Oysters, mackerel, pancakes and salted butter… Brittany is a veritable foodie paradise, and just a hop across the Channel with Brittany Ferries.
Crêpes & galettes
Traditional Breton cooking is simple and wholesome and the humble pancake is another speciality here – but do you know the difference? A crêpe is the popular thin, sweet pancake while a galette, made with buckwheat flour, is usually eaten savoury with ham or eggs. To be sure you’re tasting the best, choose a restaurant with the official ‘Crêpes Gourmandes’ label.
For a true Breton experience, learn how to cook perfect Breton crêpes in Bénodet. Or head to Rennes’ Festival Gourmand (September 2018) – producers, ingredients and the skill of chefs take pride of place at this annual festival coinciding with France's national week celebrating its culinary heritage. Rennes’ renowned covered market is the perfect backdrop as eager crowds lap up contests, cooking demonstrations, lectures, tastings and all manner of things celebrating the food culture of the region and the country.
Oysters from Cancale
Seafood lovers are spoilt for choice in Brittany – in fact, its 2,800km of coastline accounts for almost 80% of France’s total seafood production, which you can buy straight from the fishing boats in some small harbours. The local oysters (rock or flat) are delicious and widely farmed, with those from Cancale near St-Malo considered the best. They can be eaten all year round but are at their best between September and April. Enjoy them with bread, salted butter and a spritz of lemon and red wine vinegar. Délicieux…
Breton cider has apples at its very core: no concentrates, compromises or preservatives are used, just 100% natural, freshly pressed apple juice which gives it its characteristic light sparkle and rich, deep apple flavour. Apples in Brittany are unique, grown specifically for cider in the perfect climate by passionate farmers, and retaining the flavours of the soil, sun, sea and spirit of the Breton coast.
Fancy an autumn tasting? The Gorvello Distillery produces aperitifs and brandies distilled by artisanal methods with its own still and in oak barrels, thanks to its processing workshop. Totally converted to an environmentally friendly crop, this family farm encourages the natural pollination of its 18 hectares of orchard with a dozen beehives permanently installed in Gorvello. Another organic producer, the Gulf Cidrerie in Arradon, harvests its five apple varieties by hand. The family-run Cidrerie Nicol in Surzur, gateway to the Rhuys Peninsula and the Gulf of Morbihan, it produces unpasteurised artisan apple juice using traditional methods – while the Cidrerie des Terroirs in Colpo produces the only French cider to bear the prestigious ‘Label Rouge’. Enjoy!
Simple but indulgent… most Breton cuisine revolves around this prized ingredient, flavoured with the salt harvested from the region’s marshlands. The finest is undoubtedly Fleur de Sel de Guérande, delicately harvested by hand; once you’ve tasted it, you’ll be reluctant to go back to using ordinary table salt ever again. Salted butter caramels(caramels au beurre salé) are one of Brittany’s most mouth-watering delicacies – don’t forget to take some home!
A type of rough pâté eaten all over France, this version made with mackerel caught off the Breton Coast is popular in the region as an aperitif served on small pieces of bread (tartines).
Get there with Brittany Ferries
The best way of exploring Brittany is in the comfort of your own car, packed with everything you need. With Brittany Ferries you can sail direct to Brittany from Portsmouth or Plymouth.
Plan your trip to Brittany with Brittany Ferries.