Sunday, May 27, 2018

Wine and Food of the Giro 2018: Stage 21: Rome!

Where are we? Rome
 Giro regional specialties: Pasta dishes (gricia, amatriciana, carbonara, cacio e pepe), Abbacchio (roast lamb), Coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stew), carciofi alla giudia e alla romana (respectively, deep-fried and braised artichokes), Saltimbocca (veal escalopes), Supplì (stuffed and deep-fried rice balls).

The stage: On what should be a ceremonial stage, except for the sprinters, much talk on Eurosport about complaints about the road surface. So, indeed, after much discussion, the race has been neutralized for the gc riders, although the breakaway artists and the sprinters will race for the stage.

There were attempts to make a breakaway stick, but given the power of the sprint teams, they all had a feeling of desperation. Perhaps the anticipated challenge of Viviani versus Bennett one more time?
Hey, Tony Martin in a breakaway with Mullen, Senechal, and Danny VanPoppel. They had nine seconds with eight kilometers to go. Bridging to them Cattaneo.
Sean Kelly still says sprint so that is what I'd expect. Indeed 3.5 kilometers to go and there was the catch. 
One kilometer to go and there was Quick Step in perfect position. 
Bennett! Lovely sprint coming past Viviani just at the last second. Apparently he read the "Go Full Gas Sign" they passed under.
Goodbye Giro, we'll miss you.

Results 21st stage 2018 Giro d’Italia

1. Sam Bennett (irl)
2. Elia Viviani (ita) s.t.
3. Jean-Pierre Drucker (lux) s.t.
4. Baptiste Planckaert (bel) s.t.
5. Manuel Belletti (ita) s.t.
6. Sacha Modolo (ita) s.t.
7. Niccolo Bonifazio (ita) s.t.
8. Clement Venturini (fra) s.t.
9. Paolo Simion (ita) s.t.
10. Fabio Sabatini (ita) s.t.

Final GC 2018 Giro d’Italia

1. Chris Froome (gbr)
2. Tom Dumoulin (nld) + 0.46
3. Miguel Ángel López (col) + 4.57
4. Richard Carapaz (ecu) + 5.44
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (ita) + 8.03
6. Pello Bilbao (spa) + 11.50
7. Patrick Konrad (aut) + 13.01
8. George Bennett (NZL) + 13.17
9. Sam Oomen (nld) + 14.18
10. Davide Formolo (ita) + 15.16
11. Alexandre Geniez (fra) + 17.30
12. Wout Poels (nld) + 17.40
13. Sergio Henao (col) + 29.41

The wine:Monastero Suore Cistercensi  Benedic
From the importer: Fate can have lovely consequences. Our fortuitous encounter with the Bea family of Umbria of course led to the unearthing of one of the great domaines of Italy. But, we have been additionally blessed as we marched together with Giampiero Bea as he made the acquaintance of the Sisters of the Cistercian order living and working at their monastery in Vitorchiano, ninety minutes or so north of Rome in the Lazio district. Here at this quiet religious outpost eighty women of this religious order work vineyards and orchards and gardens organically. Under the guidance of Bea, they produce two wines as honest and sympathetic and gracious as they are.
The vineyards are planted to a series of four essentially local white grape varieties: Malvasia, Verdicchio, Grechetto and Trebbiano.
The sisters produce a scant amount of red wine: a charming blend of equal parts Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo called “Benedic.” Despite a two-week maceration, “Benedic” is typically a beautifully pale, translucent wine. Registering just 11% alcohol, its color is calm, soft, and almost coppery—one can sense its gentle nature just from looking at it. A pure, honest nose of red licorice, dried leaves, and fresh pipe tobacco introduces an ethereal caress of a palate with almost no detectable tannins. “Benedic” is a pretty, tasty, plain-speaking wine with no makeup and no pretension, and its softly floral edge puts one in the mind of springtime. Those expecting power may be disappointed, but a wine this guileless is nearly impossible to dislike.

