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.

Tums, anyone?

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9 Comments on “Bon Appétit, Bretagne!”

  1. Barry Twyman Says:

    Wonderful colours and descriptions Abra . Take it easy on the colesterol though !
    Bonne voyages


  2. Ciao Abra…seems like a wonderful trip! The photos from yesterday are simply stunning.
    When you get back home and have some time, I’m doing a little experiment. I’m curious what you can buy at your local market for 10 euros. E-mail when you get back if you want to play along with the experiment. And there are no calories or cholesterol when you are on vacation!
    Judith

  3. Ray Says:

    HI..the Kig Ha Farz looks SO tempting….how does it compare/contrast to Alsatian Choucroute? I’ve never been to Bretagne but have entertained the idea for many years…..so far the food you’ve tried looks very, very interesting and Bretagne is beckoning me……let’s hear/see more! THANKS!

  4. Abra Bennett Says:

    Judith – sounds fun, will do!

    Ray – it’s more of a pot au feu, since the cabbage is fresh, as opposed to being pickled in a choucroute. It’s the buckwheat dumpling that really makes it unique

  5. Ray Says:

    Thanks Abra…if you can muster up a recipe for it…YUMMY~

  6. samantha Says:

    Did you know “kig ha farz” means simply “dough and bread”? And I have been to that portugese restaurant several times – their food is delicious! If you ever go back, my favorite restaurant is located just a few doors down the street though – “Le Gavroche”.

  7. Abra Bennett Says:

    Ray, David Lebovitz has a recipe for the buckwheat dumpling part of kig ha farz on his site, but we could Google for the complete dish.

    Too funny, Samantha, since we had reservations at La Gavroche but were seduced by the Portuguese aromas emanating from Le Salgado on the way past.

  8. samantha Says:

    What a funny coincidence! If you go back, you really should try the Gavroche though – the owners are absolutely lovely and the food is delicious and so reasonable (14€ for three copious courses). And who doesn’t love a restaurant that gives you a free shot of their homemade banana/vanilla rum digestif at the end of the meal?!?

  9. Nico Says:

    Have you tried the “andouille de Vire” from Normandy? Even better than the Guemené one.


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