Posts Tagged ‘cake’

Tea de France

July 4, 2012

Tea and cake: they go together like helmet and head, or spoke and nipple. It is cycling’s perennial double-act of refreshment and sustenance. Yet many cyclepeople consider cake to be the star rider and tea the humble domestique. Well, not in our gaff, buster.

My romantical partner Littlejen is Queen Tea. A Zimbabwean by birth, she settled in this country partly because of its love of the old Rosy Lee. So when it came to choosing a hotel for our recent trip to Paris, we were pleased to stumble upon one that specialised in teas from around the world. You could say we were – yes! – absolutely tea-lighted.

And now we can share that delight with you, valued readers, because Jen has purchased a selection of the teas offered to us on our trip to the French capital. They’re all from a French company called Le Palais Des Thés, and co-incidentally there’s a bike race on across the channel at the moment. So naturally I thought, why don’t we sup a different brew for each of the six weekend stages of that famous bicycle race, then express our opinions about them? We could call it Drinking Teas From France While Watching Men Racing On Bicycles In That Same Country. Then I though, no, let’s call it Tea de France instead. Come with us now as I reveal what happened, tea-wise, at the opening weekend.

Prologue, Saturday 30 June
Liège-Liège, 6.4km
Winner: Fabian Cancellara
Brew: Thé des Amants
They say: “Rich and sensual, Thé des Amants is a heady, fragrant blend of black tea, apple, almond, cinnamon and vanilla, spiced up with a hint of ginger.”
We say: You’ve been waiting 49 weeks for the Tour to roll around again – so there ain’t no way you’re not going to enjoy the prologue. Similarly, I reckon it’s impossible to dislike this light, buoyant tea. Ah, cinnamon – lovely cinnamon: the giddy fragrance of joy. Just sniffing the pot will put a smile on your face, and days later I can still recall the breezy taste. The only possible downside of this brew is that, like a GC contender with a series of early-season victories, the trajectory of our tea odyssey – or ody-tea – may have peaked too soon…

Stage 1, Sunday 1 July
Liège-Seraing, 198km
Winner: Peter Sagan
Brew: Thé des Fakirs
They say: “A tasty, scented blend of green tea and spices (cardamom, clove) with a hint of citrus fruit. Delicious served either hot or iced.”
We say: Sagan, the steely Slovak sprint sensation, locked onto the wheel of good-natured time trial legend Fabian Cancellara within sight of the finishing line – and this tea is also very much a coupling of two distinct halves. The green tea dwells stolidly on the bottom of the palate while the fruity bits sit lightly on top. Pleasant, but nothing to delight or amuse. Also, it looks a bit stew-like in the pot.

So that was the Prologue and the first stage. Who knows what teas we’ll be downing this weekend? Well, I know, obviously, and so does Jen. You’ll just have to pop back soon to find out…

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The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #15

September 2, 2011

5 UP Scarborough
Readers of the Scarborough Evening News are revolting. Through the medium of the paper’s website, a handful of scathing Scarborians have made it perfectly clear that they do not want to see Cannon and Ball or any other light entertainment act of yesteryear playing at a local venue called, apparently without irony, the Futurist. But, you may be thinking, the stars of “video best seller” Boys In Blue are surely the best entertainment that a northern seaside town can attract these days. Or maybe not – for if you look into the distance, you will see a colourful, 396-legged beast approaching the seafront. Yes, chums, the Tour de France, the actual Grahnd Boo-cull itself, is coming to sunny Scarborough! In 2016! Well, that’s the idea anyway, and apparently Mark Cavendish has backed the plan. The Manxman will no doubt be touched by one reader’s concern for the riders’ well-being: apparently “the thought of how much damage the cobbles on the Marine Drive could do the cyclists’ delicate bottoms is best not dwelt on”. Ouch.

4 UP (not literally, of course) Peta Todd’s bum
Dwelling for a moment longer on the delightful topic of rear ends, Cav was quick to point out on Tuesday that his pin-up girlfriend Peta Todd was unhappy that he tweeted a picture of her bending over in a pair of shorts. In these sorts of situations, the fella involved usually realises his error and swiftly deletes the offending photo – but it’s been up for three days now, so maybe she wasn’t that angry after all. The DYNAMITE! Files recommends having a butcher’s at the pic – purely, of course, to judge for yourself whether it’s a bit pervy or not. And if you decide it’s the former, we hope you are thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

3 DOWN Ghulam Murtza
Ugly scenes below the line of the Telegraph and Daily Mail websites, where the “haven’t-the-police-got-anything-better-to-do” brigade slugged it out with the “law-is-the-law” mob following the unusual case of 26-year-old Ghulam Murtza. The taxi driver was fined £100 for transporting his two-year-old son Armaan on his mountain bike, which seemed unfair as the two-year-old was in a safety-approved child seat, albeit secured with additional duct tape which may have made the contraption look a bit Heath Robinson. In the words of the East Staffordshire police, was he simply “well-meaning but misguided”? Maybe. But one thing’s for sure: if you’re going to pose for a photo to show that your son is perfectly safe, it’s not a great idea to have his helmet on back-to-front, loosely secured and at a slightly wonky angle…

2 UP Bikes with guns
What did the prognosti-
cators of 1910 think our modes of conveyance would be in the year 2000? According to an intriguing set of drawings which The DYNAMITE! Files stumbled upon this week, the answer is electric skates, aerial boats lifted by twin balloons, and trains that look a bit like houses. Sadly, to judge by its omission, the humble bicycle will have died out, although there would have been motorbikes with machine guns, which would’ve made the daily commute more interesting. Particularly if you were cut up by a heavily-armed car.

1 DOWN Bangers
Be honest: you love a good sausage now and again. Not even the image of Christine Hamilton sticking one in her gob can put you off. But apparently the traditional banger would be one of the gastronomic pleasures denied to you if you practise the trade of a professional cyclist in Italy, because strict Italian team bosses really do take the biscuit, as well as the jam tart, the chocolate chip cookies and the cake supplies, and then lock them all in a big cupboard marked “NO FUN”. In a remarkably candid entry in his Velonation blog, Ben Greenwood revealed on Monday that the Italian team he rode for in 2007 made him disturbingly weight-obsessed, and the regime of constant dieting, like all authoritarian regimes, ultimately became a farcical game of cat-and-mouse. “One time,” recalls the Rapha Condor Sharp rider, “the woman who cooked for us did us sausages as a treat. During dinner the [team] president arrived, so our cook shouted at us to hide the sausages quick before he saw them.” Which must surely count as the most literal and least enjoyable game of “hide the sausage” ever played.