Food and Drink in Brittany – 2023
Brittany is a region with fine gourmet traditions with shellfish, or as the French call them “fruits de mer”, fruits of the sea…a favoured speciality.
Coastal fishing takes place all round the shores of the Brittany region, and each small harbour has its own fishing boats. Fishing ports such as Concarneau, in the Morbihan region, have boats specialising in crabs and lobsters, fished in the waters between the coast and the Glenan islands. Oysters are raised in oyster beds on much of the Breton coastline. The fishermen of Brest, Morlaix and the big fishing ports take their ships many hundreds of miles from the Breton shores, to bring back an array of Atlantic and northern fish; but in many places stock are becoming depleted, and strict quotas have left the Breton fishing fleets much smaller than they used to be. Nevertheless , popular shellfish still abound and include a range of mussels, winkles, scallops (Coquilles Saint Jacques), oysters and other mouth-watering delicacies which Breton restaurants can serve in a marvellous range of styles.
The nearest coastal area to Gites La Boudonniere specialising in shellfish produce is the world famous oyster centre and picturesque port of Cancale which is approx 25 minutes away. It is the oysters from Cancale that you will find served in many of the most popular and expensive restaurants in Paris yet these very same oysters can be purchased and enjoyed at a quarter of the price. Beautiful beaches, attractive harbour and fabulous restaurants make Cancale a must visit destination for all tourists. However, you will find that most restaurants in the Ille et Vilaine region and especially around the coastal areas offer a wide selection of quality fish and shellfish meals. Additionally there are many other pretty small ports and harbours within a short distance that you can choose to explore during your holiday. You may be surprised to learn that one of the dishes growing in popularity in Brittany is ‘fish and chips’ and there are many restaurants in the region now serving this dish.
Brittany has a strong agricultural tradition and is famous for its early vegetables and its salted butter. Other delicacies for which the region is famous include “crêpes” (pancakes) and ”galettes” [savoury pancakes] as well as a variety of Breton pastries, the most famous being the Breton butter cake or Kouign Amann . Unlike most regions of France, Brittany does not have a great tradition in cheese though a number of local cheeses are produced and these are often available in restaurants and good food stores. Brittany is however renowned for its butter.
Though Brittany is not renowned for it’s wines, you will find a wide variety of quality wines sourced from all areas of France in the many specialist wine shops located in the area. Cider is popular especially Breton and Norman versions. Craft local beers are becoming far more popular and are readily available.