Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Wine & Food of the Tour 2017 Stage 4

Where are we? Mondorf-les-Bains / Vittel

Mondorf-les-Bains: Luxembourg! For cycling fans, the home of the Schleck family. Like Vittel below, this is a spa town. The local tourist site tells me that
The spa town of Mondorf-les-bains is well known beyond the borders for its expert mix of wellness, health and culture. The parc of the "Domaine Thermal" covers more than 40 hectares and is a haven for lovers of nature. Families can enjoy a barge tour or a round of minigolf. The "Anciens Thermes", the "Orangerie" and the "Waasserhaus" are spots which can be discovered during a leasurely walk.
Specialities: Thermal waters. Luxembourg: jambon en croûte (ham in pastry), bouchée à la reine (vol-au-vent), trout in Riesling, plum tart, Luxembourg Moselle wines

Vittel: Another spa town! Also the home of the famous water. So why not try the Heritage and Thermal Museum?
Specialities: Mineral water, frog tart, Lorraine pâté, quiche lorraine, plums, blackberries, blueberries, honey, sweets from Vosges 

The stage:
Stage 4 will honor Luxemburger champions of the Tour de France from François Faber to Andy Schleck, the latter having the privilege to attend the start only 200 metres away from his home in Mondorf-les-Bains. It's a flattish race in the east of France with a finish in Vittel. The thermal station is famous for producing the official water of the Tour de France. It also made history for hosting the Grand Départ of the 55th edition in 1968 under the tagline “Le Tour de la santé” (the Tour of the health) one year after the tragic death of Tom Simpson on the Mont Ventoux. This time around, it looks like a stage dedicated to sprinters but the last visit to Vittel saw the solo victory of Nicki Sorensen in 2009. But it was stage 12 and the sprinters were already tired. Now on stage 4 they are still fresh. Marcel Kittel who wears the green jersey is hungry for more, so is French champion Arnaud Démare who was the runner up in Liège and finished sixth atop the climb of the Religieuses in Longwy yesterday. The enfant du pays is a sprinter as well! Nacer Bouhanni hails from Epinal in the Vosges province that Vittel is also part of. He's yet to win his first ever stage at the Tour de France.

Live: A solo breakaway today:

The quiet, so far, stage means plenty of time for scenery:

Oh field art, I do love you:

Seventy kilometers to go and the gap was under five minutes.
Local cows, painted for the race:

At the sprintermediate: Demare takes maximum points from the field.  He was followed by Sagan and Greipel. 
Forty kilometers to go and just about a two minute gap. The catch is coming, it is just a matter of when.

Twenty kilometers to go and the catch was imminent. Finally, at seventeen kilometers, it was over and he was caught. That was a very long solo ride.
Towards the finish, Dimension Data trying to set things up for Cavendish, with many more trains in evidence. 
Crash in the field and then a second crash marring the sprint. My thoughts on that very, very censored.
Demare takes the win,  with Cav left on the ground. Cue Polemica.

Important update: Sagan out!

Wine: Clos de Rochers Auxerrois
A confession, this is a repeat wine from 2014.
From the producer: Situated on the slopes running down to the Moselle river which acts as a natural border between Luxembourg and Germany, the vineyards lie in a gentle micro-climate influenced by the river and an ideal south-westerly orientation.  They stretch over 42 km (26 miles) from Wasserbillig to the eponymous Schengen of European fame.
The 1235 hectares (3052 acres) of vines are divided into two areas: the canton of Remich with deep, rich soils and that of Grevenmacher, on slowly eroding clay soils.  The former produces generous and fleshy wines; the latter is distinguished by the mineral character of the wines and their finesse.

I say: Weird grape alert. Wikipedia tells me that Auxerrois blanc is thought to have originated in Lorraine, rather than near Auxerre in the Yonne. Recent DNA fingerprinting suggests that it is a cross between Gouais blanc and Pinot noir.

Food: Quiche Lorraine
How about this recipe from Julia Child?  
Because I like more options, this mushroom quiche from Dorie Greenspan could easily be adapted.   

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