Dishes and delicacies not to miss in Brittany, Normandy and the Loire

0 comment

If you like good food that's full of fresh, natural tastes then try this list of delicious dishes and delicacies from our favourite regions of France...

Patés and seafood

Rillettes

Le Mans' speciality dish, rillettes are a thick paté-like paste usually served with crusty bread or toast. Made from pork that has been slow-cooked over a low heat until it shreds easily, the meat is then salted and mixed with the fat it was cooked in so that it creates a smooth paste.

Usually the mark of a good pot of rillettes is the smoothness of the texture but you might find some more rustic, coarser ones too. You'll also discover there are some regional variations - Tours and Anjou are known for their rillettes and there are other varieties using meats such as duck, and even fish.

Cancale oysters

The Breton seaside town of Cancale is renowned for its oysters - in fact, it produces over 15,000 tonnes of them every year! Farmed by individual farmers on huge oyster beds that you can see at low tide, the oysters grown in Cancale are some of the most famous gourmet produce from Brittany.

Let the natural flavours of the sea sing out by enjoying them simply with a squeeze of lemon. Head to the port area in Cancale where you'll find lots of wonderful restaurants serving the freshly-caught oysters as well as platters drowning in all kinds of seafood. Enjoy with a crisp Muscadet white wine from the area around Brittany's historic capital, Nantes.

Sardines

Concarneau, Quiberon and Dournanez are the places to go if you like sardines - and I don't mean your supermarket variety on toast! Tinned sardines go gourmet in Brittany with a huge selection of tastes that are a far cry from just tomato sauce with varieties of oils, herbs, peppers and spices just some of the flavours that you'll find in Brittany's speciality food shops.

Did you know that good tinned sardines actually have vintages as they get better with age? The best ones, from manufacturers such as La Quiberonnaise, will have already been aged for around a year when you buy them and the time allows the oils they are canned in soak into the fish.

Scallops

The best scallops in Brittany come from the bay of St Brieuc and you'll find them served in restaurants all along this section of the coast from Paimpol to Erquy. The traditional way of enjoying Brittany's scallops is soaked in a buttery cream sauce in a dish known as Coquille Saint Jacques.

Scallop dishes are all over the restaurant menus in Brittany so you're bound to find a new favourite recipe from the multitude of different dishes. You might even discover some in an omelette or on top of a galette!

Mains

Crêpes and galettes

A timeless classic that needs little introduction, Brittany's signature dish comes out of the many crêperies that line the streets of the region's towns and villages. Crêpes containing all kinds of sweet fillings from simple lemon juice and sugar, or chocolate spread, to concoctions filled with cream and fruit are what the area is known for.

But if you want to make a meal of it, start out with a breton galette, a buckwheat pancake with a savoury filling (not to be confused with the delicious buttery galette biscuits!). A galette complête is the traditional dish filled with ham, cheese and and an egg. Rennes also has the galette saucisse - a sausage wrapped in a galette and eaten like a hot dog.

Moules frites

This hugely popular dish, in Brittany and Normandy especially, is a simple but delicious main meal. Steamed mussels, usually cooked in white wine with shallots and known as moules marinières, are served with crispy fries for a filling and tasty meal that  you might even get the kids to try.

If you're looking for something a little more decadent, try your frites with mussels cooked à la normande - in a creamy sauce with a base of white wine or local cider. Sometimes known as à la creme, this dish is one for those who like their seafood dishes a little richer.

Sweets and cake

Far Breton

This flan-type cake is a favourite dessert throughout Brittany. Made from a smooth, dense custard of eggs and milk, similar to clafoutis in the Loire, Far Breton usually contains prunes and can be found in patisseries all across the region. Not to be confused with Gateau Breton, a crumbly, buttery cake that is also delicious.

Kouign Amann

This slightly chewy and richly buttery cake is another one of Brittany's classics. Somewhere between cake and pastry, it is made with a venoisserie-type dough, similar to croissants. The dough is layered with sugar and butter and the cake is best served warm to enjoy the temptingly caramalised taste - and it smells divine!

Caramels d'Isigny

These are not just normal caramels, they are a real cut above. Made in traditional copper pots from whole milk, butter and cream that comes from the Normande cows at the farms around Normandy's Isigny-sur-Mer that have AOC status, these are some of the most scrumptious salted caramels you will ever taste. Even the salt has a quality label and is from the salt flats at Guérande.

And a favourite you'll find all over France...

Macarons

For those with a real sweet tooth, this quintessentially French confection is the perfect Gallic treat. Made from two small almond meringues with a filling of buttercream, ganache or jam, brightly-coloured macarons sit enticingly in patisserie windows across the country. Find your favourite flavour, there's so many to try - chocolate, coffee, lemon, orange, rose, pistachio and many, many more.

What are your favourite dishes from around Brittany, Normandy and the Loire? Let us know in the comments below.

First Name
Samantha
Surname
Wills

Comment

0
There are currently no comments for this entry