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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tour de France: Food and Drink Stages 1-3

The Tour on the Embankment.  What is it about the British and mobile phone cameras?  You don't see it on the streets of France but maybe, given their tanking economy, they can't afford smartphones!

Agent Triple P's first ever memory is of the Tour de France arriving in St Malo in July 1963.  Since then we have seen it in France and Britain (in 1994 and 2007). and always watch it on TV although last year we had to watch some of it on TV in Houston.  Triple P records the live television coverage during the day and watches it in the evening which does present a slight Likely Lads type risk during the day, as we endeavour not to find out the result (for those not familiar with the British sitcom The Likely Lads our two heroes try not to find out the result of a football match so they can watch it on TV later).  It has been called the single greatest British TV comedy episode ever.

More importantly, we try to match appropriate food and drink to each stage of the Tour.  We are rather surprised that no-one already does this for the Tour; not that I have been able to discover online anyway.  The drinks matching always has holes in it; due to non-wine regions or small ones where obtaining the wine is tricky.  Try and get a Savoie wine in a British supermarket and see how far you get, for example.  Still, its about getting a general culinary atmosphere of the particular region.

This year we have five stages of beer to start with and for the two Yorkshire stages we went for Golden Sheep from the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, which the Tour actually passed through on stage 1.  Golden Sheep was originally produced just for Tesco's supermarket but now is on sale generally.  At 3.9% it is very light so won't induce sleep after several bottles during a long stage! 

In fact, on stage two we went for the Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Yorkshire bitter which is also made by the Black Sheep brewery and is a toffee flavoured delight; although a bit stronger at 5.0%.

On Monday Triple P actually went up to the Embankment to watch the Tour tear past and, amazingly, didn't find out the result so was able to enjoy Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin's typically rambling commentary when he got home.

Stage 3 saw an excellent, chocolatey, award winning London Porter from Fullers, to celebrate the Tour arriving in the capital.  This was a most appropriate choice as we had been in Leadenhall Market (formerly London's poultry market) earlier and porter was originally so called because of its popularity with London market porters.

We needed an appropriately English supper to accompany the Tour so we have been having a nice combination of pork pie, sausage and cheese (Wensleydale, of course as it comes from the country in which Stage 1 took place) with wholegrain mustard, pickle and pickled onion.  The mustard is Wilkinson's Tiptree which is from Essex (Stage 3).  Unfortunately, both Tesco and Sainsbury's supermarkets only sell French wholegrain mustard (horrors!) so it was Waitrose to the rescue again.   Perfect!

More Tour food and drink soon but some podium girls next!

1 comment:

  1. Black Sheep is an excellent beer, I would also recommend Timothy Taylor's from Yorkshire - the old staple 'Landlord'. The Fullers Porter is good but more of a winter ale? Something a bit more golden might suit the season perhaps? The last stage started in Cambridge I believe - I can't recall a Cambridge ale. Finally, I hope your Wensleydale was from the creamery at Hawes....they guarantee that the milk comes from cows that have eaten Wensleydale grass!