Autumn in Brittany is apple season
So you're planning a holiday to Brittany, but what foods should you look out for on your trip? Lovers of seafood are in their element, as almost all of Brittany is surrounded by water, and so much of the gastronomy here revolves around fresh seafood. Don't worry if you're not keen on food from the ocean, as there are plenty of other culinary delights to enjoy. Here are some of our favourites.
Wherever you are in Brittany, you'll see moules marinières on almost every restaurant menu. It's seen as an affordable dish, and is a delicious option whether you're stopping for a light lunch or as part of a three course dinner. You can find moules marinières across France, but Brittany's mussels are some of the freshest.
Moules marinières, a Brittany speciality.
Grown and harvested around the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, Breton mussels are especially tasty and are slightly smaller than mussels found elsewhere. They're cooked in a white wine sauce, with shallots and parsley, and often served with thin chips.
Brittany isn't known for its dairy, but a great accompaniment to any cheese platter, especially when enjoyed with some local cider, is the curé nantais cheese. With a history stretching back to the French revolution, enjoying the taste of curé nantais is a great way to experience French culture.
The cheese goes incredibly well with fish dishes, making it a popular cheese in Brittany, and it goes very well with slices of fresh apple or pear. As well as a smoky taste, the cheese has a sticky texture and a soft rind. Delicious.
Not to be confused with the other French speciality, the crêpe, galettes are a thicker pancake, made using buckwheat. A versatile dish, galettes can be enjoyed with eggs, tender meat, fish, or with fruit, but the most common Breton pancake is served with egg, ham and cheese, and enjoyed with a tall glass of regional cider.
Delicious kouign-amann pastries
If you've got more of a sweet tooth, look out for
kouign-amann , a sweet Breton cake which is made using bread dough, butter, and sugar. It's cooked until the dough puffs up and the sugar caramelises, creating a mouth-watering sugary crust.
In autumn, Brittany is a magical place to visit as you'll have the opportunity to go apple picking, and if you're there between September and December you can see how cidre bouché is made. It's said by many Bretons that cidre bouché is so fresh, it is still fermenting in the bottle. Whatever the case, we love the bubbly, fresh taste of this 100% apple juice cider.
Cidre Bouché, delicious and fresh during the autumn months.
You'll find hundreds of apple and cider farms dotted around Brittany, with many of them offering tours and tastings, such as the
Cidrerie de la Baie
farm in Planguenoual, northern Brittany. Pop by on your way along Brittany's coast and pick up some authentic, organic Breton cider.
Lotte à l'Armoricaine
One thing you'll notice in Brittany is the abundance of fresh food markets, from fruit and vegetables to fish and meats. This makes eating in Brittany a delight, as most of the food comes from the surrounding areas, when in season. This dish showcases some of the best local produce that Brittany has to offer, and boasts a rich, creamy sauce which is served over monkfish, and sometimes lobster.
The fish is coated in flour, pan-fried, then flambéed with cognac, before being added to a white wine and tomato sauce. Spices such as saffron and nutmeg are added to give the flavour depth, and to achieve the best results, the dish is cooked slowly over a low heat.
Andouille de Guémené
A type of sausage, Andouille de Guémené dates back to the 18th century, and has evolved with Breton cuisine over the years to suit new tastes. Made using the large intestines of pigs (chitterlings), this type of sausage is tied together and smoked, before being cooked in water.
Try some traditional saucissons from Brittany.
The sausage contains pork meat, onions, pepper, white wine and other herbs and spices, and can be enjoyed hot or cold as part of a meat and cheese platter. When you're ordering at a Breton restaurant, try having a small portion of Andouille de Guémené as a starter, and simply enjoy with some bread and wine, for an authentic taste of Brittany.
Got an appetite for travel?
If you're interested in travelling to Brittany, you'll be glad to know that it takes just 35 minutes to get from Folkestone to Calais with
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle
. After that, you can eat your way around this amazing region of France.
Autumn in Brittany is apple season by Flickr user Jennifer C.
Moules marinières by Flickr user Alex Brown
Cidre Bouché by Flickr user Kazuhiro Keino
Delicious kouign-amann pastries by Flickr Groume
traditional saucissons from Brittany by Flickr user Martin Burns