 30 km to go. Gap of 21 seconds. 20 kilometers to go 16 seconds for Millar with a second attack from Roy. More attacks to come. Hey, Valverde! 16.2km to go, Tankink, Valverde, Quinziato with a 16" gap. 12 kilometers to go and a 20 second gap. 10 kilometers and 15 seconds. 
Last lap and boy is that bell loud! All together now.
3 kilometers to go and Chris Froome has won the Tour.
Photo finish: Kittel

Stage: Marcel Kittel

Yellow: Chris Froome

K wanted a photo with her cake in it.
Not a pairing suggestion. 

Wine: George Laval’s Brut Nature (375)
From Frankly Wines

From the producer, with help from Google translate:  The village Cumires lies five kilometers from Epernay, in the heart of Champagne, on the right bank of the Marne. The slopes facing south, the typicality of the soil and sub-soil and microclimate, helped classify Premier Cru terroir of Cumires.

George and Nicole in 1971, Vincent since 1996, decided to work in organic viticulture and wine to raise the natural and traditional way.
Organic farming respects our quality of life, preserves original aromas and flavors of our land and helps produce great wines of Champagne. Any technical or product that could pose a risk to the environment and public or affect the quality of wine health is excluded. The independent body Ecocert SAS controls and certifies organic production according to UNECE Regulation No. 2092/91.
The health of the vine, the right balance between the quantity and quality of grapes, even the aromatic expression of the soil depend on the soil. We therefore maintain it carefully.Organic fertilization is natural (compost), manufactured in compliance "organic" and reasoned to meet the needs of the vine.We work to aerate the soil, burying the amendments. The weed is also controlled by mowing. These cultural practices prevent erosion, maintain an intense activity of the fauna and flora of the soil and encourage deep rooting of the vines.We grow three grape varieties, Pinot Black, Pinot Meunier (black grapes) and Chardonnay (white grapes). Half of the vineyard has over thirty years and some vines are over seventy years old vines produce better quality grapes.Observation and prophylactic control are essential in organic farming. The wine works are kept and performed manually. To combat noise, we employ only herbal preparations, powdered rock or trace elements, and organic insecticides harmless to the environment. Treatments are reasoned by the risk of infestation and the health status of each parcel.
At maturity, the grapes are harvested by hand and pressed in our traditional Champagne press.Afterwords settling, the must is sung in the pantry or natural indigenous yeasts transform white wine without sugaring. Ageing lasts ten months. The quality of the grapes, the long period of vinification, low volume tanks and barrels, allow natural clarification of wines, without any bleaching product, without fining and without filtration. The wine is well built slowly and naturally retains its organoleptic properties.The harvest to bottling, the barrels are topped up regularly and the wines are tasted and analyzed frequently. During the winemaking cellar, the only product used is exogenous sulfur, but at very low doses (less than 30 milligrams per liter of total S02), it is essential for us to prevent oxidation of the wine in the state our present knowledge. The different varieties and places known until vinified separately, are assembled before the draw. Stored on racks in a vaulted cellar, champagne bottles and takes foam aging on lees two to four years depending on the vintage. The stirring is then performed manually on console.

This blend of three grape varieties, Chardonnay (50%), Pinot Black (30%) and Pinot Meunier (20%), local Cumariot is Brut Nature, ie no sugar added after disgorging. Rigorous care of vines, the requirement of maturity and natural breeding in oak barrels used to obtain the necessary harmonious balance to the creation of champagne Brut Nature. Half-bottles are from the 2008 harvest, the bottles of 2010 vintage (90%) and 2009 (10%)

I say: How could I resist this note from FranklyWines: "I have 375mls of George Laval’s Brut Nature in 375ml format. It’s 2008 base and while the 750mls don’t see much dosage, these baby bottles see NONE. Really focused, almost saline. Only 22 cases of these little guys for the world… and I snagged 2 b/c I couldn’t resist. "

Aren't we interesting?  Firm. Golden in color. Yeast, chalk, the salinity Christy mentioned above. Green apple, pears, orange peel. This is a fascinating wine.