Friday, May 31, 2019

Wine and Food of the Giro 2019 Stage 19

Where are we? Treviso is an attractive town in the Veneto region of north-east Italy. The town’s civic heart is Piazza dei Signori, a pleasant square with a street running along one side and cafés with outdoor tables along the other. The dominant building here is the historic town hall, the Palazzo dei Trecento. 

San Martino di Castrozza is a renowned tourist destination located on a large plateau at 1450 meters, immersed in the elegant nature of the Paneveggio – Pale di San Martino Natural Park. The village is at the bottom of the Pale di San Martino, the widest mountain chain of the Dolomites (UNESCO heritage site), and it’s known for a long tradition of tourist hospitality started in the second half of the XIXth century with the first foreign mountaineers who came to these areas with the dream of conquering their unexplored peaks. This territory is a popular destination for all mountain lovers, an open-air gym to have an active holiday in contact with nature, living experiences in the mountains and enjoying the breathtaking scenery of its peaks.
GASTRONOMY: Primiero’s typical dish is based on polenta, luganega, mushrooms and tosèla (a fresh curd cut in slices and cooked in butter over a low heat). Another traditional dish is canederli, which can be eaten either with broth or sprinkled with melted butter. Between meat and cured meat, the carne fumada DOP of Siror is particularly prized. From the great cheese production of the territory, that prides itself on being part of the Strada dei Formaggi delle Dolomiti, stands out the local cheese Primiero fresco and the botiro di malga (butter produced in mountain pastures). Finally, with regard to dessert, the strudel, the smorum and the brazedel of Siror are particularly noteworthy. 

The stage: Nice profile, but will the riders be saving their legs for tomorrow? Time to find out. The breakaway of the day was given some rope. With 100 kilometers to go, they had 7:12. None of the riders in that group are gc threats so the bunch behind seemed content to let them go.


The best word for the stage today is quiet.

Boara would get a small gap from his breakmates, but would be caught with under twenty kilometers to go. At that point, the gap to the main bunch behind was almost ten minutes.


Time for some attacks from within the breakaway group, with multiple counters.
To the delight of many, it was Chaves who eventually broke away for the stage win.

The wine: Bisson “Bianco delle Venezie” Vino Frizzante Trevigiana
From the importerDynamic and tireless Pierluigi Lugano is not only our source of great Ligurian wine from indigenous varieties—he is responsible for one of the highlights of our sparkling wine portfolio: the ever-popular frizzante known as “Glera” for the past several years, which takes on a new description as “Bianco delle Venezie” with the 2016 vintage. For many years now, Lugano has worked with his good friend Eli Spagnol of Torre Zecchei in the elite Valdobbiadene district of the Veneto, tailoring the production of a racy, vivid, beautifully brisk Prosecco to Rosenthal Wine Merchant’s exacting specifications. In a sea of vapid, overly sweet Prosecco, this frizzante stands out proudly. Spagnol is in charge of a mere 30 hectares—tiny by Prosecco standards—and our wine is hand-harvested from shockingly steep hillside vineyards in the DOCG zone of Valdobiaddene. Made using careful temperature regulation in order to preserve delicacy and freshness, the wine is bottled with just two grams per liter of residual sugar—a refreshingly bone-dry offering that stands in sharp contrast to its many cloying peers. Clean, bright, and refreshing, it presents notes of acacia honey, white flowers, crunchy green apples, and tart nectarines atop a subtly mineral underlay. Glera Explained 

The food: Canederli Trentini Recipe from Eataly  
Canederli are large gnocchi made with stale bread, flour, milk, eggs, cheese, and sometimes herbs and salumi. Typically found in the northern region of Trentino, these bread dumplings can be served in broth or with breadcrumbs and brown butter.
Canederli ai Formaggi Trentini, Porro, e Fondutina di Fontal
(Canederli with Trentino Cheese, Leeks, and Fontal Fondue)

