Yesterday we had 178km of spectacular scenery; we can hope that tonight’s 203.5km will be a little more noteworthy for the racing, but I’d advise against holding your breath for that. The stage profile looks even flatter than yesterday and most of the narrative in the Official Guide is given over to discussion of Tours past – including “unforgettable” rest days! – and mountains to come. Fire up the coffee machines. I can’t see us making the finish without caffeine.
From a vache perspective, however, this stage does hold some interest. First up, the department of Landes is celebrated for its Chalosse beef. Chalosse bulls must be Bazadaise, Limousin or Blonde d’Aquitaine and the beef is produced from heifers and castrated males. The minimum age of slaughter for the heifers is 30 months; for the males it’s 32 months. If I’m reading this correctly, to buy this meat you must visit a butcher that exclusively sells Chalosse beef. This Aquitaine-based blogger visited a farm raising these cattle and describes her visit here.
Keep your eyes open for the Blonde d’Aquitaine and Limousins, too!
On the region’s sporting calendar is the Course Landaise, which pits trained cows against toreros, who either dodge the charging animals, or leap over them, depending on their specific role – écartuer or sauteur. Points are given for the elegance of the athletes, as well as for the aggression and agility of the cows.
The enthusiastic public continuously gives financial premiums for courage and audacity; these are announced between the festive music which is constantly playing.
I can just *imagine* the constantly-playing festive music…
Aquitaine produces a wide range of cheeses, although most of the cheese commonly known here is made from goat or sheep milk. There are some interesting-sounding cows milk cheeses, however sourcing them might be challenging! Sometimes it’s good to mix things up with a bit of ossau-iraty or whatever takes your fancy.