TOUR DE SNACKS STAGE 4: THE SAVOURY TRANSFER

 

The race had twisted and turnt its way through the Pyrénées, and now, bar the finish of stage 15 things resumed for the sprinters, and for those hoping to catch up on lost sleep. The pro’s were shooting across the home region of our own Yung Lugo over the coming days, some flatter stages and a rest day taking things to a Mediterranean extreme. Soon they would be back in the mountains, though the colder French Alps for what would be a raucous finish to what had already been a Tour de France that surprisingly slapped and slapped hard.

 
 
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To celebrate we took heed of Gabriel’s advice, and opted for some particularly savoury options as we tried our best to prop up our stages watched to stages slept through tally. Work was cut out for us.

 
 

LIMOUX > FOIX PRAT d’ALBIS

 

~Local Knowledge~ from half way around the world, fact-checked by our very own Southern France U21 National TT Champion ’14/’15/’16 – Lewis Guerin Hanlon (permanently home-based in SA), and assisted by the wonderful world wide web, it was revealed that the Mediterranean fish is one of the key elements of Aude’s local cuisine.

With Stage 15 of the Tour de France kicking off in Limoux, the beating heart of Aude, there is no better way to get our Pepe Silvia on and draw some far-fetched relevancy of gastronomy to the table: Salted Egg Fish Skin Chips.

 
 
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Admittedly, the origins of these artery-choking snacks originate from nowhere near France, rather they come from the tiny colony of Singapore but heck – we are Internationale after all. To ingest food of any form past dinner, there shalt be no boundaries in appropriated produce nor shall caution be used when considering ones health and longevity. Consider yourself the king or queen. Some may contend that the salted egg is the hero of this iconic and highly technical dish, not the fish skin – need we remind you once more, you are the king or queen.

 
 

Not to be confused with our Pommes Frites of Stage 1 through Belgium, these are chips to be enjoyed in absolute monastery-style solitude, where you are sworn to secrecy over the possession and consumption of such a delicacy. If sharing is inevitable, do so grudgingly, or simply have another bag handy. As soon as your inexperienced palate share that scandalous rendezvous with these salted egg crusted skinnies, you will feel the surge of cholesterol course through your body, firing straight through all chambers of your now overworking heart, delivering a shot of pure liquid gold. Your body is a temple, and you have just provided it with the greatest gift of all.

**You may or may not need to hit your coach up for those x1000 intervals to begin reversing the damage a single serving of these will drop on you.

NOW FOR THE RECIPE!

There’s a saying made famous by yours truly; “why cook when there’s so many people out there willing to do it for you – all you need to do is pay them.” Since we are trying to hero the fish skin here and bring tribute to Aude, we cannot recommend the following any higher: stop cooking things in bread crumbs, or even panko. Use salted egg instead. The people of the Aude are onto something.

 
 

NÎMES > NÎMES

 

Stage 16 for the pro’s was a real Tour Down Under type stage in the sense that it was a real out and back day. 177km stood between the flag dropping and Caleb Ewan taking the W, but outside of the stunning scenery and the frequent features on the city of Nîmes, there wasn’t much going on in the race. There was a your standard “fuck it let’s breakaway” type breakaway, there were chateaus, and there were Robbie McEwen’s predictions for this afternoons sprint finish. Jacob Fuglsang crashed out, able to start his recovery and taper for the 2021 Grand Départ from Copenhagen in his home country.

 
 
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Taking some advice from Gabriel we made the most of the largely undramatic stage to do a spot of baking in the kitchen of Soup HQ. On this particular evening; a quiche made mostly of stuff we had sitting in the fridge, so sorry to put disrespect on the name. There also isn’t a food processor at Soup HQ (P.S Kitchenaid sponno us!) so we rolled out, folded, moulded and pricked some sheets of shortcrust pastry into a quiche dish.

