Bike. Cook. Eat. Sleep. Provence.

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Every year Jody participates in a cooking-cycling tour.  People like traveling with what Jody jokingly refers to as a “GCC,” that is, a “genuine celebrity chef.”  Over the course of 5 – 7 days people bike, visit local restaurants, vineyards and artisan producers of local products, and help prepare a multi-course meal based on the local cuisine with lots of instruction and guidance from Jody.  Accommodations are typically cushy.  The biking ability of participants ranges from novice to expert and everybody has a great time.  People abandon any inclination to count calories (and why would you?) after they experience a day of pedaling about the countryside.  Most people return to the US with at least one new discovery–a technique or taste sensation.  The top contenders on this trip were peeled tomatoes and rabbit.   My own favorite was rouget, small red fish from the Mediterranean, undoubtedly delicious in lots of ways, but I can personally vouch for them sautéed in butter with a little lemon and parsley.  Runner up was smoked cod roe, which I’d never even heard of before this trip–creamy, rich, unbelievably good when spread on a fresh baguette.

Bicycle Spring Rolls

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There comes a time when every cyclist reaches into a jersey back pocket, extracts a pro-biotic hyper-nutrient choco-green exfoliant chia protein bar and instead of ripping away the wrapping like the savage carbo-craving road shark she is, she freezes.  Tongue, stomach and heart revolt.  A chilly voice in her head announces the rebel demands: We don’t want to eat an energy bar.  Ever.  Again.  Last year, reflecting on the long PanMass Challenge ride she’d just finished, Jody said to me, “I am sick of f_______ energy bars!  I can’t stand it!  Next year I’m going to make my own.”  Fortunately, she reconsidered.  And that’s why you’re being treated to Bicycling Spring Rolls this week.

You say Apulia, I say Puglia.

Jody is still in Europe, hobnobbing with her fellow wizards, while I’m back home, working on my fourth expresso of the morning since my circadian clock stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that I’m no longer in the Mezzogiorno, the land that W. H. Auden aptly dubbed the sunburnt otherwhere.  I thought I’d post a few pictures of our trip (Wait!  Come back!) and offer a few observations about Puglia, food and biking.