It’s the second-last mountain stage of the 100th Tour and there are some hefty climbs packed in. In fact, there was some discussion on Twitter as to whether the Alpe d’Huez stage really deserved to be the Queen stage of this race, as Stage 19 certainly packs a punch. Riders will start climbing almost right away up to the summit of the HC Col de Glandon at 33.5km. A sharp descent follows, and then the Col de Madeleine rises up to 2000m (how much lower is that than the altitude at which Froome was born? Anybody?). The sprint points are available in Albertville, and then there are three more climbs: a Cat 2 and two Cat 1s. Will Quintano be able to take the polka dot jersey? Will Chris Froome resist the temptation to eat late in the stage? Will Contador be adding an extra layer of paint to his bike overnight to ensure there is no suspicion over bike weight?
Will there be vaches? Well, there should be. We spotted some on the way from Grenoble to Oz, which took us through Allemont, so hopefully they are still in situ. The latter part of the stage is close to Beaufort, so there are Tarantaise and Abondance in the area as these are the milk sources for this amazing cheese. There is also the Tomme de Savoie, which was the nicest of the tommes we tasted recently.
Let’s meet a new cow, shall we? This stage is close to Switzerland, so why not look out for the Fribourg. It is something of a long shot, as it was thought to be extinct after the last bull in Switzerland was (carelessly, you’d have to say) slaughtered in 1975. Some of these black and white cows were taken to Chile in the 1930s and a family history project recently found evidence that descendents of these cattle were in Patagonia. Yes, Savoie is not Patagonia, but if they made it that far, they might have snuck off to France, too.
Image: Antique Print Club
If you feel you’d like to cook something tonight, rather than rely on a delicious cheeseboard, try a Gratin Dauphinoise. This recipe from SBS suggests it goes perfectly with any grilled meats or roasts, by which they obviously mean beef. It is not without controversy, though, as a commenter from the Dauphiné region points out on a similar BBC recipe points out.
OUCH!! This should not be called “Gratin Dauphinois” if it contains Cheese. I happen to be someone actually coming from the Dauphinee region of France (the famous Gratin Dauphinois originates from there) where we consider adding cheese a sacrilege as it actually allienates all the good flavour from the potatoes, herbs, garlic and cream. I strongly suggest to remove the cheese from your preparation and enjoy this amazing dish full of flavour or…. Just to simply call it a “potato gratin” instead of Grating Dauphinois