Cheese and Wine Pairing for the Tour de France

Cured Guides Cheese and Wine Pairing for Cycling Palooza. Shop owner Will Frischkorn, former pro cyclist who raced in Tour de France, curates cheeses and wines that match stages of race through Europe

2015 Tour de France Route
2015 Tour de France Route

Chips and wings get scarfed during Super Bowl celebrations, and the Kentucky Derby involves a whole lot of mint juleps. But the best sporting event for food has got to be the Tour de France, which takes cyclists through some of the most prestigious wine- and cheese-making regions in the world. Proper Tour celebrations should pay homagé to the sublime food.

This year former pro cyclist and Tour de France competitor Will Frischkorn, the owner of the cheese, wine, charcuterie and provisions shop Cured in Boulder, offers Tour fans the “Cured de France,” a detailed guide for how to salute this year’s Tour in style.

“We have put together a tour of our own, one that is a bit more accessible to the mere mortal,” said Will. “All you need to take part is a love of cheese, a passion for French wine and a good appetite. As the cyclists make their way around France, so do we, only our trip is a bit more pleasing to the palate and less punishing to the legs.”

For each stage of the Tour, Will suggests cheeses and beverages — mostly wine — that come from the region the cyclists are racing across. All of Will’s primary suggestions can be found at good cheese and wine shops. But he offers more widely available alternatives, too, that at least capture the culinary spirit of each stage. Either way, Cured also sells all of the cheeses at the store and online.

Cured de France Guide

Like many Tours, the riders start the three-week race in another country, this year Holland. Lucky for us, the Dutch are known for their cheese. Once the cyclists pass through Belgium (beer anybody?) they enter France on the 4th day of racing.

In a counter-clockwise loop, the peloton travels down the northwestern coast of France, all the way into the heart of Brittany before the riders hop a plane and head south.

A traditional rest day in Pau, the culinary heart of southwestern France, gives the riders strength to attack a brutal couple of days in the Pyrenees and the forgotten mountains of the Massif-Central. There is one flat day for the sprinters as they head down the Rhone River and then it’s right back into the mountains, this time the Alps.

With the penultimate stage finishing on one of the Tour’s most classic of climbs, the Alpe d’Huez, the race then flies up to Paris for the final show on the Champs Elysses. With a truly brutal route this year, the riders only wish that they could be eating their way along with us on our slightly more civilized, and far more delicious, culinary Cured de France.

Tour de France Stages this year:

July 4th, 5th and 6th: Holland and Belgium.
We kick off our tour with a beer from legendary Belgian Brewery Achouffe, the “La Chouffe,” a Belgian strong ale. We’re pairing it up with Wilde Wilde, a 15 month aged gouda from a a small, organic, family owned farm.
More commonly available: Good aged gouda and a quality Belgian ale should not be hard to find in most areas.

July 7th,8th and 9th: Northwestern France.
The far northwest of France is cold, harsh country, brutal for both cyclists and wine. That said, people here make the most amazing apple brandy in the world: Calvados. We’ll try a bottle of Calvados Notre Dame, paired with a small-production Livarot, a soft, pungent cheese seemingly made to be enjoyed with a sip of brandy after dinner.
More commonly available: While our calvados is a specific one, there are many out there to find. On the cheese front, keep your eyes peeled for more commonly available Normandy Camembert.

July 10th, 11th and 12th: Brittany.
As we head further west, the tour enters Muscadet country. Made from the Melon grape and practically designed to pair with oysters, Muscadet is one of our favorite summer wines due to its versatility and crisp, refreshing zip. It cuts through food like few other wines, and what better food to cut through than butter from legendary producer Rodolphe le Meunier. His Beurre de Baratte is made from fresh cream, hand molded, and sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt from miles away. What a treat.

More commonly available: Muscadet is available at most fine wine shops, and ask your local grocer for a good french butter – it likely comes from this region!

