Brittany, a breath of fresh air

Breton specialties: varied and... very buttery!

Innovative and authentic, Brittany’s gastronomy is certainly one of the best in France, alongside Paris and Lyon, and is second to host the most of the starred chefs in France.

Enjoying Brittany’s delightful food after your game is certainly a thrill. With sensational seafood, tender and succulent meat, locally grown veg and delicious cheeses and desserts –all accompanied with either cider or beer – meals are part and parcel of the game itself.

Although Brittany is bursting with all sorts of fabulous fayre, it’s probably best known for its delicious and fresh seafood. Fish and shellfish are commonly found across the region making the ports great, bustling places to visit. To accompany such excellent ingredients, many of Brittany’s chefs also have meltingly wonderful sea views to offer you at their restaurants. With every type of shellfish from lobster and langoustine to shrimps and scallops, a common feature on menus, it’s hard to choose – so why not go for the great seafood platter? Don’t forget to taste the oysters!

As for meat, key to French gastronomy, there’s wonderful lamb, some of the best pork in France – and obviously sausages – as well as duck, chicken, steak... The fertile countryside also produces delicious vegetables and Brittany also happens to be France’s number one producer of artichokes. The adventurous should try some fresh or pickled seaweed – it’s both tasty and very healthy.

Crêperies, serving delicious, thin Breton pancakes, are often charming, on the cheaper side, and easy options for children and vegetarians. The word galette most often applies to savoury pancakes, while the word crêpe indicates a sweet pancake, although it can be used for the savoury variety too. Of course, everybody is fond of the galette saucisse. Increasingly experimental fillings have appeared on crêperie menus, but in olden days a dash of butter was the best a child could hope for.

Also a great dairy area, Brittany produces a fifth of France’s milk and a third of its butter. Butter features large in the region’s cuisine. Breton beurre is highly regarded in the culinary world, and often comes flavoured with the local sea salt. Brittany’s very buttery biscuits and cakes are intense in flavour, from crunchy galettes (here, round biscuits), via slow-melting gâteau breton, to gooey kouign aman, the last dripping with butter, very popular in the region. In contrast, crêpes dentelles are the lightest of biscuits. Salted butter caramel goes well with every desert, like crêpes or with a fine apple tart served with a dollop of artisanal ice cream.

Although Muscadet is produced in the south, Brittany is particularly renowned for producing excellent cider and beer. Pear cider is also popular as is cider brandy. Brewed with malted barley and flavoured with various plants and a little honey, Cervoise Lancelot beer is outstanding, especially after a round of golf!

Where to find Breton specialties

  • La Trinitaine: these cookie makers have set up shop in some forty locations along the Atlantic coast.
  • Conserverie La Belle-Iloise: follow the fish and fish-based soup canning process at this small family factory.