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Welcome to Cured’s 7th edition of the Cured de France!
The Tour de France is one of those summer events that brings people together. Something other than the weather to talk about with strangers on the street, an excuse to head over to a friends house with coffee in hand at 6 in the morning or cancel evening plans to spend the night on the couch with a glass of wine.
There is perhaps no better way to beat the summer heat than by watching some of the world’s greatest athletes fly up mountain passes and wind through tiny French villages. Cured just so happens to have a rather unique insight into the tour, owing to the fact that owner Will Frishckorn has himself not only ridden in the Tour de France, but has also eaten his way across the entire country during his racing career and knows the best, and most interesting, offerings from every region. In honor and celebration of this year’s Tour de France, we’ve put together a tour of our own…one that is a bit more accessible for the mere mortal. All you need to partake is a love a cheese, a passion for French wine, and a good appetite.
As the cyclists make their way around France, so do we, only our trip is a bit more pleasing to the palate and less punishing to the legs…
HOW IT WORKS:
Will breaks the Tour into eight stages, each corresponding to 3-4 days of racing. Each region corresponds with a cheese and a beverage. As the riders make their way around France you’ll follow along, feeling thankful that while they’re suffering through the hills you’re enjoying cheese, wine, and entertainment from the comfort of your own home. With 7 flat stages, 5 hilly stages, 7 mountainous stages with 5 epic mountain finishes, not to mention 2 time trial stages, 1 individual and 1 team, this 106thTour de France promises to be an exciting, and truly delicious course. Starting, and finishing, with Champagne seems only appropriate this year and by the time the riders pass under the Arc d’Triomphe, we promise this tour will test your stamina as well as your taste buds from stage to stage to stage.
A Brief Overview of the 2019 Tour de France
The organizers of this year’s Tour de France gave us a great gift of choosing a route that sticks entirely to regions well known for their cheeses and wines (not always the case!) and we can confidently say that this years selections are the most exciting and delicious of any Tour to date.We visit Champagne, Burgundy, Provence, and the Roussillon amongst others, and the lineup is one that we are thrilled to share.
Stage 1 (July 6-8) Langres with Robert Moncuit’s Blanc de Blanc
We’re kicking off this year’s with one of our favorite Grower Champagnes paired with a perfect little round of ideally funky, washed rind cheese made just down the road from where the Champagne’s grapes are grown. The linear focus of the blanc de blanc champagne slices right through the creaminess of the cheese, cleansing your palate and just begging for another bite, and another…until both are a distant memory and all you wish was that there were more. Fortunately we know where to find them in that case…
Stage 2 (July 9-11) Petit Munster with Ostertag’s Sylvanner
After the race transitions from Belgium and into the Champagne region, it enters the heart of Alsace for Stage 2 of the Cured de France. Alsace is known for it’s truly rich, ooey-gooey, stinky cheeses and for its tall bottles of aromatic white wines. While not always a rule you can trust, the pairing pillar “what grows together goes together” couldn’t be more spot on in this case. Domaine Ostertag is one of Alsace’s most exciting new houses and Andre is a true revolutionary. Paired with one of the most classic Alsatian cheeses, Petit Munster, we bring old and new together in a pairing that will practically make you weep with joy.
Stage 3 (July 12-14) Soumaintrain with Grappin’s Macon Blanc VV
Upon leaving Alsace, the race heads to the heart of Burgundy, passing just minutes away from Domaine Grappin’s door. While burgundy is known for big dollar wines, the Grappin whites and reds consistently deliver more bang for the buck than any in the region. Their Chardonnay based Macon Blanc seems as if it were designed to integrate with Soumaintrain, a slightly funky cow’s milk cheese from just a few miles north. Perhaps one of the most luscious, creamy, approachable cheeses from a part of France known for funk, Soumaintrain captured our hearts the first time we brought it into the shop and is one we wish we had year round. We’re excited to share this classic Burgundian pairing and hope it sweeps your feet out from under you as completely as it does ours!
