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While on a bicycle tour last summer down the west coast, I made my favorite bicycle touring discovery: grilled bread. It might sound simple, but at the end of a long day in the saddle, a crunchy piece of bread dripping in olive oil and slightly charred is better than any meal at a fancy restaurant. The simplest rendition of this is just to grill a few pieces of bread and rub them down with a clove of garlic. Serve this at a campsite with fellow cyclists and you’ll easily make new friends.

But to take this up yet another notch, I use the same method to make grilled sandwiches.

This is a recipe that you can make at home after a ride or on a bicycle tour, and you are only limited by your creativity. In fact, this is less of a recipe and more of a guided description, which is how I think any bicycle adventure friendly recipe should be. No one’s out there with a cookery book strapped to their rack!

I like to think of this one in particular more as a formula. Most people might stop at bread and cheese, but with a couple of other additions you’ll make a grilled sandwich that’s sure to please even the most demanding of culinary cyclists. The trick is that in addition to the bread and cheese, you want both a sweet and a savory ingredient, as well as some herbs. On cycling trips, I like to snag fresh herbs at a store whenever possible, and if that doesn’t happen, I always have a few dried ones on hand in my spice kit.

I have suggested some pairings below. And not to worry, with a healthy amount of olive oil, even that loaf of bread that has sat in the pannier for a few days will work.

Grilled Sandwich Formula

2 slices of bread, fresh or not-so-fresh
Clove of garlic (optional)
Savory ingredient (like sundried tomatoes, mustard)
Sweet ingredient (like honey, jam, slice of apple)
An herb, fresh or dried
Olive oil

Suggested combinations:

Brie + sundried tomatoes + honey + basil
Goat cheese + sliced onions + fig jam + thyme
Cheddar + pear + mustard + dill

Prepared sandwiches
Finished sandwiches


Slice the bread. If you want a bit of a garlicky flavor, rub a fresh clove of garlic on both slices. On one slice of bread, layer the ingredients, beginning and ending with a layer of cheese (this ensures an equal melted consistency once you grill them).

Grilled Sandwiches Preparation

Grill the sandwiches in a pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil, keeping the heat as low as you can so as not to burn the sandwich. Flip and grill the other side until the bread has a nice dark, golden brown color and the cheese is melted.

Grilling the sandwiches
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About the Rider: Anna Brones
Anna Brones is an artist, writer and producer. She is the author of several books including The Culinary Cyclist, Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, and Hello, Bicycle. She's insistent that every bike ride should include good coffee and food.
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