Classic Meals from Brittany: A Rich Tradition



'Gwenn Ha Du' - Modern flag of Brittany

La Bretagne (Brittany) – or Breizh in Breton – is an important region in the northwest of France with a very distinct personality, this in great part due to its complex and old history harking back to the Celts. The walled city of Saint Malo, the Mont Saint Michel, and the city of Quimper are just a few examples of the rich cultural palette present in Brittany.

In terms of food, there is also a great variety of regional specialties. Below are some of the most famous, including rich and delicious recipes:

Artichauts de Bretagne - Cotes d'Armor

– Les Artichauds de Bretagne (artichokes of Brittany), harvested from Mai to November are consummed mostly boiled or steamed, with a vinaigrettemayonnaise, or crème fraiche (sour cream).

– On the southern coast, the marshes of the town of Guérande are the epicenter of the fabled fleur de sel.  It is a hand-harvested sea salt collected from the top layer of salt evaporation ponds, therefore a precious commodity. Often slightly grey, Fleur de sel contain more mineral complexity than table salt.

– It could be argued that Brittany produces the best seafood in France. Les huîtres (oysters), especially from the town of Cancale are renowned beyond French borders.  Homards (lobsters), coquilles Saint Jacques (scallops) and langoustines (scampi) are other delicacies common in Brittany. But the popular classic remains the Moules Frites (Mussels & French fries).

Galette de blé noir

– Most people know about crêpes. But for connoisseurs, the galettes de blé noir. Here is a recipe from chef Paul Bocuse himself.

– Southern Finistère is the heart of Brittany’s cider-making region. Made from fermented apple juice, Cidre can be doux (sweet), demi-sec or brut (stronger in alcohol). It served in traditional ceramic bowls, to accompany many dishes, including galettes de blé noir.

– Kig ha Farz (literally ‘meat and dough’ in Breton) is a traditional cooked dish, similar to pot au feu consisting of various meats simmered in a broth with a buckwheat flour based pudding. Here is a recipe.

Far-Breton

 

– Two important cakes are Le Kouign Amann, a rich, sugary butter cake; and Le Far Breton, a flan-style eggs-and-milk custard with flour added. Prunes or raisins. Here is an easy recipe.