Recipe courtesy of Trentino 
Yield: 4 servings
For the canederli: 
8 1/2 cups of stale bread, diced
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons of whole milk, gently warmed
extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 1/3 cups of mixed cheeses, diced
1/2 cup of grated Trentingrana cheese
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon of flour
broth (optional)
butter and sage

For the Fontal fondue:
5 tablespoons of butter, softened
4 tablespoons of white flour
3 cups of whole milk
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 cups of Fontal cheese, cut into cubes
To make the canederli: Soak the diced bread in warm milk. In a saucepan, heat a glug of olive oil and brown the thinly sliced leek. Remove from pan and let cool. Once the leek is cool, mix it with the soaked bread, mixed cheeses, eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. Let mixture rest for about an hour. With damp hands, roll pieces of dough into balls, 3 to 4 inches in diameter (as you would make meatballs). Bring water or broth to boil and cook the dumplings for a few minutes, until they float to the top. Gently remove with a slotted spoon and serve the dumplings on Fontal fondue sprinkled with Trentingrana cheese and a tablespoon of melted butter and sage. 
To make the Fontal fondue: Prepare a béchamel sauce. At the end of cooking, add the fontal cheese, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy. Keep warm low heat or in a bain-marie, being careful not to burn.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Wine and Food of the Giro 2019 Stage 17

Where are we? 
OMMEZZADURA (Val di Sole) Commezzadura is a town in Trentino (Italy) with 1.020 inhabitants, formed by the separate hamlets of Mestriago (where the city hall is based), Mastellina, Deggiano, Daolasa, Almazzago and Piano. Back in time, the main economical sources of those villages were based on animal farming and forestry: today, Commezzadura has its main focus on tourism, both in Summer and Winter time, mainly targeting active vacation and outdoor sports lovers.
GASTRONOMY: With its mostly agricultural tradition, the Val di Sole cuisine is based on simple and nutritious courses, featuring genuine local ingredients such as potatoes, apples, small fruits and cheese. Indeed, the most typical products of the valley are milk products: butter, cheese like “grana trentino”, or the delightful soft “casoleti”, made from raw milk and served in fresh and half-mature varieties paired with cold cuts, speck and rye bread. Another characteristic product is the ricotta – “poina” in the local dialect”. It can be enjoyed fresh, or used as filling for the “capelazi” (big ravioli), for dumplings or biscuits.

ANTERSELVA/ANTHOLZ: Rasen-Anterselva (Rasen-Antholz in German) is an Italian municipality of 2.903 inhabitants of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano in Trentino-Alto Adige, whose altitude varies from 926 m to 3.436 m. The valley is known for years as one of the stops of the biathlon World Cup. The name Rasen means “swamp” and is attested as Resine or Rasine in 1050-1065, Niderräsen in 1353. The German word Antholz means “opposite” (ant) “to the wood” (Holz).
GASTRONOMY: The Valley of Anterselva is famous for its typical South Tyrolean dishes. Tasty and traditional dishes, served in original, typically regional places. You can also taste the traditional and crunchy Schüttelbrot bread, good cheese and smoked bacon, accompanied by a good glass of wine.

The stage: Perhaps a breakaway after all of yesterday's efforts? Indeed and a large one. Eventually, Bakelants would take off from the group.

Even more action up at the front:

 Adventuring out of that group: Conti and Conci. There would be regrouping before Nans Peters launched, getting himself a bit of a gap.

Behind the gc groups seemed to be saving their energy for the mountains to come later in the week.
Five kilometers to go and Peters had about one minute.
As he closed in, attacks from behind. There went Landa and Carthy.
Ahead: Peters takes the stage! 
Behind, Landa was gaining time.


