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Tag Archives: marches

Brittany……the Wild West of France

After several days in Paris we took the fast TGV train to Brest, a city near the far west coast of France. It was a 3 hour luxurious ride in a smooth running train that sped up to 120 mph!

In Brest we took a cab to the airport and picked up our rental car, a Renault Kadjar. We rented through the Renault Euro Drive program which is much less expensive than your typical rentals and they provide a brand new reliable car! This was our vehicle for the next 7 weeks.

We spent 5 days in Lanildut, a coastal town where fishing and seaweed harvesting are prolific. The walks along the rugged coastline and drives to other coastal towns were thrilling.

Here’s a photo of our Homeaway rental in Lanildut. The style and size is typical Breton, but it’s new, built in the 1970s.

It had a charming artistic decor

Here’s a view of the sea

Notice the seaweed and the low tide. The seaweed is harvested in this area and used in food products and in the health and beauty products.

La Pointe Saint-Mathieu is an eerie open air abbey ruin on the coast

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Beautiful stone homes like these

The prehistoric menhirs and dolmen are found throughout the area

Lanildut has beautiful walking paths

Coastal views at low tide

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I’ll start with crepes. They are popular in Brittany and Normandy. You’ll find people making crepes at the markets and in cafes. They stack them up and the locals buy them by the bunch at the markets. You’ll even see them factory made wrapped in plastic in the grocery stores.

The light brown colored buckwheat crepe is served with savory foods and the light flour crepes are for dessert fillings. People buy a crepe at the market with a bit of filling in it, wrapped in paper, and walk around the market. Even in the cold and blowing rain, they walk and eat their crepes, usually filled with a little butter and sugar or Nutella. Or plain, as you like!

At a cafe this buckwheat crepe filled with a little cheese is folded into a square and placed over plain lettuce. Voila!

Boulangeries and patisseries are in every little town in Brittany. This is France though it has a British feel. A favorite Breton pastry is called Far Breton. It is similar to flan, but does not have a pastry crust. It’s also very similar to a Scandinavian breakfast food called Aggkaka. Far is made of a batter of eggs, milk, flour and a little bit of sugar, as is Aggkaka. The difference is Far batter is refrigerated a few hours. Then it is poured into a baking pan, baked, cooled and cut in squares. Sometimes prunes, raisins or apples are added to the batter.

Here is the traditional Far Breton with prunes. This one is very thick and high

Here’s other Fars that aren’t as thick, which we saw more often. Notice the different sizes of the whole Fars which are baked in different sizes of baking pans.

This Far Breton has apples

Another pastry popular in Brittany is Gateau Breton. It’s very rich and made with lots of butter. Breizh means Breton or Brittany or Bretagne. This region has Celtic roots and uses the Celtic language.

The cake above and below is the Breton cake that is made with butter and lots of sugar. It’s very rich and crispy.

Other pastries in Brittany you also find all over France. Such as the almond croissant and the raisin swirled pastry below

Here is a view of some of the other fancy pastries in the shops

One of our favorite lunches was the pizza like squares at the patisserie

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The farm market in St-Renen offered many food options including takeaway prepared foods. Here we bought escargot that were farm raised and prepared with a butter garlic mixture, placed back in each shell ready to heat in our oven at home

This vendor roasted potatoes over a wood fire and then added a variety of different toppings all layered over cream, ready to heat up at home

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Big trays of potato gratin were popular. You could buy any amount. All had cheese and cream. Some also added ham

Fish and shell fish of course. Crabs and oysters too!

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The fresh produce was colorful! The French most all have leeks in their baskets. Turnips and celery root are common purchases too!

We had some surprises when dining out on the west coast of Brittany. An Irish pub recommended for it’s delish fish and chips also served wonderful scallops with squid ink risotto! Another restaurant added seaweed to its bread and creme brûlée! That was shocking!

Fried fish and French fries

Scallops and squid ink risotto in a cream sauce

We were introduced to goats milk and yogurt! They are delicious! A bit more of a tang than cows milk and yogurt

The landscape of the farmland is dramatic. The roads are lined with plant material covered fences. The old stone fences are not even seen through the thick plants, shrubs and trees.

On March 16, 1978 The Amoco Cadiz ran aground on Portsall Rocks 5 km from the coast of Brittany. The Lanildut community was remembering this 40 year anniversary by watching a documentary. The ship split in 3 and spilled 68 million gallons of oil along 240 miles of Brittany’s coast. The coastline is beautiful today and it has been a pleasure spending time here in Lanildut.

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What’s to Eat in Provence?

  

The super sweet strawberries of Provence are in season in April.

  
I bought these at a road side stand, but the Marches or farm markets have them too

The Marches are in all the villages. There is a regular schedule and are well attended. The more popular have a waiting line to the entrance before they open

   
Love these long radishes

 

Many colors of these curvy tomatoes

 
Lots of varieties of lettuce

 

This fat asparagus was in season along with the thinner and even thinner varieties. The white asparagus needs to be peeled first and then simmered 30 minutes. Yummy!

  

This is delish cows milk cheese was one of hundreds sold in France.

   

 

Cured meats sold at the marches.

  

  
Dave enjoys foie gras. It is a controversial food because it is goose liver made by force feeding the geese using funnels. This makes the liver very large. It’s an old tradition.

   
Rotisserie chickens are popular at the marches. Get there early for the free range chickens. They are larger and much more tasty!

  

The smaller chickens are called blanc poulets or white chickens. They never see the light of day. The tiny birds are quail.

 

This is our 1/2 free range chicken we ate for 2 dinners

   
More prepared foods from the marches! Paella and Fish in Cream Sauce 

  

Fried chicken in a paella pan

 

Andalusian style seafood paella. All these foods are cooked right on the spot!

  
A trio of tapenades from the farm market: black olive, green olive and paprika with tomato.

   Grocery store delis have great salads. Here is a calamari with tomato, octopus with tiny onions, roasted red pepper and olives, and a roasted tomato and red pepper salad. The black oil – cured olives are flavored here with herbs of Provence.

 Quiche Lorraine has bacon. The other is spinach and goat cheese

  
What is better than a French chocolate croissant? A chocolate almond paste croissant or a chocolate raisin croissant!

   
Lunch in France is decadent! Here is the most tender smoked salmon, mussels with butter parsley sauce, tiny squid salad, brandada ( a cod mashed with potato and cream ), a diced raw tuna salad! Voila!

  
Dave loved this  grilled ground beef with thick bacon, fried egg and French fries.

  

Eggs and omelettes are classic French. This is a simple grated mild cheese and chopped ham.

 

Classic Nicoise Salad with tuna, eggs and olives

   
This was a first course. Chopped salmon salad with a slice of salmon on top. 

 Pork in a rich sauce with potatoes.

 

This was a dessert. Cheese with a beet purée!

   
My favorite lunch! Poached turbot with   a cream butter sauce and poached veggies.

  

A vegetarian platter of braised endive, a vegetable tart, phyllo wrapped around apple and radish leaf soup!

 

Moussaka without pasta and made with lamb and tomato.

   
Crepes are sweet and galettes are savory and made with buckwheat.  This one is tomato and goat cheese with ham.

  

Galette Provençal with chicken, eggplant, mushroom and red pepper.

 

Our farm house rental had a grill for us to grill beef kabobs and a huge calamari!

   
Raspberry tart 

  

A beautiful  light mousse filled with cake and topped with an exotic fruit and it’s petals called a ground cherry or husk tomato.

   

Looks like a Chinese lantern!

Love sharing our foodie adventures with you!