Stage 19 – Legume-y Legs

by Jeanne

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REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Are we there yet?  Only 199km/123.5mi remain in the TdF.   The Seattle Times reports that Lance was talking to George (in photo above) and said, "Why don’t we just not stop? Let’s just keep riding, get it over with." Another good quote from Lance was something along the lines of "the faster I pedal the faster I retire."  He looks so great this year. Anyway tomorrow is one of my favorite events the Individual Time Trial.  This is a tough event at this point as riders are tired having clocked 2,000 miles. I hope some of you have enjoy this virtual food tour. It was a personal challenge; I think I did OK, right?! But mostly thanks for the ride boys!

Issoire to Le Puy-en-Velay / Distance 153.5km; 95mi

Tdf_lien If it’s Friday it’s the Loire Valley. there are numerous chateaux up and down the valley. The start of today’s stage begins in Puy-de-Dôme, which is named after the famous dormant volcano by the same name, makes for rich soil.  So much so that the excellence of produce has earned the area the sorbiquet of the "garden of France."  It is three hours from Paris and an hour from Lyon. 

The green or French lentil, or more exacting, lentille Verte du Puy (Le Puy Green Lentil) was the first dry vegetable to be awarded the highly coveted A.O.C. designation (Appellation d’origine Contrôlée). This well favored and most delicate of lentils has a peppery taste.  It is a good choice for salads as it holds its shape and firmness after cooking. This legume has been grown in the Haute Loire without fertilizers, since Roman Gaul times. Although originally grown in the rich volcanic soils of Puy, they are now also grown in North America and Italy.  Domestic lentils, from Washington and Idaho, are larger than their French cousins.

Another specialty is an after-dinner liqueur of the Auvergne region called Verveine du Velay. Tdf_19b Produced since 1859 with a family recipe for five generations, it contains Cognac, honey, 32 different plants, plus vervain which is grown only in this area.  According to ecocktail "The herbs stay in the alcohol for more than 20 days to pass on their natural aroma to the alcohol. Distillation takes place in cooper distilling stills. After 24 hours, a 90 % – alcohol is produced, the "Soul" of the liqueur. Yellow or green Verveine de Velay is mixed out of it with the help of sugar or honey. Both liqueurs ripen afterwards in barrels for at least ten months. The yellow liqueur is mild, sweet and contains 43 % of alcohol, the green one is strong and contains more alcohol (55 %)."

And of course there’s wine.  The area is the third largest wine region in France; second in sparkling wine.  There are four large viticultural regions, Muscadet, Anjou, Touraine and Sancerre. The main grapes are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Muscadet, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.

Green Lentils with Warm Goat Cheese (Auberge des Sept Soeurs in Touchay, France)

Salade De Lentilles Vertes Aux Lardons (Green Lentil & Bacon Salad)

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