Go West: Sea, Sun and…. Fruits de Mer

September 30th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

Ils ont les chapeaux ronds, vive la bretagne… Ils ont les chapeaux ronds, vive les Bretons!

Dinard
La grand plage in Dinard

I know I’ve been complaining about the weather quite a lot on this blog lately… well, not today!
Last weekend me and my dutchy went west to Brittany for a family weekend.
I couldn’t have dreamt for a better time to introduce my dutchie to the laidback way of life and many treasures of Bretagne… I just wish we had a few extra days.

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The garden in Dinard

On Friday morning, we reached the north coast of Bretagne and beautiful St Malo bathed with sun and enjoyed a delicious meal in Dinard in the warmth of a sunny terrace: I still remember the taste of the fabulous “galettes de sarrasin” (traditional savoury buckwheat pancakes) that the grandmother of my girlfriend prepared especially for our venue. With a full stomach and after a deserved walk along the beach overseeing St-Malo, we were back on the road crossing the green and hilly countryside of Bretagne towards the south coast, to our final destination, the small village of Colpo next to Vannes. My uncle and his wife were of course awaiting us with another delicious meal, and many stories.

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The castle of Josselin

My uncle is one of the best storytellers I happen to know. In a few words he takes you back to the ancient times of Bretagne among the Celts and Gallos, Merlin, the dukes of Brittany and other heroes who made Bretagne the mysterious and eclectic place it still is today. On Saturday, after a late breakfast in the garden we managed to have a peak to the almost closing market of Vannes. I like the end of the market, when the stalls are being packed with a rare efficiency, when the late clients run for the last bargains of the day… After a quick look into “les Halles”, the daily covered market with its many cheese, charcuterie and butcher stalls, we headed to the covered fish market where we made our way with difficulty around the flooding waters announcing the cleaning and closing time. Despite of the turmoil around we could still admire some of the largest specimens of the day, such as the shark on the picture below or this white tuna from the island of Yeu. We were so busy looking around that I left almost empty handed, with just a pot of buckwheat honey.

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Fish market in Vannes

After a tour of the city guided by my favourite guide and uncle, we left the already dying effervescence of the closing market towards St Goustan, a small harbour along the Auray, a river ending its journey in the Gulf of Vannes. This small harbour dates back to the roman times when fleeing from the huge roman galleys, the Gaul where escaping upstream on their small crafts. There, we lost track of time enjoying mussels and cervoise in a little bistro terrace along the river.

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Oyster farm “La Godaille”

In the end of the afternoon we drove along the Gulf. It was too late for our original plan to reach one of its entrances in Locmariaquer famous for its Megalithic monuments which date as far as between 4700 and 3800 BC. However, there was no way we would skip a visit to an oysterfarm… our dinner was at stake. We stopped  at the “Godailles” oyster farm close to Baden along the Gulf where a large choice of fresh oysters with various sizes and shapes, palourdes (clams) and bigorneaux (winkles) where awaiting us. They are bred directly in the gulf, along the currents. We settled for four dozen of “creuses n3”, a dozen of clams and a few hundred grams of winkles to nibble. Before we left her, the oyster farmer insisted on giving us a bottle of sea water and some laurel leaves to cook the bigorneaux. What a delicious dinner we made back in Colpo!

bigorneaux2huitres_vannes2palourdes

Bigorneaux
winkles

apetizer
serves 4 to 8. cook: 3 min

Ingredients:
300g of winkles,
1.5l sea water,
1 laurel leave,
pepper to taste
small picksRince the bigorneaux still alive. Put the sea water to boil with the laurel and pepper. Cook the bigorneaux for 3min…. Nibble with a glass of fresh white wine while your uncle and husband are opening the oysters. 
Bon appétit!

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