 
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Turns out that on this particular evening there wasn’t a proper CMS in place (P.P.S Sandisk sponno us!) as all documentation of the quiche in question and the reheating and enjoyment of the quiche in the closing moments – the break getting caught 2.5km from the finish, Caleb rocketing to victory – were accidentally deleted, or lost on one of these memory cards.

BUT NOW FOR THE RECIPE ANYWAY!

In a modern day twist on Aristos interrupting your weekly shop, here is what we had in fridge to make a surprise quiche: Zucchini, basil, tomatoes, a basic lil’ chorizo, parmigiano and of course a few too many cartons of eggs, most of them half empty. After pre-baking the shell a little, fry up the chorizo, drain it on some paper towel then scatter it across the baked pastry shell with some super thinly sliced zucchini, some chopped babby tomatoes, hell we even added some caramelised onion in there too. As for the egg mixture, it’s a little more than egg. Whisk the hell out of a particular number of eggs, some milk, some cream, some grated parmigiano, salt and pepper. Pour it all into the quiche dish, covering all the other ingredients. Pop into the oven for 50 minutes or so, grate some more cheese over the top and voila. Ready to eat now or in 65km time.

 
 

PONT DU GARD > GAP

 

Imagine this. At the end of a long day you sit down on the couch and kick your feet up to watch the last of these mostly banal transition stages. While the riders tick over their required 200km from Pont du Gard to Gap you flick through twitter, make yourself a cup of tea, contemplate doing something more productive with your evening. Unfortunately the breakaway has sucked you in, some friendly faces making it hard to pick who you want to win.

You’d switch off the TV and get off the couch if it wasn’t for Matteo Trentin giving it some up the final small climb – côte. During the minutes immediately proceeding him laying it down on the road you’re sucked in as he powers clear from the rest of the breakaway who aren’t quite sure what’s going on. It looks like the Abarth of Italian cyclists is about to go clear and take another stage victory for Michelton-Scott, ready to salute the Gap crowds in his European Champs jersey.

 
 
 

The flurry of the attack, and the sheer power laid down is exhausting to watch, it send you in a trance, then into a daze, then you black out. You wake up an hour later on the couch in a cold sweat, household pet clawing at the sock on your foot. The broadcast has finished, now there’s just the hell random late night programming we know and love SBS for. Without seeing the finish you know that Matteo brought home the W for Gerry Ryan – the only thing worth knowing, so you head to bed proper.

Wake the next day and you’ll be greeted with the same headlines throughout cycling media. Luke Rowe and Tony Martin kicked off the Tour for a scuffle at the bottom of the penultimate climb, mere minutes after falling asleep on Matteo Trentin’s sublime attack to victory which is now second page news. You can’t believe the peloton would disrespect the viewer in such a way as to throw fists once they know shut eye has been implemented. Why Luke Rower thought it was a good idea to play fisticuffs with a guy who rides coarse sandpaper cowgirl to TT victory’s we can’t quite pinpoint, but we hope to find out one day.

 
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As the comments section lit up, video analysis and lukewarm takes from the traditional cycling media kicked off, the appetite kicks in again. What on earth could be the key to fulfilling your current hunger for memes, for controversy and for a thicc, fattening meal? The Croque Monsieur of course.

NOW FOR THE RECIPE!

Grill one side of some sourdough, we heeded Gabriel Gaté’s advice by nabbing a loaf from Laurent despite there being NO locations in the Western suburbs of Melbourne (we think). Firstly, doing this all toasted side up, spread some dijon mustard, then a cheese sauce made of hella butter, some flour, gruyere and vintage cheddar. Throw some ham on top, then some more grated cheese of both varieties. Pop the other piece of sourdough toasted side down, butter the top and throw under the grill for a few more minutes until you accidentally burn the edges. While you wait French Press some Everyday, throw it in a suitably French mug and get to revelling in the comments section.

 
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Next up we will bring you the ultimate culinary pairing to the dramatic and penultimate stage of this years Tour de France from Albertville. The riders will be deep in the French Alps, while we will be elbows deep in vibes and hops at Beechworth’s Bridge Road Brewers.

 
 
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