The wine: Baron Widmann Vernatsch
A longtime favorite. 
From the importer"If we had to choose the five best grape-growers in Italy, the name of Andreas Widmann would be amongst the first to come to mind." ~Gambero Rosso
Andreas Widmann is a producer of very small quantities of excellent wine (in my opinion some of the best made in the Alto Adige). His beautiful old house and cellar are in the old part of the village of Cortaccia; the cellar is under the house, and the scale of it is more like home winemaking than commercial production. His family has made wine here since 1824. The imacculately tended vineyards are just south of the village on steep slopes at altitudes between 250 and 600 meters (almost 2000 feet) above sea level. Andreas follows every aspect of the grapegrowing and winemaking himself, a Baron with dirt under his fingernails. The wines are impeccably made and full of character, an ideal combination. The only problem here, as with many of the best small growers from the south Tirol, is that there is very little wine available, as the local market is so strong. Nonetheless I am delighted to be able to offer these gems.
Vernatsch is the local name for the Trollinger (or Schiava) variety, which produces pale red, delicious and very drinkable table wines (sort of like a cross between Beaujolais and Bourgeuil and as mouthwatering and savory as that description suggests). Andreas's version is top-notch, with hints of spices and herbs. It is an excellent complement to most pork dishes and great with salumi (or the local Speck ham, which I am starting to see over here). This is a wine to be drunk and not discussed.

The foodSchüttelbrot bread

    • 250 g rye flour
    • 250 ml lukewarm water (30° C)
    • 20 g fresh yeast
    • 500 g rye flour
    • 250 g wheat flour
    • 20 g fresh yeast dissolved in 850 ml lukewarm water (30 °C)
    • 20 g salt, 5 g fennel
    • 5 g cumin seeds
    • 5 g fenugreek


Sourdough starter:
Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water, add to the flour, mix well to produce a soft dough, cover and leave to leaven in a warm place (30 °C) for 1 hour.

Mix the sourdough with the remaining ingredients to produce a uniform dough, cover and leave to rest for 10-15 min. Divide the dough into 10 pieces of similar size (150 g), form into rolls and place onto cloths dusted with flour. Leave to rise for 10 min. The bread is called Schüttelbrot because it is shaken flat. Place each roll onto a board the size of a pizza and shake, turning the board and causing the rolls to broaden until they are finally flat. Bake at 210-220 °C for approx. 30 min.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Wine and Food of the Giro 2019 Stage 16

Where are we? LOVERE
Located on the splendid western shore of Lake Iseo, since 2003 Lovere has been included in the prestigious club of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” thanks to its considerable well-preserved artistic and cultural heritage. It was once described by the English writer Lady Wortley Montagu as “the most beautifully romantic place I have ever seen in my life”. The small town is rich in history and has a certain fascination that over the years has made it one of the most renowned and highly thought of lake resorts in Lombardy. Lovere’s most popular tourist attractions are the 15th century St. Mary’s Basilica in Valvendra, the Gallery of the Tadini Academy rich in work of arts such as the “Stele Tadini” and the “Religione” by Antonio Canova, the imposing Civic Tower with its interior impressive ascent, the Saints Gerosa and Capitanio’s Sanctuary and the marina, among the largest and most modern port structures on a European lake.

GASTRONOMY: Lovere and its surroundings offer typical products for all tastes: from local cheeses to olive oil produced from sun-kissed local hills, from “casunsei” (Bergamo ravioli served with melted butter and sage) to the excellent lake fish (trout, whitefish, bleak, pike and tench) and polenta, served hot or grilled, but always strictly yellow. Here, polenta has a historical record: a captain of fortune returned from the Americas, Pietro Gajoncelli, was the first man who cultivated corn at the beginning of 17th century. He sowed in his field some grains of corn that multiplied so much that it became a widespread cultivation in the territory, that’s why the people of Lovere, since then, are called “pulentì”. The dessert, prepared with cornflour, is the Cake of Lovere.

