Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Wine and Food of the Tour de France 2018 Stage 4: La Baule to Sarzeau

Where are we?
La Baule: The Chef-lieu de canton of Loire-Atlantique. Michelin tells me that:
In the early 1920s, the need to expand gave rise to the development of the La Baule-les Pins district to the east of the seafront. Organised around a central square (Place des Palmiers) from which eight avenues radiated out, including Avenue Lajarrige (named after the main town planner here) which leads to the seafront, the district is home to a number of attractive Art Deco-style villas.
Brittany tourism tells me that: One of the most beautiful bays in the world, La Baule owes its reputation to its beach, which is one of the longest in Europe. It runs for 9 km, from Pornichet to Pouliguen, and has a chic image thanks to its prestige hotels, historic villas and classy activities.
Once upon a time La Baule had an unimpressive beach, consisting mainly of damp sand dunes. Fortunately, in 1849, a ship owner from Nantes decided to plant some pine trees to stabilise the ground. Taking advantage of the newly planted pine forests, villas began to spring up, and the seaside resort of La Baule was born.
LeTour specialties: the salt crusted sea bass of Guérande, a great French specialty, a sea bass coated with Guérande salt, just to remind him of his crazy youth in the Atlantic, it is not uncommon to see the recipe on the menu at Eden Beach (Barrière Group). Chocolatier Christophe Roussel and his sweet specialties including macaroon. The Fondant baulois: a unique and irresistible chocolate mixed with salted caramel. 

Sarzeau: Chef-lieu de canton of Morbihan. Michelin has a suggestion for us:
The favourite residence of the Dukes of Brittany, this imposing château stands close to the sea. Built in the 13C and remodelled in the 14C and 15C, it was confiscated by François I. Since the site was used as a stone quarry during the Revolution, only six of its towers remain, but it has been patiently restored. In the first rooms you come to, take note of the exceptional glazed ceramic floors, which are a fine example of medieval decorative art. The ceremony hall leads out to the terraces, which afford beautiful panoramic views over the peninsula and the ocean that lies close by.
LeTour specialties: oysters, Saint-Armel's gochtial (typical brioche). Products in Rhuys (labelled): Rhuys tome (cheese with milk of black magpies), oysters, 
 buckwheat flour biscuits 


The stage: Designed as another sprint stage.

Rather beautiful route today:

With 150 kilometers to go, the gap had increased to almost 8 minutes.
125 to go and it had decreased to 6:45.
Nice field art:


Sprintermediate and Gaviria looks serious. Close behind him, Sagan.
With 95 kilometers to go, the gap was down to 3:20.
On a long sprint stage, with not a lot of action expected until the finish, there is a lot of time to fill on the tv broadcast. So, a musical interlude:


81 kilometers to go and the gap was just over two minutes. 
Fifty kilometers to go and the gap was 1:25. It was beginning to feel like the stage would never end.
At least we had some good field art:

Thirty four kilometers to go and the gap was around three minutes, creating a slight bit of suspense as to whether the break could stay away. My guess? No.

Fifteen kilometers and 1:35. I'm still thinking they will be caught. Thirteen kilometers and 1:30. Nice to have some excitement on the stage. Ten kilometers, 1:10. Seven kilometers, 56 seconds and other teams finally came to help Quickstep.


Crash! Right in the middle of the peloton. Given that it was outside the 3 kilometer point, if there are gaps, they will count.
Right as they neared the one kilometer point, there was the nuch, swallowing up the break.
Indeed, a true sprint with a photo finish.


1 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors 04:25:01
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
4 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
5 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
6 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
8 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
9 Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert



Rank Rider











 The wine: Domaine De L'Ecu Classic
From Dig
Why, yes, back to this producer already. Because it was time for a muscadet.
Since we already read about the Domaine, let's see what the producer has to say about the wine, with some help from Google translate:
This wine is intended "Classic" only to stand out from a fashion tending to promote wines whose aromas have their origin neither in the grape nor in the soil ... This Muscadet is elaborated and vinified to be appreciated in its youth, "On the fruit".
Straw yellow, crystalline. Nose mixing smoky notes on a background of citrus and white flowers, fine notes of encaustic. The mouth is lurking, presents a beautiful volume but also a tension and a freshness that would not displease the amateurs of Muscadet. This wine will perfectly accompany a seafood platter, a fatty fish (mackerel / sardine / salmon type) and will of course be the perfect companion for your aperitif. Of course, it is THE wine of the estate to taste your dozen oysters.

Food: Whole Fish Baked in Salt Crust From Île de Ré 
Much more here
Adapted from Daniel Massé, Le Chat Botté, St-Clément-des-Baleines, France

Time: 45 minutes
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together coarse salt, fine salt, flour, thyme and fennel. Add egg whites and mix for 2 to 3 minutes to make a flexible and firm dough; if dough is too dry, add more egg whites one at a time as needed.

2. Roll dough out on parchment paper to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Put vegetables in the cavity of the fish, and place fish in the center of the dough. Wrap fish entirely with dough, using the edges of the parchment to help lift the dough over the fish. Transfer parchment with encased fish to a shallow baking pan, and tear off excess parchment from around the fish.
3. Bake for 25 minutes. Cut open and remove salt crust from fish. Remove the skin of the fish. Discard crust and skin, fillet the fish and, if desired, serve with a beurre blanc sauce.
Yield: 2 servings.

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