Sunday, July 5, 2015

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2015: Stage 2: Hell & Damnation Beer & Edam

Stage 2: Utrecht -- Zeeland, 166km

Where are we:
The regional tourist site tells me that "Zeeland’s history has been defined by its battle against the tide. It has also shaped the character of its people who are hardworking, uncomplaining and untiring. Coves, potholes or ‘kolks’ and ancient dikes, are reminders of how much of the province once belonged to the sea. You’ll also find the remains of lost villages and evidence on houses of how high the floodwaters once reached, but the waterways have also brought prosperity to the region, mainly in the form of maritime trade. This was an industry that led to flourishing economic and cultural times, particularly in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and many of Zeeland’s towns and cities have well-preserved historical buildings dating from that ‘Golden Age’." also tells me that Zeeland has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other Dutch province. These seven establishments are famous for their culinary delights that largely use local products."

The stage: Christian Prudhomme's comment
For the first time, the Tour de France will experience offshore racing! The harbours and beach resorts of France have offered prestigious finishes by the sea. But only the Netherlands can allow to design a finish line “in the sea”, at the heart of the Zeeland Delta. This unlikely geographical situation will mainly alert the title contenders: risks of echelons are to be highly considered.

 Excellent news to start the day for fans, if not the riders:

Also, rain at the finish. 
Our quite possibly doomed break of the day: Jan Barta, Stef Clement,
Armindo Fonseca, and Perrig Quemeneur. With 120 kilometers to go, they had about 2:30 and the wind and rain had found the peloton. 



To the front of the peloton, team trains with Tinkoff-Saxo pushing the pace. Stages like this can be very much about "keeping the gc guys safe." Just over one hundred kilometers to go and there came the echelons. Splits already, though the main gc contenders seem to be in the front group. Read more about echelons and crosswinds here
Just under one hundred kilometers to go and the peloton was back together.
A crash. Oh, Geraint Thomas. But all riders involved back up and riding. 

More small crashes, with Kelderman down for a second time on the day. Sixty kilometers to go and the peloton had once again caught the break. Behind there was a forty second gap to riders who had been caught behind the crash. Another crash, this time with Adam Hansen. Read more about his grand tour streak here
More splits and with fifty kilometers to go, Quintana was in the second group on the road, about forty seconds down, along with Valverde, Rodriguez and Perau,d among others. Also behind apparently, though not nearly as far behind, Nibali, Pinot and Dennis. One of those "too much going on for the commentators to keep track of it all" stages. 

Thirty seven kilometers to go and the gap to the 26-man yellow jersey group was  51”. Behind groups two and three had merged. In that front group: Gallopin, Greipel, Sieberg, Barguil, Dumoulin, Kwiatkowski, Cavendish, Martin, Renshaw, Stybar, Uran, Cancellara, Koren,Froome, Stannard, Thomas, Contador, Bennati, Rogers, Sagan, Van Garderen, Oss, Quinziato, Schar, Van Avermaet, and Wyss. Oh and poor Nibali, with a puncture at a very bad time. With about twenty kilometers to go he would make it back to the chase group, which was about fifty seconds behind the front group. Eighteen kilometers to go and the gap was at one minute. A puncture for Sagan and he would have to chase. Five kilometers to go and the gap was still over one minute.

And it looked like Cav went far too early.



Beer: De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis   
From Healthy Spirits   

From the producer: Our worldwide known craftbeer brewery started in 2004 in the historical windmill De Arkduif along the Oude Rijn river. Our main brewery meanwhile has moved ferther up the street but we still create smaller batches of craftbeers in the mill at Eet- & Bierlokaal de Molen. A beer focused restaurant, excellent beershop an tastingroom

Hel & Verdoemenis 
Stout & Porter-ish (Imperial Stout)
Ingredients: Water. Pale, brown, chocolate,roasted and caramel barley malts. Premian and saaz bitter hop. Yeast (top fermenting).
Description: Hel & Verdoemenis is bursting with flavors. Bitter, roasted, chocolate, coffee. All times 2. It's this why it's our Flag Ship and best selling Imperial Stout. 
Flavour indication: chocolate, coffee Translates as  Hell & Damnation

I say: I admit it. I am not a beer expert. But the fine folks at Healthy Spirits recommended this one. Plus, aged in Bordeaux barrels. How could I resist? Very dark in color, like black coffee. And it tastes kind of like coffee and bitter chocolate. Very little foam.

Food: Edam. Since we went for Gouda for stage 1, Edam seemed the right choice for today.
 The original Edam cheese, came from the town of Edam. In the 14th century Edam became an important export harbour. Most of the cheese made in Edam was sold for export. You can even visit a cheese market in Edam: "After the the closing of the commercial cheese market in 1922, where farmers from the neighborhood came sell their cheese, the market of Edam again revived in 1989. With the willing cooperation of over 90 volunteers and financial support of Beemsterkaas the market has become a major tourist event. The market is now enlivened by the play of an old Dutch street organ and especially by the tones of the Edam cheese chapel, the Edam cheese market has quickly become an important tourist event."

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