Ponte di Legno is a small jewel set among imposing mountains of great charm in all seasons. The name of the village – located in Lombardy, in the upper Valle Camonica (province of Brescia), on the border with Trentino Alto Adige – recalls Winter to many people, perhaps because it was first mentioned in 1912 by the Italian Touring Club which described it as “The first Italian resort for tourism and Winter sports “. In Summer, Ponte di Legno offers a great deal to road bikers, thanks to the historic exploits of cyclists who have consecrated the names of Passo Gavia and Passo Mortirolo to history. It all started in 1960 with Imerio Massignan who was the protagonist of the first ascent to Passo Gavia, he was the first to ride across the Passo but he lost the stage due to three punctures. This is how the legend of this beloved Passo was born. 

The stage: Stage 16, we've been waiting for you. Even with the change in the route due to avalanche risk, it will still be a massive effort. This is a stage to watch not only because there may be fireworks, but also because it is just really beautiful.

Plus, really, really pretty:

The early break:

Their gap would not grow, as the peloton was very attentive behind, waiting for attacks from within the gc group.
At the Aprica KOM point, more points for Ciccone and as long as he finishes the race, he is very likely our King of Mountain winner.
Fifty kilometers to go and the gap was still around five minutes.
Motirolo! We've been waiting for you. Very quickly riders dropped from the break.
As the gc men reach the climb, Nibali very close to the front. Hmm. . .
Ahead, attacks within a very small breakaway group. Nothing against them, but a focus on the gc group would be really nice right now tv cameras.
35 kilometers to go and the gap was still over five minutes.
As we have seen again and again, Roglic isolated, while the other gc men have teammates. Looking good at the front of that group: Nibali. Struggling at the back: Yates.
And there went Nibali! He would get a small gap. Joining him: Carthy. They had maybe 15 seconds.
Roglic visibly struggling in the group behind. Ahead Nibali reaches his brother, who will pace him as long as possible.
The next group behind them: Pedrero, Lopez, Landa and Carapaz. Roglic alone behind for a bit but caught by a small group with Yates. That may help him.
Rain. Wet roads and a descent ahead. I'm already nervous.
Together: Nibali, Lopez, Landa, Carthy and Carapaz. With thirty kilometers to go, they had about a minute on Roglic behind.
Cue idiot runners:

At the front Ciccone and Hirt. Ciccone was given a rain jacket that he failed to put on. Instead, he ended up with the traditional newspaper to put down his jersey. 
This descent will be scary.
Eighteen kilometers to go and Hirt and Ciccone still had four minutes. 
The next group we know of behind them was Lopez and Bilbao with 15 or so seconds over the pink jersey group. Somewhere there are riders left from the break, though we had no idea where.

Six kilometers to go and still three minutes to the group ahead. Unclear what the gap to Roglic behind was. 5.8 kilometers to go and finally a time check: Roglic a minute behind.
Ahead, poor Ciccone's teeth were chattering with the cold. But teeth a chatter, he would hold on and take the stage as we eagerly awaited the gaps from the gc group.   A good day for Nibali. 

The wine: Foradori I.G.T Teroldego Vigneti delle Dolomiti "Sgarzon"

From Eric Asimov in the New York Times:
That we still have teroldego to enjoy at all is due to the labors of a few dedicated growers and winemakers, especially Elisabetta Foradori herself. She was barely more than a teenager in 1985 when she took over her family’s estate. Her father had died young, and the wine culture of the prime teroldego zone, Campo Rotaliano, a wide plain in Trentino, had become largely industrial. The dominant clone of teroldego in the area, as Ms. Foradori tells it, had been selected to emphasize quantity over quality, resulting in anemic, uninteresting wines.
She took on the job of studying the history of the grape. Over the last 25 years she has worked relentlessly to restore its genetic diversity so that the wines would be deeper, purer and more complex.
“A whole variety had to be rebuilt, viticultural practices had to be brought back to quality levels, the soil had to be enriched with life, the plants brought to an equilibrium,” she recounted in an e-mail. “I myself have changed with the variety, and I find myself to be a different person, watching and listening to the land and to nature in a different way.”

The Food:  Sausage Lake
From a local website, I chose this recipe mainly because I liked the name. 

