Friday, July 17, 2015

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2015 Stage 13: La Ciaude Minervois & Fouace

Stage 13: 198.5km 
Muret / Rodez

Muret is situated in the Haute-Garonne (Midi-Pyrenees region) in the south of France at 19 km from Toulouse, the department capital. (General information: Muret is 605 km from Paris). It is apparently an outer suburb of the city of Toulouse.
The Battle of Muret was fought on 12 September 1213. It started as a siege of the castle castle there, but ended as an open battle - one of the very few of the Cathar Crusades. 
Specialities: pavé de Muret (cake), Ribonnet organic wine, foie gras, Toulouse sausage, coustelous de porc (barbecue pork ribs), cassoulet, favade (bean stew)

Rodez: The tourist website tells me that: A historical setting which combines the testimony of medieval dwellings Renaissance mansions, and an old monastery which today houses the National Stud - the most beautiful of its kind in France. The seven villages around the hill upon which Rodez stands have a grand variety of heritage to share with you. Clearly time to visit the horses: Visit of the stud of the Haras National de Rodez, one of the most beautiful in France. 16th century Charterhouse. History of the Haras and visits of the installations. Presentation of the different breeds. Role of the Haras Nationaux in France. Demonstration of carriage driving, shoeing, grooming, dressage techniques (according to the time of year). Specialities: gourmet dishes from the Rouergue, aligot (cheese and potato dish)

The stage: Christian Prudhomme's comment
The older members of the pack might remember riding on some of the portions of the course used during the Albi time-trial in 2007. All will certainly enjoy the dive into the Tarn valley, but some might not feel as comfortable in the hilly part of the Aveyron area.The last kilometres should probably only concern the sprinters able to survive the steep hills.

Another very warm day out on the road and the break of the day is a bit smaller than yesterday:  Geniez, De Gendt, Gautier, Kelderman, Haas and Périchon.  

At the sprintermediate, another win from the field by Greipel, which meant that he was again in the lead for the green jersey competition. Current standings in that competition:
1 Andre Greipel 261
2 Peter Sagan 260
3 John Degenkolb 209
4 Mark Cavendish 192
5 Bryan Coquard 117

With ninety kilometers to go, the break has just about four minutes over the peloton. 
Nice field art:

Just as things seemed to be somewhat dull, a split in the peloton after a crash for Peraud.  The breakaway had 3'25" to the front split with 60.9 kilometers to go. After a mechanical, Nibali found himself in that second group on the road, so his teammates would push the pace. They would get back. 
A straw man:

Peraud would make it back to the peloton. Thirty two kilometers to go and the gap to the breakaway was just over two minutes. With just about twenty three kilometers to go and the peloton 1'30" behind, Haas attacked from the break. They would chase him down.And chase it down was the theme of the last few kilometers, setting things up for a reduced bunch sprint.



Wine: La Ciaude Minervois
From Dig Wine 
From the producer: Anne Gros and Jean Paul Tollot, two winegrowers in Burgundy for over 20 years, have combined their expertise to serve the fine terroirs in Cazelles, in the Minervois !!! Love at first sight ?... Absolutely ! Reflection ?... Of course !
We chose Cazelles for the diversity of its soil, made of limestone, clay and sandstone, for the discovery of 4 main cepages (Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault), for the quality and the wide age range of its vines, the privileged environment at the foot of the Black Mountain, its altitude of 220 metres (identical to Vosne- Romanée).
A building was created to grow, receive, make and care for these fine terroir wines. It has been designed with great attention to detail, respecting the energies, the wines and the people... A beautiful architectural structure made of simple but noble materials...terracotta, wood, stainless steel... Roundness is eveywhere... the road, the hills, the tanks, the barrels... the wines.
I say: Deep red in color, full.  Vibrant and rich. Lots of acidity with dark fruit and minerals.
Food: I had trouble coming up with a recipe for this stage. Aligot is on tap for a future stage and I could not find an appealing recipe for pavé de Muret online. So, instead, I relied on the Aveyron tourist website for a recipe:
Recipe for fouace or fougasse
This very popular gateau is made right across the département.
Here is its recipe: 
mix together in a terrine 500g of flour, 100g of butter, 15g of yeast mixed in a few decilitres of milk, 3 eggs, perfume with a small glass of cognac and a few drops of orange flower water; soften with a little milk and leave the dough to rise for about 12 hours. Shape the dough into a circle on bettered baking paper, baste with a beaten egg using a small brush, sprinkle with sugar and cook on a low heat.

As written, it was pretty simple and slightly vague. First up, I subbed pommeau for the cognac simply because I had it on hand. I ended up letting the dough rise for a few hours before refrigerating it overnight In the morning, I shaped it into a ring and allowed it to rise again before baking at 350 for about 25 to 30 minutes.
The verdict? Spoiler alert, but Pogne for Stage 16 is similar enough and more to my taste, so I'd make that one instead. That said, this dough is easy enough to make that it might be fun to experiment with a more savory version. 

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