Dear French Market Shoppers,
It is the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour (the official name is getting longer and longer) this weekend and the City is literally buzzing with activity as we get ready for 35,000 cyclists taking part in the largest individually timed race in the world. Already we are well into “Cycle TourWeek” and the Expo opened this morning. The benefit is enormous for our city, apart from the large amount of money spent on hotels and restaurants by these visitors and their families, my Rotary International organisation is the beneficiary of a large amount of funding which goes into community projects.
I have a special duty at this year’s finish as I shall be handing over the Alain Huchon floating trophy to the fastest international, non-professional cyclist. I conceptualised the trophy with the agreement of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust who own the event, in memory of my late partner and his contribution to this event as a Trustee. The trophy was designed for me by John Klynsmith. The Penny farthing cycle is made out of solid silver with over 50 handmade pieces. It is mounted on a piece of ironwood, a wood which is unique to Africa. The plinth is made from a piece of African Mahogany driftwood which was originally part of an 80 year old harbour bollard. There are 2 silver plaques on either end of the plinth which read as follows:
Plaque about Alain on one end of the trophy reads “Alain Huchon, Knight of the French National Order of Merit and Paul Harris Fellow; dedicated much of his life to community service through his voluntary work as a Trustee of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, President of the Rotary Club of Claremont and President of the World Council of Young Mens’ Service Clubs”
Plaque about the Penny-Farthing on the other end of the trophy reads “Penny Farthing history: In 1869 Frenchman Eugene Meyer patented an individually adjustable wire-spoke tension wheel for his classic high-wheel bicycle design. Englishman James Starley added the tangent spokes for his Ariel bicycle. Its popularity coincided with the birth of cycling as a sport.The nickname comes from a large and small British coin.”
I believe this unique trophy will attract more international cyclists to compete in the Cycle Tour and will give recognition to Alain’s contribution to the event and keep his name alive every year that the trophy is awarded.
For my recipe this week I wanted to find something that could be useful for all those carbo loading cyclists. Galettes d’Avoine, Oatcakes, are a really good source of energy and easy to make and apparently oats can help reduce cholesterol. Oatcakes are also good as a replacement for bread with cheese. I tried to find a French connection to give me a reason for making them my recipe of the week for the cyclists but to no avail, they are definitely of Scottish origin. In the 14th century during long marches, Scottish soldiers would mix some oatmeal with a bit of fat and water and cook these little cakes on their shields over a fire. So to add a French connection I baked some and added Petit Suisse (fresh cream cheese) on top, plus various decorations such as recently harvested green grapes and anchovies. I also baked some with grated, 24 months old parmigiano reggiano, these can be packed and taken in a back pocket on the Cycle Tour to eat as a snack. See my recipes page for full details.
For all of you who will be cycling I can recommend that you also put a couple of tubes of Crème de Marron in your back pocket to give you energy during the race, this is what the French cyclists do as the mixture is made of ground cooked chestnuts, vanilla and sugar. I have stocked up with them at the shop.
For those of you who will be entertaining friends over this weekend, an easy picnic can be made with some of my delicious pate that has just arrived from Paris this morning and a French cheese board. I also received a large Rosette de Lyon today. The difference between this French salami and Italian salami is the subtle taste of spices such as nutmeg and peppers that you find in the French cured meats.
I wish all you cyclist out there a safe and enjoyable race. I look forward to seeing you again soon.