• 12 small sausages
• 1 shallot
• 1 glass of dry white wine
• some sage and parsley leaves
• 500 gr corn meal

In a pot, bring 1.5 litres of water to the boil with a tablespoon of coarse salt. Slowly pour in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring frequently. Meanwhile prick the sausages with the tips of a fork and fry in a nonstick pan until they have lost some of their fat; place them on a plate and remove the fat from the pan. Pour a little oil in the same container, add the chopped shallot and the sage leaves, and season with salt and pepper, adding a tablespoon of water if necessary. Bring the sausages together, pour the white wine over them, raise the heat and cook until a reduced sauce is formed. Serve the sausages with the steaming polenta, drizzle the sauce from the sausages and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Photo and text by:
Comunità Montana dei Laghi Bergamaschi
From "Strada Verde dei Monti e dei Laghi Bergamaschi - Dalla Terra al Palato - From the Earth to the Taste"

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Wine and Food of the Giro 2019: Stage 15

Where are we?

​I​vrea is situated within a glacial Morainic Amphitheatre with unique geomorphological characteristics. Located along the Via Francigena and Via Romea, today destinations for slow tourism, it is crossed by the river Dora Baltea, very popular among canoe love
A trip to Ivrea is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a fascinating naturalistic and cultural context. Easily recognisable by the Savoy castle with its “red towers”, Ivrea is famous for the Historic Carnival with the spectacular “Battle of the Oranges” and has recently been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as “Ivrea, Industrial City of the 20th Century” thanks to the history of Olivetti which you can discover by visiting the open-air Museum.

Traditional dishes of the territory are the sweet & sour onions of Ivrea and the stuffed onion, the “tomini” (cheese you can find fresh, dried or in oil), the “miassa” made of corn flour that goes with “salignun” (fresh cheese mixed with chilli and various flavours) the “salam ‘d patata” and the “salam d’la doja” (two traditional types of salami) the “faseuj grass” (beans cooked with sausages), polenta and cod and the “bagna caoda”, a tasty sauce made with anchovies.
Desserts: the Polenta of Ivrea, the Torta 900 and, among the biscuits, the Eporediesi and the Canestrelli.

The city of Como is the historical, cultural, geographical capital of a large region. To the north the city, which has a population of around 85,000, overlooks the lake, which bears its name, whilst to the east and west it is protected by the peaks of Spina Verde and the mountains of Brunate. Its origins date back to the 1st century BC when the Romans founded Novum Comum. Como is a true city of art, rich in monuments that tell its glorious past, and today it is a vivid commercial centre with inviting boutiques lining the old town streets. It is worldwide known for the silk production and it is a jet set favourite destination.

Food tradition in Como offers local products, both from the lake and the mountains: polenta served with meat, fish or cheese, lake Como’s traditional fish, misultitt (dried fish), bleak, lavarello, perch served with risotto, salmon trout, pike and chub. As for cheese, lake Como offers semuda, zincarlin and triangolo del Lario. Como produces good butter and milk, cod cuts, honey (acacia, chestnut, lime tree). Also, you can find olive oil Dop Laghi Lombardi-Lario and wines of Consortium Igt Terre Lariane. Among sweets, typical are miascia, braschin, nocciolini di Canzo, pan mataloch, masigott, resta, pan meìno, cutizza, and tortelli di San Giuseppe.

The stage: After yesterday, we have a small breakaway that gets a lot of room.

Under 65 kilometers to go and the peloton has gotten split. 54 kilometers to go and the gap was still over seven minutes. For the main bunch it had been a fairly uneventful but beautiful to watch ride. Fifty kilometers to go and still over six minutes.

Forty five kilometers to go and the attacks in the favorites group started with Yates. After some regrouping, Yates went again. He would dangle ahead.
Next Lopez and he would be chased down by Caruso. 

