Tour de France Takes a Culinary Turn for Jakarta Sports Fans and Foodies
Any true sports fan will tell you that in terms of food, the proper addition to any game is probably beer and, well, beer.
Regardless of whether fans are cheering from the sidelines or at home in front of their TV screens, chances are they have a cold can in hand and are ready to toast at a goal’s notice.
But the folks at Le Meridien Hotel in Jakarta are trying to change this casual culinary approach to sports for the Tour de France. Maybe it’s because a 23-day drinking binge is too much for even the most dedicated spectators. Or it could be that they’re French, and let’s face it, the French aren’t exactly known for keeping it casual, especially when it comes to food.
Whatever the reason may be, your stomach should be thanking you, because this month you can eat your way through France’s annual cycling race, right here in Jakarta.
“Le Meridien wants to bring the journey of the Tour de France by following the culinary journey at La Brasserie restaurant,” said Arie Ardianti, a spokeswoman for the hotel.
“When a racer goes to each region or stage, we will present the authentic specialty dishes of that region.”
For a little more than three weeks, the four-star hotel is hosting the Tour de France Culinaire, where diners can choose from a buffet of Belgian and French dishes that correspond to the location of the cycling competitors.
Both the race and the event kicked off on Saturday. As cyclists were making their final preparations some 11,000 kilometers away, waitresses specially dressed in red, white and blue put the finishing touches on tables throughout the dining area.
The French ambassador to Indonesia, H.E. Bertrand Lortholary, who was in attendance to open the event, beamed with pride as he discussed the race.
“The Tour de France will give France another opportunity to shine all over the world in July, especially in Indonesia,” the ambassador said.
Although the food festival is mainly French, the third annual event actually started with Belgian flair because the race opened in the eastern city of Liege. While French staples such as onion soup and Opera pastries were available, Belgian options were featured as well, including the regional cheese Hevre and the waffles for which the country is famous.
The third annual event took about two months to prepare because many ingredients had to be gathered and flown in from all around France. Such extensive planning was necessary, however, because when it comes to food, the French tend to be perfectionists, Lortholary said.
“Gastronomy is so much a part of French culture, and it’s recognized all over the world as one of the most iconic symbols of France,” he said, adding that several regional cuisines have been added to Unesco’s World Heritage List.
As the competitors head south, diners will too. The French brunch, which will be updated daily, is available until July 17 and costs Rp 210,000 ($22), or Rp 295,000 with a glass of French wine.