Thursday, July 7, 2016

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2016: Stage 6 Cav! Vignobles Arbeau Fronton On L'Appelle Negrette & Saint Agur Cheese

Where are we? Heading from the Cantal to the Tarn-et-Garonne in the Midi-Pyrénées. Riding 187 kilometers from Arpajon-sur-Cère to Montauban. 

Arpajon-sur-Cère is a suburb located immediately to the south of Aurillac. The regional tourist site tells me:  Don't trust the weather reports; far from being the coldest city, Aurillac is one of the sunniest cities in France with 2 084 hours of clear skies per year. "The misunderstanding comes from the fact that Aurillac is the higest altitude (600 m) French city which is reported on in the national weather forecast..." explains Guylaine Gibert, group guide for the tourism office. Michelin chimes in: Volcanoes, a Pope, gold diggers and umbrellas. The business and tourism capital of the Haut-Auvergne, with its half-timbered houses Aurillac does not lack charm. It provides a particularly lively setting in August during the time of the street theatre Festival. 

LeTour Specialities: Truffade (potato pancake with cheese), pounti (pâté), stuffed cabbage, tripe, cheese (Cantal, Salers)

Montauban We are now in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Midi-Pyrénées. It is the capital of the department and lies 50kilometers north of Toulouse. From Michelin: Why is it that certain towns seem to produce artists in almost every generation? No one knows the answer. However, this ancient fortified town has this distinction since it was the home of Ingres, the portrait painter, Antoine Bourdelle, the sculptor, François Desnoyers, Robert Lapoujade, and Philippe Labro, the author and journalist. Montauban is a major crossroads and an active market town (market gardening and fruit production). It is also one of the «pink» towns of the Toulouse area
LeTour Specialities: boulets, bonbons flingueurs (chocolate-based sweets)

From LeTour:  Christian Prudhomme's comment:
While leaving the areas of Cantal and Aveyron, the numerous painful hills should give a few options to breakaway candidates. But the horizon should then be far clearer for the sprinters who will find in Montauban a perfect terrain for an exciting explanation.

The stage: Our break of the day is two riders, Barta and Arashiro. With 125 kilometers to go, they had 4:50 over the peloton. Given that a sprint was very possible today, they would not be given a big gap. 

Quite stage means lots of chateau talk from Phil and Paul. 70 kilometers to go and the gap was down to 2 minutes. 45 kilometers to go and it was down to 1:20. 
Just as I was complaining about the lack of field art, there was a strange picture of chess players atop rocks along the side of the road.

On towards the sprint they continued, with a finish that once again had me screaming in delight. No, really. 



Wine: Vignobles Arbeau Fronton On L'Appelle Negrette
From Franklywines:  
Christy says: Nice, easy, fun 

Jancis Robinson tells me that Negrette is a speciality of Fronton near Toulouse producing supple, perfumed, wine for early drinking.

It is indeed easy and fun. Plus, a really great label. 

Food: Saint Agur Cheese is a mild, very creamy blue. Zabar's tells me that it is a  newcomer on the French blue scene, Saint Agur has only been made since 1988. In spite of its novelty, it has become one of the more popular French blues, perhaps owing to its rich creaminess. Weighing in at 60% butterfat (m.g.), it qualifies as a double-creme. With a straightforward blue flavor, it is pleasant and mild. Made in Auvergne using pasteurized cow's milk. When in stores, look for the unique, octagonal, foil-covered wheel.

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