Crash in the peloton, with all of the main favorites making it through. Bike change for Roglic. He would make it back after chasing solo for what felt like a very long time, riding on a teammate's bike.
Up front with 15 kilometers to go and the gap was around 4 minutes. Attack from Carthy. No reaction from the bunch. Finally, Yates again. Nibali! Followed by Carapaz. He would continue to be the aggressor. 
Nibali, Carapaz and Carthy had about 15 seconds with about seven kilometers to go. Behind, Roglic hits a barrier! Yikes. Back up quickly, but that will not help.
As the duo ahead plays around, the question was: would Nibali catch them?
Catching Nibali, Yates, Carapaz and Carthy.
Cataldo with the win!
Roglic in about 40 seconds behind Carapaz and Nibali.




The wine:
Balgera Valtellina Superiore Riserva Inferno
From the importer
The Valtellina is a very small wine-producing region in the mountains north of Milan, just south of the Alps that border Switzerland. The predominant grape variety is Nebbiolo, usually referred to here as Chiavennasca, and this is (along with the Barolo/Barbaresco area and the string of appellations in northern Piedmont, such as Ghemme and Lessona) one of the best places for this classic variety. The Valtellina valley runs East-West, and the steep slopes on the northern face of the valley are terraced for grapevines in what the Italians call 'heroic viticulture;' the amount of work involved in establishing and maintaining the terracing alone is hard to imagine, never mind working the vineyards. The soils here are largely morainic, the climate distinctly cooler than the Barolo zone, and red grapes are grown at altitudes up to 500 meters or more, which is unusual in northern Italy.
The foodEporediesi cookies

  • 100 gr - 2/3 Cup raw hazelnuts
  • 50 gr - 1/3 Cup unpeeled sweet almonds
  • 100 gr - 1 scant Cup cocoa powder
  • 1  pack of vanillin (0.5 gr - 0.16 oz circa)
  • 3-4 gr - 1 1/4 teaspoon of powder cinnamon
  • 50 gr - 1/3 Cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 220gr - 1 Cup + 1.5 tablespoon white sugar
  • 80 gr - 3 egg whites
  • 1 pinch of salt
Finely chop the almonds and the hazelnuts
whip up the egg whites till firm and fold in all the ingredients.
Mix evenly and grease the cookie sheet.
With a pastry bag lay down the cookies: 5 cm - 2 inches long tubes wide about 1.5cm - 0.5 inch. 
With your wet palm gently squeeze them down.
Sprinkle with granulated sugar and let them rest for 2-3 hours.
Bake them at 165C - 329 F for 18-20min.
Be extra careful not to overbake them as they must be crunchy outside and soft inside.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Wine and Food of the Giro 2019 Stage 14

Where are we?

SAINT-VINCENT Saint-Vincent is probably one of the most famous places in Valle d’Aosta, thanks also to the “Casino de la Vallée”, one of the most renowned and largest casinos in Europe.  Gently lying on the hillside, in a welcoming valley protected from the wind, with an extraordinary microclimate, to the extent that it is known as the Alps Riviera, with mild winters and cool summers at an altitude of 575 metres.

 COURMAYEUR (Skyway Monte Bianco): Located at the foothills of Mont Blanc, Courmayeur is a gateway to Italy, offering a unique mix of alpine culture, excellent food, sports, relaxation, entertainment, shopping, and elegant lifestyle. The small alpine town is conveniently located, easy to reach all year round: it’s a few kilometers from France and Switzerland, close to the main cities of northern Italy, and strategically situated close to airports in Milan, Turin, and Geneva. A cradle of mountaineering, Courmayeur hosts the second oldest alpine guide association in the world, and is an ideal destination for all sport enthusiasts. Here, you can ski and enjoy freeriding in breathtaking scenery, ice-skate at the Courmayeur Mountain Sport Center ice-rink, even in the summer, and hike or ride a bike along the most beautiful mountain paths of Europe.

GASTRONOMY: Courmayeur has a time-honored culinary tradition that is highly respected. From fontina to the bleu d’Aoste, from chevrot du Mont Blanc to brossa and the fresh yogurt made in Courmayeur with mountain-pasture milk, the range of local delicacies is endless. Here, when dining, you’ll want to try the game, meat sauces, all kinds of cheese, polenta, “seuppe” (the local soups), and cured meats.

