Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Food and Wine of the Tour de France 2015 Stage 5: Bezelbuth Beer & Mimolette

Stage 5 189.5km  
 Arras Communauté Urbaine / Amiens Métropole

From the tourist website:
Ideally located less than two hours away from London and Brussels, 50 minutes from Paris by TGV, 30 from Lille and 15 from the Louvre-Lens, Arras is a perfect and charming stopping point for travellers in Northern Europe.
This sounds worth a visit: Discover the Boves, plunging into the atmosphere of limestone quarries delved out from the tenth century onwards. The guided visit of the Boves is a tourist circuit laid out in the underground levels of the town, offering an insight into Arras’s "subterranean history". Initially a place of chalk extraction and sweated toil, these boves (underground galleries) became cellars, storeplaces for the merchants of the town’s squares, and later a shelter for the townspeople during Second World War bombardments... Gaze in wide- eyed amazement as you discover a fascinating history in the shadows of the Boves. Specialities: chitterlings, porcelain, cheese hearts, cobbles, chocolate rats 

Amiens: From the tourist websiteCathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens A UNESCO heritage site.Proof of real technical genius, the Notre-Dame d'Amiens cathedral demonstrates architectural harmony. Built from 1220 to 1288, its size makes it one of the biggest Gothic buildings ever built: 145 m long, 42 m high, and a total volume of 200,000 m3. Its indoor and outdoor statuary is just as remarkable as its architecture. Since it was restored, the polychromy of its Gothic doors has become a main reference. This revelation gave rise to the "Amiens, a cathedral in colours" show, which offers a reproduction of the original medieval colours. 
 Specialities: macaroons, chocolate tuiles, duck pâté, pear tart, ficelle picarde (savoury pancake)

The stage: Christian Prudhomme's comment: The territories that the stage will travel through were the theater of decisive battles in the Somme area during the First World War. This time, the roads will probably be the scene of a confrontation between the sprinters' teams. On the list of winners in Amiens are the likes of specialists like André Darrigade or Mario Cipollini. A fast finish is expected.

First, from yesterday, an interview with Tony Martin:

There are not many stages for the sprinters at thus year's Tour, but this should be one of them. Though the weather forecast may have something to say about that.

Our first lone breakaway rider of the Tour: Pierre-Luc Perichon. Lots of early crashes and one of the favorites for the stage was out: Nacer Bouhanni. That makes eight riders already out of the race. With 107 kilometers to go, Perichon had a gap of just about 1:30 to the peloton. And then came a split in the peloton. At the sprintermediate, Greipel took the maximum points from the field. Almost immediately after that point, Perichon was caught. After riding through the feedzone, it looked like it might be echelon time. Another abandonment: Jack Bauer.

Mechanical for Cav, but he had teammates to help him chase back. Would it hurt them later in the sprint?

 If this works, it could be fun.

On the road, the second group was over 2:30 back, so they were unlikely to get back on. Fifty kilometers to go and it was calm up front, with the main favorites safely in the front group. Twitter and NBCSN is speculating that perhaps a trace was on, as there were no attacks. And then, at about twenty five kilometers to go, a crash at the back of the first group. Among those caught up, Pinot.

I had reached the fingers crossed for Cav portion of the stage. He still had six teammates with him in the front group. Tony Martin to the front. Greipel. Wow. 



Bezelbuth Beer
From Healthy Spirits

From an importer: The Flanders region of Northern France, located just south of the Belgian border is the point for the most colorful offerings of French beers. Brasserie Grain d’Orge is an artisanal, family owned brewery established in 1898. The location of the brewery was originally chosen for the artesian well, which supplies pure water for brewing today. In 2003, the Grain d’Orge brewery produced 200,000 hectoliters. Their products are distributed throughout France and exported to Belgium, England, Italy, Spain, Canada and Japan. Belzebuth 13% abv strong golden ale is a relatively new product in their portfolio. It was first released in France in fall of 1997.
A very unique golden ale in the world at 13% alc./vol. It is top-fermented all malt filtered ale. Its pungent taste is a result of a particular variety of yeast and mixture of three different malts. No extra alcohol is added to the natural process nor water is removed to increase its strength. This golden ale has a complex aroma, which almost defies description with fullness of flavors overcoming the warming sensation of alcohol. Perfect as an aperitif or with a sinful desserts.

I say: Light apricot in color. Kind of sweet and malty.  13% alcohol. Not very carbonated.  Is there such a thing as dessert beer?

Food: Mimolette cheese               From Murrays' Cheese: This hardy cheese from France couldn't be more different from its neighbor Camembert more. Looking like a cratered, dusty cannonball, Mimolette is infamously difficult to open for its super-hard, craggy countenance. Inspired by Dutch Edam, it has since gone in a unique direction; the appearance and floral aroma of the rind is the work of tiny mites, specially evolved to cheese. The French call them tiny affineurs for their important role in the aging process. Its electric-orange paste has sweet, caramelized depth and smooth, fudgy finish, maybe a little Calvados will help you forget about the bugs.

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