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Tour de French Cuisine, Week Two
The Tour de France continues on, heading into the Jura and the Alps; these really are the highlight of every tour. The mountains are where they separate the men from the boys and the action really heats up. The Tour de French Cuisine left off last week in the bubbly wine capital of the world, the Champagne region, and headed into the Burgundy region just before the mountains. Curnonsky said, “There are many gastronomic paradises in France, but there is a paradise of paradises: Burgundy.”
For stage #6, Montargis to Geuegnon, it has to be a classic. Boeuf à la Bourguignonne, which is basically a beef stew with bacon, onions and mushrooms slow cooked in red wine. It is a rather inexpensive meal to make and can be made in large quantities in advance, as it just gets better and better as it sits. Another dish that is synonymous with the Burgundy region is Escargot. Drenched in butter, garlic and parsley, these little tiny morsels are fantastic.
Stage #7, Tournus to Station des Rousses, is in the mountain range known as the Juras just north of the Alps. The Jura is considered part of the Franche-Comte region and if you like cheeses then you'll know that the region is famous for its Comte. Of all cheeses in the region, one is the king. A hard, pressed cheese with a texture much like English aged cheddar, Gruyere de Comte. The flavors are smooth and rich, and the cheese is very prevalent in a lot of their dishes, Poulet au Comte being one of them. The Comte gives the chicken a rich sauce and adds a lot of flavor to the dish.
Stage #8, Station des Rousses to Morzine-Avoriaz, leaves the Juras behind and heads into the Alps. There is an art to making scrambled eggs and in the Alps they put a lovely twist on it and serve it with mushrooms on a slice of toasted French bread. Don’t forget the French butter and top it with a few slices of truffles; these aren’t your Sunday morning eggs.
Stage #9, Morzine-Avoriaz to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, in the Haute-Savoie department and home to some of the Tour’s mystical climbs. The Col de la Colombiere and the Col de la Madeleine have an altitude of 1614 meters and 2000 meters respectively and are the most-visited mountain passes in the Tour de France. Hundreds of thousands of people line up days before the Tour arrives complete with baguettes, cheese and French wine to await the cyclists' arrival. Since the Alps are so close to Italy, the influence of pasta in some dishes has been seen for hundreds of years. Perdreaux aux Fides (Partridge with Noodles and Cheese) is a little different than your normal spaghetti and is not made in boiling salted water. I changed the Partridge to Cornish Game hens, which are widely available; the presentation and taste were fantastic.
Stage #10, Chambery to Gap, and it just so happens to be Le Quatorze Juillet or Bastille Day as it is known in America. As we leave the Alps and the Savoy region behind on this Fête Nationale, it is fitting that we enjoy two things: potatoes and cheese. Gratin Savoyard, it can’t get more authentic and simpler than that, and since it is on the French national holiday why not serve it up in a French flag-inspired way with Bleu, Blanc et Rouge Le Creuset dishes. Vive la France!
For full recipes and historical information on every stage please stop by my blog.
Fat Tire Bike Tours are great for seeing Paris in a different light. You'll see more, have more fun, and not feel tired at the end of it. These are highly recommended and truly a great thing to do during your stay.