The stage: Short and bumpy. This could be fun. Again, to watch.

47 kilometers in and  The 8-man breakaway of  Carthy , Amador,  Masnada, Ciccone, Cattaneo, Hamilton, Sosa, and Juul Jensen had the following lead:
2:35 over Tony Gallopin and Hubert Dupont (both ALM);
2:44 over Izagirre (AST) and Caruso (TBM)
3:06 over the main peloton.

Gallopin was determined to reach the front group. 

Slow wheel change for Gallopin, but he would chase back.
Forty kilometers to go and the gap was around 1:30.
At the start of the climb, an attack from Nibali, followed closely by Roglic, Carapaz, Lopez and Landa. Further behind, Polanc, in pink, in trouble. That group would be reeled in.
In the favorites group, that group would continue on together, joined by Carthy and Majka. Clawing his way back to the front, Caruso, doing an amazing job for his teammate Nibali. 
Attack Carapaz. Roglic began the chase, but Nibali took it over. Coming with them: Lopez and Landa. Eventually closing in on them Majka and Dombrowski.
Again, Nibali jumped followed by his three new best friends.
Time to enjoy Nibali's descent.
With Polanc suffering, Roglic is back in the virtual lead.
Ten kilometers to go and the gap to Carapaz was about 30 seconds.

Nice hairpins.
Coming back, Yates and Dombrowski, who go past that group.
Ahead, Carapaz has gained time--up one minute.
Coming back as well, Caruso to tow the group along.
Carapaz may be moving into the lead.
Carapaz in first, next up Yates. Nibali in third grabbing a few bonus points.





The wine:
Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle:
From the importerErmes Pavese is a youthful grower in the commune of La Ruine just outside of the town of Morgex in the high Alps minutes from the summit of Mont Blanc. Pavese works the native grape known as Prié Blanc. Starting with barely two hectares of vineyards, situated at about 1200 meters above sea level, Pavese has gradually expanded his holdings in this high altitude zone. He now produces three versions of Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle. Because these vineyards are so isolated, Pavese has been able to work with the original, pre-phylloxera root stock since that malady never infiltrated this area when it came sweeping through Europe many years ago.

Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle: A stunning wine from the highest vineyard site in Europe, with annual production of about 12,000 bottles of this austere, racy, mineral white wine with vivacity and length

The food:
Bleu d'Aoste is obviously aa blur cheese produced  with cow's milk from Valle d'Aosta farms over 600/700 meters above sea level. The crust is wrinkled, grey or reddish brown, depending on the degree maturation.The dough is soft, firm, white, with no holes and with the characteristic blue veined coloration.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Wine and Food of the Giro 2019: Stage 13

Where are we? CERESOLE REALE (Lago Serrù) Located in the Piedmontese side of Gran Paradiso National Park, Ceresole Reale has a great environmental value: both in summer and in winter you can play all the sports related to the mountains in an unpolluted environment. The little town lies in the centre of a basin surrouned by majestic peaks, which are reflected in the clear waters of the lake, navigable only by means without engine. Here you can enjoy many outdoor activities: trekking, climbing, biking, fishing, cross-country and mountaineering ski, wandering with snow rackets, ice fall climbing, all of them in a protected environment which makes you feel good. 

GASTRONOMY: Different meat with polenta (i.e. a cornmeal mush), polenta concia (i.e. polenta with melted butter and cheese), Gran Paradiso soup, trout cooked in a variety of ways. Renowned are also “toma” and butter from alpine pasture. Various kind of honey.  

The stage: Why, hi mountains. We've been waiting for you.

Up the road, a break of 28 riders, not given a lot of rope. Also word of a traffic jam ahead, possibly involving team buses.
Rather beautiful as well:

As they climbed, a pratfall by a fan attempting to run next to the riders caused some amusement on Eurosport. One of the interesting things about the sport is how close fans can get to the riders. Most are respectful. Some are not.