July 13th14th,15th and 16th: Southwestern France and The Pyrenees.
Southwestern France is a culinary mecca. It’s harsh country, with stunning mountains, remote villages, and epic roads for riding a bike. We’re showcasing this amazing part of the world with Camin Larreyda’s Jurancon Sec, a textbook example of some of the amazing wines made from hearty, indigenous grapes in the region. For cheese we’re highlighting a relatively new cheeses, Bleu de Basques from the Berria de Onetik coop. An 80-day aged blue from sheep’s milk, this has already won a gold medal from the French Concours General Agricole.

More commonly available: While wines from this region often take a hunt, it’s well worth it. Look for Petit Basque or other more commonly available sheep’s milk cheeses from this region at your local specialty grocer.

July 17th, 18th and 19th: The Massif-Central.
This region in the center of France is often overlooked, but much like the Appalachian and smoky mountains of the east coast, it is a stunning, rough-and-tumble part of the country, with incredible resources. On the western side lies Cahors, the homeland of Malbec, and we will taste one of the finest from Chaeau la Caminade. The Auvergne region is known for its cheese, and one of the best, Puits d’Astier from Rudolphe le Muenier, is headed our way. Donut shaped and aged on a bed of hay, the Puits d’Astier is an exceptionally special treat.

More commonly available: Cahors is a region most wine shops will be familiar with, and Bleu d’Auvergne is a delicious and widely available example of cheese from this area.

July 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd: The Rhone-Alps.
As the race heads down the Rhone and into Provence it’s hard not to think of rosé. We’re showcasing one of our favorites, the “Premiere” from Saint Andre de Figuiere. Largely Mourvedre, this powerfully structured Provencal rose is a favorite of ours at Cured and tailor-made for cheese. Interestingly enough, most of the exceptional cheese made in Provence is consumed there and what we get from the region here in America is less than exciting. As such, we’ve chosen to highlight a cheese made in Oregon, but inspired by Provence: Rivers Edge Chevre’s Siltcoos. An ash ripened round with fern leaves on top, Siltcoos is one of the finest goat’s milk cheeses in the world.

More commonly available: Ask for french rose, and there’s a good chance it’s from this part of the country. We encourage you to ask your cheese monger for a great american example of lightly ripened goat’s milk to try.

July 24th and 25th: The Alps
The classic picture of high alpine racing seems to always have a cow grazing in a perfect green pasture as the cyclists fly by. It seems that in the summer every nook and cranny of the alps is filled with animals heading to the high country in their annual transhumance and as cheese enthusiasts we’re all the luckier for it. We’ll be tasting Jeune Autize from Rodolphe le Meunier, a new French cheese from a legendary producer that is similar to Morbier but make from goat’s milk! The wines of the Alps are delicate, fresh, and elegant, and we’ll be enjoying a bottle of Eugene Carrel’s Jongieux Rouge, a Mondeuse based red that could be one of the best cheese pairing reds we’ve ever tasted.

More commonly available: While Savoie reds aren’t on shelves everywhere, do try and hunt one down! For cheese, try a Beaufort or Tomme de Savoie, both cheeses available in most markets.

And Sunday July 26th: PARIS!
There are few pairings more celebratory than Brie and Bubbles, and we’re picking two of the finest to cap off our culinary tour de force. Fougerus is named for the fern that graces the top of this gorgeous cheese from just south of Paris. Champagne Moutard is a small, family-owned bubbles house and their Grande Cuvee, 100% Pinot Noir, could not be a more perfect close to our three week adventure.

More commonly available: For Brie and Champagne, you can find an example of each almost anywhere!

The Cured de France is $40 a stage, with shipping available for the full tour in 3 bundles for $90 within Colorado.

For more information about the Cured de France, please contact Douglas Brown, 303-241-0141, doug@brunoredstar, visit or call the store, (720) 389-8096.

Article was submitted by Douglas Brown or Bruno RedStar |


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