Stage seven gets the climbing points over early – the Cat 4 Côte de Canapville at 12.5km – and then undulates for another 178km towards a downhill finish at Fougères. Is this the last chance for the Etixx train to sort themselves out? The Griller will certainly be turning the heat up, as from here the fast guys will be turning their minds to calculating cut-off times.
If it undulates there’ll be ungulates… hopefully! Bienvenue to the home of the Normande!
The Normande is one of the largest French breeds and remains relatively popular. They are valued for their milk production and – according to my cattle bible – a Normande cow held the world butterfat record some years ago. I did try to find some specific details about this particular metric, and was pleased to see that an Australian cow took the butterfat record (Jersey division) in 1933.
Anyway, back to France. Based on what we know about the Normande’s output, is it any wonder that we are spoiled for choice with cheeses from here? We mentioned the Neufchâtel yesterday, but there is also Camembert (a cidre-soaked Camembert would really up your Normandy game!), Brillat-Savarin, Pont l’Eveque… but how can we overlook the stage’s eponymous cheese, Livarot? It’s certainly not a shrinking violet of a cheese, with a strong nose that demands attention, although The Kitchn assures us that “it’s bark is worse than its bite”. It’s a washed rind cow’s milk cheese wrapped in strands of rush which help hold its shape and give it its nickname: The Colonel. Match it with a malty beer, or push the boat right out and try some Calvados.
I’m going to leave you with this from Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin:
Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.
What do you reckon he’d make of us, Tour Snackers?