Closing in on 60 kilometers to go and the Astana led and rather small favorites group was just about a minute behind the remaining breakaway riders. At the top, Ciccone takes maximum kom points, cementing his lead. Now time for a descent which is fun to watch, but probably terrifying to do. The road is narrow, to say the least.

Forty kilometers to go and some regrouping in the chase group. A little bit of a respite as they prepare for the final climb.
Along the road: Ibex! Marmotte! 

Eighteen kilometers to go and the gap was around 2:30 to the pink jersey group. That group ahead would shed members rapidly on the climb.

First to attack out of the gc group: Landa. Struggling Yates and Polanc. He would reach teammates, to help him.
Horrible time for a mechanical for Lopez. The favorites group is now reduced to
Pozzovivo, Nibali, Carapaz, Roglic, Majka and Sivakov. Landa was still 17 seconds or so ahead, working with a teammate to try and gain time.

Under five kilometers to go and Zakarin attacks from the front group.
Behind, Pozzovivo drops from the Nibali group after a lot of hard work.
A move by Nibali, covered by the rest of the group. Next to go, Majka.
Ahead, Nieve caught Zakarin.
Essentially: Zakarin → Nieve → Bauke → Landa → Carapaz, Majka, Sivakov → Nibali, Roglic → Lopez.
Roglic attack, covered by Nibali.  That would bring them up to Sivakov, who they would leave behind. Ahead, Zakarin drops Nieve.
The stage winner: Zakarin. Next up: Nieve. Landa in third, gaining some very valuable time. Majka gaining time as well, as Roglic and Nibali ride in together.


The wine:  Umberto Fracassi Langhe Favorita 
Fracassi’s favorita (aka vermentino) is fermented half in barrel and half in stainless, and is aged in stainless tanks. This crisp, refreshing white offers scents of lemon, orchard flower, herbs, and rock/salt, with a zingy, stony finish.

From the importer: Umberto Fracassi’s family has been producing Barolo since 1880, a time when Barolo went from being un vino dolce to the grande vino secco that we all know today. After the Second World War, Marchese Fracassi, or simply Umberto, dedicated himself to carrying on the family tradition of producing old-school Barolo in Slavonian oak botti. The town of Cherasco sits at the northwest corner of the Barolo zone, just west of La Morra and Verduno, and its growing area includes Fracassi’s two-hectare Barolo monopole cru Mantoetto. This area is also known as Italy’s capital of snail production. Umberto also produces some white Favorita (Vermentino) that’s a good way to start a meal, as the Barolo is opening up in the decanter.
Journalist Levi Dalton did a fun and infomative interview on Umberto that I highly recommend:

The food:  Polenta concia
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 cups water
1½ Tbs. kosher salt
2 cups fine yellow cornmeal, Anson Mills Antebellum brand preferred
Olive oil
6 oz. thinly sliced, high quality Muenster cheese
5 oz. heavy cream

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook the garlic until it is golden brown. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Set aside.
Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the salt and reduce the heat to medium. Whisking continuously, slowly pour in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook the cornmeal for about 45 minutes, or until it’s very thick. Use a wooden spoon to fold it over onto itself every five to seven minutes. A medium-brown crust will form on the bottom of the pot because the cornmeal is cooking a long time. It’s an indication that you are doing it right.
Brush a nine-inch by nine-inch baking dish with olive oil. Dump half of the cornmeal in and spread it out evenly. Layer the sliced cheese on top. Spread the remaining half of the cornmeal over it.
Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot. Gently reheat the garlic butter over the lowest heat.
Using the handle of a spoon, make holes through the polenta all the way to the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the garlic butter sauce over the polenta, then pour on the hot cream. Serve immediately.
To make up to three days ahead, layer the cooked polenta and the cheese in the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate. Before serving, heat them in a warm oven until hot. Make the holes in the polenta, heat the garlic butter and cream, and pour them on. Serve immediately.