Stage 4 (July 15-18) Cantal with Clos d’Audhuy’s Les Polissons Cahors
As the race hits the rolling mountains of the Massif Centrale and the riders have to start challenging their legs to power them up mountain passes, we find ourselves in ‘Alpine’ territory. We’re pairing Cantal, a classic French cow’s milk farmhouse cheese with rich, tangy, buttery notes alongside a fantastic example of Cahors Rouge, a rustic, hearty, brambly red wine that fully illustrates that France still makes the best Malbec in the world.
Stage 5 (July 19-21) Tomme Brulee with Gilles Troullier Rouge
As the riders continue to suffer their way around the country, racing the Pau time trial and quickly rolling then into the heart of the Pyrenees, we’ll enjoy a much more delicate taste of the region with what might be the finest Sheep’s milk cheese in the world. We’re pairing Tomme Brulle alongside a Grenache from Roussillon biodynamic dynamo Gilles Troullier. Fresh grass and nutty, sheepy,savory notes jump out from this incredibly elegant cheese and the soft red fruits and delicate herbaceous elements of this amazingly balanced hot-climate Grenache marry unimaginably well.
Stage 6 (July 22-24) Baetje Miette with Domaine Gros Noré Bandol Rose
Every year as the race passes through Provence we choose a standout rose to pair with a cheese from the good ol’ U S of A. Provence makes amazing goat’s milk cheeses, all fresh, bright, and melt in your mouth delicious… sadly we don’t get any of the best examples here in the US. What we DO however have access to are cheeses made in the same style, but from closer to home. Baetje farm in Missouri makes the Miette, a blend of goat and sheep’s milks, in the sweet, yeasty, grassy provencal style that is impossible not to love. Paired with classic Mourvedre driven Bandol rose from Gros Noré, one of our favorite still just slightly-under-the-radar houses you will be transported to the south of France and hard pressed to leave… Fortunately we’ll have more of both of these on hand at the shop should another escape down south be in order 😉
Stage 7 (July 25-27) Dueling Comté Tasting with Domaine du Pelican’s Savagnin Ouillé. The queen stages of this year’s Tour all come in the Alps, and we’ll do the same as you taste TWO different profiles of Comte alongside the Marquis d’Angerville’s Domaine du Pelican Savagnin Ouilé. This tasting highlights a wine that alone is a treat to taste, and brings in an educational element as you taste side by side two different selections of Comté from two of America’s best importers, Essex Cheese and Tomales Bay Foods (Cowgirl Creamery). This lean, mean, focused Savagnin is made in a clean, non-oxidative style, and literally pierces through the fruity, nutty, buttery richness of one of the most classic cheeses in the world. Twice. Only one stage to go!
Stage 8 (July 28th!) A Demi Brillat Savarin with Paul Bara’s Brut Champagne (375ml). A cheese that has earned a regular spot in our lineup as the crowning jewel, Brillat-Savarin is one of France’s most famous Tripple Crème cheeses and these small wheels are the perfect size to make disappear while watching the riders bounce along the Champs-Elysees. Brie and Bubbly is another pairing adage that everybody should be familiar with, and pairing Grower Paul Bara’s Brut Champagne with this over the top indulgent cheese is as memorably delicious as it is celebratory. A perfect way to cap off our 2019 Cured de France if we say so ourselves!
How to Partake
The pairing for each stage are available individually for $50 or as part of the whole package for $350 (the final brie and bubbly are on us if you join along for the whole tour!). This year’s full tour bundle is available for pickup at Cured, or for $70, each week we will ship*** you a box filled with that week’s stages. ***(SHIPPING IS ONLY AVAILABLE IN COLORADO…boxes will arrive on July 5th, 16thand 23rd)***. Do you live out of state and are not able to imbibe alongside? Head to your nearest cheese shop with our list of pairings and see what they can help you source from nearby!