Breton cooking is highly varied and inventive. Some of its specialities are known all over the world, such as plain or buckwheat crêpes, best enjoyed with a bowl of cider.
The delicacies of Saint-Malo
Have you heard of Craquelins? These biscuits, a local speciality dates from the Middle Ages and is named after the Dutch crakelinc, which means "to crack under the tooth". Rounded in form and deliciously topped with jam, honey, butter or salted caramel, they can also be enjoyed as an aperitif with savoury toppings, such as fish paté and sardine butter.
Saint-Malo yoghurt is a well-known dairy speciality from the Corsair City, recognisable by its slightly conical cardboard pot. The yoghurt contains rennet, an enzyme that helps pre-digest milk. The company also produces a fresh cheese made according to the traditional method, by draining the curd in canvas bags. Dripping for more than 72 hours, slowly and naturally, brings the taste and texture of yesteryear.
You can of course find all the other sweet specialities of Brittany in all the best pastry shops of the area: salted butter caramels, far Breton, Kouign-amann, Breton shortbread and crêpes.
Oysters from the Emerald Coast
The oysters of Cancale are by far the most famous in Brittany. Grown in the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, they are bathed by the strongest tides in the world. It comes in two forms, flat or cupped. The oyster farmers set-up shop on the docks, each day selling their produce when it is at its freshest.
The flat oyster, also called the Belon de Cancale, takes its name from a river in Finistère. It was very popular at the table of Louis XIV for its firm white flesh and its taste, reminiscent of hazelnut. The flat oyster, now produced in deep water in the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, remains an exquisitely refined dish.
The cupped oyster, deeper and more fleshy, requires three to four years of maturing. It can be eaten raw or cooked. The Cancale is characterized by its pronounced iodine taste. Choose your oysters according to their size - they range from No. 5 to No. 0, the smaller the number, the larger the size of the oyster. Small oysters, of size 5 can be eaten as an appetiser at aperitif time. For lunch, try No 3 oysters, with fresh bread and salted butter.
Vegetables growing on the coast of Brittany benefit from a temperate ocean climate. Fruits and vegetables - cabbages, carrots, new potatoes, leeks and cider apples - are widely consumed and exported. Created in 1970, Prince de Bretagne is the collective mark of the market gardeners of the North coast of Brittany, and a guarantee of the best vegetables, to be found on the stalls of local producer's markets.
Meat lovers will particularly appreciate the "lamb grévin" raised in the salt-grass meadows around the bay. Nourished with samphire and haliomine, these plants give the meat a deliciously salty taste. Don't miss the famous local take on the hot dog, made with Breton crêpes, a very popular recipe in Brittany!
Your taste buds will never forget a holiday in Brittany - you'll start sprinkling your food with wakame or sea lettuce, seaweeds in Saint-Malo!