Saturday, May 12, 2018

Wine and Food of the Giro 2018 Stage 8: Praia a Mare to Montevergine di Mercogliano

Where are we?
Montevergine di Mercogliano: Let's visit a sanctuary (thanks Google translate):  Sanctuary of Montevergine, its official origin of the Sanctuary of Montevergine dates back to the consecration of the first church in the distant 1126. However, the ascent of Guglielmo to the mountain was a few years earlier. On those impassable peaks the Saint had gone looking for a solitary place to gather in prayer, but immediately his fame and his virtues attracted men and women, disciples and priests on the mountain, eager to serve God under his magisterium. The birth of the Sanctuary was therefore rather spontaneous, Guglielmo had never thought of his own monastic organization. Yet in a short time the people who came up on the mountain to follow him, started an intense building activity, so that the first cells for the religious and a small church were soon ready. In truth, they were humble huts kept standing with some mortar and mud, enough to give the idea of a religious community under the guidance of the Saint. The same religious inspiration that spontaneously gathered around the figure of William a first monastic community, was at the base of the choice to dedicate the primitive church to the Madonna. Beyond some popular beliefs that wanted to link the origin of the Shrine to an apparition of the Madonna, one can therefore say that it was precisely the Marian ascetic spirit of St. William and his disciples that made it to the tops of the mountain Parthenio rose a beacon of devotion to the Holy Virgin Mother of God. Since then the main purpose of the new monastic family was to serve God through devotion to Our Lady, which William's disciples soon took to spread throughout the Campania region and adjacent regions, organizing numerous pilgrimages to their mother house. Marian devotion was conceived by the white sons of William as the most effective way to insert themselves in the mystery of the Trinity of God and the redemption made by Jesus. The fundamental reason for the arduous journey and the steep climb to the church of Santa Maria di Montevergine, prolonged prayers and offerings of believers, became the invocation of the powerful intercession of Our Lady to obtain the mercy of God. So it was that Montevergine soon became the most famous and visited Marian Shrine in Southern Italy, and the pilgrimages assumed their specific characteristic .

Giro regional specialties: Fresh pasta (cavatelli, orecchiette, fusilli); second courses with char-grilled meat; nougat.

The stage: Up they go again. Our break of the day:

One hundred kilometers to go and the break had a six minute gap. Given the difficulty of tomorrow's stage, it will be interesting to see how hard the gc teams chase. Indeed, ean Kelly thought it may be a day for the break. The theme of today seemed to be Eurosport announcers talking about food. Another quiet stage, but really beautiful.
Kind of summed up the day up so far:

Under fifty kilometers to go and it was under five minutes. Still, very quiet.

Under forty kilometers to go and there was rain and wet roads at the finish. 

Small crash in the peloton, with Wellens getting caught up. He would have a chase back on. Thirty kilometers and still four minutes. It was looking very good for that break. Yet as soon as I typed that, the gap started to come down quickly with Sky on the front of the group.Twenty kilometers to go and the Tony Martin led peloton had cut the gap to 2:40. Sixteen kilometers and two minutes, though Tony Martin had left the front. Ahead, the unity of the breakaway was over. Fourteen kilometers and 1:30. Ahead, a shrinking break group continued to attack each other. Ten kilometers to go and just about one minute. 

Five kilometers and 30 seconds for the break. Ahead, Bouwman with the attack out the front. Some very questionable bike handling from Chris Froome in the heavy rain.
Big attack from Carapaz, currently sitting in the white jersey. Wow! That was impressive.


Wine: 2014 Il Tufiello Sancho Panza

From the producer and google translate:
Two generations have chosen to specialize and
work with great commitment with a single vine .
a challenge at the beginning difficult and not obvious,
without compromises,
with the sole objective of interpreting the character in the best way:
of an extreme territory
of an incredible vine 

long maceration on the skins
vinification in steel
use of indigenous yeasts
very limited use of sulfur dioxide
exclusion of other additives
unfiltered (for the duration in time without chemistry)
long aging wine

Currently we have planted two and a half hectares

Very golden in color, funkier, in a good way, than I was expecting, probably due to a prolonged maceration with the skins.

The Food: Thanks to Food & Wine for this suggestion
This dish incorporates two regional specialties: zucchini and olive oil. According to the book, “Irpinia, in the region of Avellino, is known for its olive and olive oil production, due to its ideal terroir: rich, fertile volcanic soil and a cooler climate as a result of proximity to the Apennines mountain range.” Here, oil is blended with zucchini for an herbal pesto sauce. Adapted from Naples and the Amalfi Coast (Phaidon, $39.95 US/$49.95 CAN, April 2017)   

How to Make It

Step 1     Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a small frying pan. Add the sliced almonds and cook, stirring from time to time, until browned. Set aside.

Step 2   Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the zucchini and cook until crisp-tender. Scoop out the zucchini and set aside to cool. Reserve the pot of cooking water.

Step 3    
In a blender or food processor, process the zucchini with the mint, parsley, chopped almonds, garlic, and Parmesan. With the machine running, drizzle in 10 tablespoons (150 ml) oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4    
Bring the pot of reserved zucchini cooking water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain, transfer to a serving dish, and toss with the zucchini pesto. Drizzle with oil, season with pepper, and garnish with the toasted sliced almonds. Serve.

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