Pear Blue Cheese and Watercress Salad – Cycling Picnic Recipes
My summer of work as a cycling guide in France is about to begin. After a long English winter, in the coming weeks I will pack up my home in Tooting and head to Burgundy in my van where I will spend the summer leading gastronomic cycling holidays for DuVine Adventures.
On any Hungry Cyclist led cycling holiday excellent food is guaranteed. Whether you are dinning in Michelin starred restaurants, tasting cheese and truffles at a a local market or eating amongst the locals in a popular café, I make sure my clients get to enjoy the very best cuisine the region they are cycling in has to offer.
Oysters and Guinness at Ballynahinch Castle on the West Coast of Ireland; Seared fois gras at Loiseau des Vignes in Beaune and grilled octopus on the islands of Croatia ensure that previous clinets all rave about the quality of restaurants we hand-pick for every tour, but time and time again it’s the gourmet picnics pi prepare that are the highlight of our clients trips. After all what could be better than eating the best local delicacies ‘al fresco’ in some of Europe’s most beautiful landscape?
Whether you are kicking back in a shady glade amongst the vines of Burgundy; eating in the grounds of a historic castle in The Loire Valley or chilling out on the banks of the Gironde river in Bordeaux, I like to ‘pique nique’ in style.
and with an extensive knowledge of regional cuisine, and as a keen cook I try and source the very best ingredients from local markets and artisan producers to make sure my clients get a truly authentic taste of the region they are in.
Local cheeses, fresh charcuterie, fresh breads, healthy salads are all paired with the best wines from the region we are in. Goats cheese and fresh asparagus are a must-have in the Loire valley. Tapenade and olives are a staple in Provence, and a gooey Epoise is never far away in Burgundy. Working up a healthy appetite on a bicycle, before taking time out to enjoy the best local produce in a natural and peaceful environment is what my gourmet picnics are all about. To get me in the mood for my first DuVine Picnic of the year here is a recipe that went down a treat last year.
I first prepared this recipe on the banks for the Gironde River in Bordeaux. An ideal setting the I keep the flies away with zip loc bags and kept the salad cool by keeping the air con on. The battery died in the van but a spirited French pensionier, to whom I am eternally grateful,came to my rescue. A refreshing salad is always well received after a warm morning of cycling and this is one of my favourites. Very quick and simple to prep it combines sweet and juicy pears with peppery watercress as well as a salty hit from blue cheese. Bon Appetite!
Pear Blue Cheese and Watercress Salad
This is a recipe I first prepared on the banks of the Gironde River in Bordeaux. A refreshing salad is always well received after a warm morning of cycling, and this is one of my favourites. Very quick and simple to prep, it combines sweet and juicy pears with peppery watercress, as well as a salty hit from blue cheese. Bon appetite!
- • juice of one lemon
- • a healthy glug of extra-virgin olive oil
- • a pinch of salt
- • 1 tbs of wild honey
- • ground black pepper
- • 2 ripe Comice pears – be careful not to bruise
- • 1 bag of watercress, rinsed, washed, and dried
- • 100 g of Bleu d’Auvergne
- • a small handful of walnuts, loosely broken
1 . In a bowl whisk the lemon juice and the olive oil with a fork until emulsified. Add the honey, salt, and pepper and stir a little more.
2 . Peel, halve, and core the pear and slice into thin wedges.
3 . Lay the watercress into your serving bowl. Add the sliced pears and then pour over the dressing. Mix through.
4 . Crumble the blue cheese over the salad along with the walnuts and serve.