Stage 6: Épernay > Metz

This 207.5km stage is the last of the flats until stage 13, so you can be sure the sprinters will be all over it. The intermediate sprint point comes at 135.5km and the only climb of the day – a Cat 4 – follows less than 10km after it. The final three kilometres have proved treacherous during these sprint-friendly stages; hopefully tonight we’ll break the jinx and have a hard-fought sprint that doesn’t leave us wondering who might have been left on the road and how badly they are injured. The Lotto team will be fired up after Griepel’s second consecutive stage win, but I can’t be alone in wanting to see one last Sagan celebration before the mountains, can I?

We start today in Champagne-Ardenne and finish in the capital of Lorraine. Celebrate the end of the sleep-deprived working week with a glass or two of the region’s eponymous sparkling wine – it would be a pity to waste such a good opportunity, wouldn’t it?

There is no cattle breed specific to this area, however there are a number of cows milk cheeses from the region.  This must be where the Prim’holsteins – which make up about 60% of the dairy herd in France – come in.

Image: Parisbug

The cheeses are from the south of Champagne-Ardennes, but let’s not be too geo-specific about this.  After all, we just want to eat, right?  A couple are available locally [in Australia], so we’ll take a look at those.

Chaource was a surprise winner in a cheese survey conducted by a supermarket in the UK last year.   It is described as

reminiscent of some of the most decadent triple crèmes, [however] it is in fact only a double crème! The taste of Chaource has hints of mushrooms and a creamy, smooth finish. This cheese is absolutely wonderful paired with Champagne.

Another local cheese, Langres, is a washed rind cheese from the plateau of the Haute-Marne.  It has a slight depression in the top, which is apparently perfect for pouring champagne into before eating according to the good folk at the Richmond Hill Café and Larder’s Cheese Room.

It’s Friday night.  You’re no doubt knackered after the first week of balancing work and no sleep, so you’ll want a simple dinner.  Why not try a quiche Lorraine? Gabriel Gaté has a recipe over on the SBS website – there’s lots of cream and milk as well as the rather controversial inclusion of gruyère cheese.  There’s more dairy goodness with a chunk of butter in this recipe for the pastry.

Don’t forget to turn off the alarm for tomorrow morning! You have 48 hours to recharge…


4 thoughts on “Stage 6: Épernay > Metz

  1. Pingback: Tour de France 2012 – Stage 6 « Visible Procrastinations

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  3. Pingback: Stage 7: Epernay > Nancy | Les Vaches du Tour

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