Bon Appétit, Bretagne!
Bretagne is the land of plenty, seafood-wise. Just take this plate. In addition to the whole crab, the oysters, the langoustines, the bigorneaux snails and the shrimp, under this pile of treats, undiscovered by the camera, lies a heap of the larger snails called bulots, and clams. And this was served to me and me alone, as a main course, although I must say that I’ve had amost as much set in front of me as an entrée, just to whet my appetite before some soon-to-be-unappreciated main course.
But all of the Big Food doesn’t come from the ocean. Having heard people rhapsodize about what some describe as the Breton national dish, kig ha farz, I just had to give it a try. With Shel as my partner in gluttony, we dined tonight in Quimper on this stupefying dish.
It all started innocently enough with a huge bowl of the broth that the rest of the dish, a variant of pot au feu, was cooked in.
Then things got out of hand when we were offered pork shanks, beef slices, pork belly, cabbage, carrots, sweetened semolina dumpling, buckwheat crumbles, and a sauce of onions and butter
on a huge family-sized platter. Actually, this is what remained on the platter after we were too stuffed to take another bite. Impressive, non? The fact that I got locked in the restaurant bathroom after dinner seemed only fitting punishment for my over-ingestion.
On a more reasonable scale, for lunch one day in Auray, the best galette of my life to date, made with andouille de Guéméné, cheese, apples, and mustard. Pig intestine sausage buckwheat pancake may not sound that appealing in English, but believe me, if you’re ever offered one, take it quick. It’s a funky and heavenly combination and I’d happily have another one right this minute, if I weren’t still in a kig ha farz coma.
Or, take this luscious Portuguese salt cod and mushrooms with a port and cream sauce that I had in Vannes, while Shel had
the Portuguese version of steak, ham, and eggs
and we shared a creamy and delicate dessert. But please, don’t get the idea that all we’re doing is eating. There’s also drinking!
The hauntingly delicious Breton honey aperitif called chouchen,
and the ubiquitous and curiously versatile cider, which seems to go with just about everything.