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Welcome to Cured’s 6th 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 8 flat stages, 5 hilly stages, 6 mountainous stages and 5 epic mountain stages, including 3 summit finishes, not to mention 2 time trial stages, 1 individual and 1 team, this 105thTour de France promises to be an exciting, and truly delicious course. From the first taste of Loire Valley goat cheese goodness to the last guilty smear of Brie and glass of champagne as the riders cross 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 2018 Tour de France
This year the race begins in the Loire Valley, famous for goat milk cheeses. Cured starts its tour with Baetje Farms Bloomsdale, paired with Catherine and Pierre Breton’s le Dilettante Sparkling Vouvray. The Bloomsdale is inspired by the classic Loire Valley Chevre, and this pairing truly illustrates the pairing pillar “What grows together goes together”, at least stylistically so! As the race heads into Brittany the pairings feature a Cidre from Aval paired with Pont l’Eveque, one of France’s benchmark “stinky cheeses”, before visiting Brie Country, where participants will enjoy Brie de Meaux alongside a bottle of Brasserie la Goute d’Or Saison.
The race then hops across to the Alps where Cured is sourcing a reserve wheel of Essex Cheese Company Comte to pair with the Jura’s Tissot Family DD Rouge. As the race crosses Provence, Cured tosses a twist, featuring an American cheese, better than any they can import from France in the style typical of the region…Beltane from Rivers Edge Chevre will pair with Chateau Peyrassol’s Rose, a French classic.
As the race heads west and into the Auvergne and Pyrenees, Cured is pairing the Onetek Bleu de Basques with Dmn Gauby Les Calcinaires, one of southern France’s finest natural white wines, then Tomme Brulee with Ameztoi’s Rubentis Txakolina Rose.
As always, Cured caps off the tour with Brie and Bubbly, this year featuring Will Studd’s Demi-Brillat Savarin with the La Caravelle Champagne.
STAGE 1, July 7-9: This year the race begins in the Loire Valley, famous for its goat milk cheeses. Cured starts our tour with Valencay, a classic charcoal dusted pyramid (missing it’s top) shaped tower pairs beyond beautifully with Catherine and Pierre Breton’s le Dilettante Sparkling Vouvray. From fields just miles apart, this pairing truly illustrates the pairing pillar “What grows together goes together”. Valencay comes with a great history…the famous story being that Napoleon returned from Egypt, bitter with his lack of success, and the pyramid shaped cheese evoked his fury. A quick sword swing took the top off forever. The Bretons make a range of enigmatic wines from across the region, and their sparkling Brut Vouvray is one of our favorite examples of the style. Methode Champenoise in production method, the squeaky clean Chenin Blanc fruit comes through with a ginger spice, ripe apples, and a slightly nutty finish.
STAGE 2 July 10-12: As the race heads into Brittany and Normandy the pairings go truly traditional. Pont l’Eveque, one of France’s benchmark “stinky cheeses” defines cheese in the Normandy Region, and we’re pairing it up with a new cider for us from Aval (which translates to apple in the local dialect). This house run by four young cider producers is made on a farm that has produced cider for over 1000 years. Theirs is in the just off-dry style that exemplifies the region, and that touch of fruit gives it the ability to stand up to and cleanse your palate from the rich Pont l’Eveque it pairs so well with.
STAGE 3, 12 -13: As the race heads east and north, almost touching the Belgian boarder, we pass through Brie country, where participants will enjoy what many of us consider the OG brie, Brie de Meaux. With records of this cheese dating back to the 8th century, it is one we should all taste at some point in time. It’s delicate, white, bloomy rind reveals a mushroomy, nutty, meaty paste, and one that in our eyes, screams for a great bottle of farmhouse ale to accompany. We’re pairing it up with a bottle of Brasserie la Goute d’Or Saison. This brewery opened in downtown Paris in 2012 and is receiving acclaim as one of the finest new beer houses in France. Many of the beers are inspired by the spices found in the nearby African spice market, and a rich farmhouse beer couldn’t be a better foil for the funk that the Brie de Meaux brings to the table.
STAGE 4, July the 16-19: The cyclists hope on a plane to the Alps, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring in a wheel of the Essex Cheese Company’s Reserve Comte to enjoy as we watch the riders suffer their way through mountain top finish after another. To pair with this almost fruity alpine wheel of cow’s milk goodness, we’re featuring this year’s Tissot Family DD Rouge. The DD is a blend of Pinot Noir, Poulsard and Trousseau, and this year’s has an amazing energy…almost like a smashed strawberry on a hot cement patio, fermenting in the sun. The zippy acid structure cuts right into the weight of the cheese, and the fruit notes mingle perfectly. We’re huge fans of both this cheese and this wine on their own, and are thrilled to share them together.
STAGE 5, July the 20-22: As the race crosses Provence, Cured tosses a in twist, featuring an American cheese, better than any we can import from France in the style typical of the region…Beltane, from Rivers Edge Chevre in Oregon, is an annatto seed colored, ash ripened goats milk log, wrapped in an edible fern. Mind blown? Just wait ’til you try it. We’ll pair this up with Chateau Peyrassol’s Rose, a wine from an estate literally founded by the knights templar in the 13th century. Considering the American twist we’re tossing in the mix, we figure the 900 year old wine estate balances things out;)
STAGE 6, July 23-26: As the race heads west and into the hills of Auvergne and the foothills of the Pyrenees, Cured is pairing one of our favorite bleu cheeses, Onetek’s Bleu de Basques, one of the finest examples of an only mildly spicy sheep’s milk blue. It’s nutty, salty tang and blue pop classically calls for something off dry, but we’re pairing this with a gorgeous white wine with a bit of weight from Domaine Gauby, one of southern France’s finest natural wine houses. While technically dry, the concentration of fruit, and slight saline notes, balance the cheese perfectly, and just feel appropriate for summer.
STAGE 7, July 27-28: As the race hits the heart of the Basque country, we’ll be nibbling on Tomme Brulee, a small sheep’s milk tomme aged by famed affineur Rodolphe la Meunier. Not dissimilar from Ardi Gasna, a cheese many Cured fans know well, this version is that much more refined, delicate, and subtle with a complexity in flavors rarely found. We’re hopping across the Spanish border (but still in the Basque part, not to worry) and featuring Ameztoi’s Rubentis Txakolina Rose. This slightly sparkling wine is the Basque Country’s answer to serious portuguese vino verde, and Ameztoi is a producer nearly cult in status at this point. Ripping energy, slight bubbles, and a soft fruit body make it one of the best all around summer food pairing wines, and this pairing in particular is built to please.
STAGE 8, July 29: As always, Cured caps off our tour with Brie and Bubbly, this year featuring Will Studd’s expertly aged small wheel of Brillat Savarin paired up with the La Caravelle Champagne, a private project from famed New York Restauranteur Rita Jamet. Both the cheese and the wine beg for another bite, then sip, then bite, then sip, until you with you had another wheel and bottle in reserves. There is truly no better way to finish the tour than with a guilty pleasure, and this pairing is exactly that.
How to Partake
The pairing for each stage are available individually for $50 or as part of the whole package for $350 (the 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 for the entire tour, each week we will ship* you a box filled with that week’s stages. *(SHIPPING IS ONLY AVAILABLE IN COLORADO). 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!