The food: Carbonara!
Possibly my favorite comfort meals in San Francisco involves sitting at the bar at Locanda with a Manhattan, a dish of fried olives and their carbonara. 
San Francisco magazine offers an almost recipe:
Locanda chef Anthony Strong takes a few road trips a week to visit the specialty purveyors who fill out his menu. You could call them mini vacations, but Strong deeply values the connections he forges with the people like Dawn Dolcini, the owner of Tully Dolci farm in Petaluma. Strong turns out about 35 carbonara pasta dishes for each dinner service. To make its addictive, creamy sauce, Tully Dolci eggs are key.
“We obsess over our eggs,” Strong says. “Ingredients are so important, especially with carbonara. It’s the sum of its parts. You can’t screw with it.” Every Locanda carbonara has two Tully Dolci egg yolks (about $1.10 worth) whisked into the sauce. “It needs to be dark and full of protein, but also silky and sweet. Other egg yolks aren’t as dense and don’t deliver the same richness.” 
Every Thursday at the San Rafael farmers' market, Dawn Dolcini hands off 30 dozen of her eggs—the bulk of her farm’s supply for the day—to Strong. He’s been using her eggs since 2009, when Dolcini first started. Back then, Locanda wasn’t yet open, but Strong cracked these vibrant beauties onto pizzas and into soups at sister restaurants Delfina and Delfina Pizzeria.
“We call these our fancy eggs,” Strong said. As such, the eggs make limited appearances only where they matter most: in Locanda’s carbonara, and egg-centered stracciatella soup. For every other egg application, Strong uses free-range organic eggs from Dolcini’s neighbor, Wyland Orchards.
Last week, Strong drove 45 miles out of the San Francisco mist to the dry hills of Petaluma to visit Dolcini for the very first time on her 60-acre farm. Strong pulled off the long dirt road onto the farm slowly, hunched over the steering wheel, mouth agog. It was his first time, and he was already in love. Dolcini hugged Strong and he handed her his house-cured guanciale (that's pig jowl), some pecorino romano, and his recipe for his carbonara—for which she exchanged a fresh pig liver.
We chatted with a sheep farmer driving through to his land higher up on the hill, and then began our quest for eggs. It was desert-mirage hot and the hens scattered into the shade as we approached. Strong slowly crept behind them, phone camera ready, like a boastful parent on a playground. He asked Dolcini more questions than I did: How many birds are there? —About 350. Do they all lay eggs with the dark, thick yolk? —Most do because of their high protein and high soy diet, but the Rhode Island Reds are most reliable.
Dolcini let Strong and me amuse ourselves on an Easter-like egg hunt, but she knew we were too early in the day. She usually doesn’t collect eggs until late afternoon when all the hens have laid. We passed hours aimlessly meandering through the farm, birds darting about our ankles, before heading back to the city where crates of Tully Dolci eggs awaited us.
In the kitchen at Locanda on a Saturday night, Strong prepares for the night by cutting a 12-pound block of pecorino Romano cheese into chunks the length of his forearm before grating. He carves the house-cured guanciale into imperfect squares the size of his thumb “to give it more character.” He separates the eggs' yolks with his hands, mixes in the cheese, and purees boiled-down guanciale skin.
Carbonara usually relies on a long noodle, but Strong and his team tested different shapes until they found a better vehicle for the sauce. Strong landed on rigatoni—per Osteria di San Cesario where he staged in Rome—because the hole in the pasta tube is a tasty hiding spot for the sauce.
Over on the line, the constant rattle of pots and pans, and the sound of pork popping around in its own fat (with a bay leaf and onion petal) signifies that fewer than ten minutes until dinner service begins. “Low and slow,” Strong repeats. "Low and slow." He drains the guanciale, adds the cooked pasta and the egg sauce, all the while loosening the sauce with pasta water from a bubbling row of pots at his hip.
Staring at the final dish, I notice the velvety cohesion delivered by the egg sauce, and the richness of the yolk is evident, gushing out of the rigatoni tube. Still, the scene-stealers are the ten or so bits of guanciale, composed of a top layer like pork rind and a squishy middle. I stab around the bowl to see what texture I’ll catch next.

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