Where to eat crêpes and galettes in Brittany | Ann Mah

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Where to eat in Brittany

By Ann | October 3, 2013

bretagne 2

beach

Brittany is a region of fresh breezes, rocky coastline and green pastures, a contrast of lush farmland and wild sea. It’s also extremely vast, too big to visit in its entirety over a weekend, or even during a two-week vacation. But if, like me, your focus is on food — specifically, Brittany’s signature butter-crisped crêpes  – then you should head west, to Finistère, a département famous for its fine, lacy pancakes.

In Brittany, a savory crêpe is actually called a “galette,” and it’s made of blé noir –buckwheat flour — which has a pleasantly rough, nutty, graininess. Fillings vary wildly, from ham, cheese, and egg (the famous “complète”), to andouille (another tripe sausage), to tender leeks cooked in cream. Traditionally, however, Bretons eat their galettes plain, brushed with salted butter, accompanied by a bowl of lait ribot, or buttermilk — and that’s my favorite way to eat them, too. The word “crêpe” refers to dessert — a sweet, thin pancake made of white flour, drizzled with chocolate sauce, or honey, or salted butter caramel, or — well, the possibilities are endless.

place au beurre 3

place au beurre 2

crêpe making 1 crêpe making 2

Where to eat crêpes and galettes in Brittany?

There are crêperies scattered throughout Brittany and it’s hard to find a bad one. My suggestions focus in and around Quimper, the capital of Finistère.

Au Vieux Quimper (20 rue Verdelet, Quimper, tel: 20 98 95 31 35) is located just off Quimper’s renowned Place au Beurre (butter square) once the town’s dairy-fat marketplace, now transformed into Crêpe Central. The dining room has lace-covered windows, tables and chairs in honey-colored wood, and ceramic bowls filled with hard cider, while the menu features delicate buckwheat galettes stuffed with gut-busting combinations like bacon, cheese, and mushrooms cooked in cream.

Chez Mimi (Rond Point du Moulin du Pont, Route de Bénodet, Pleuven, tel: 02 98 54 62 02) is in a small village near Quimper, a cheerful spot with a thatched roof and casual dining room where locals gather to tuck into a weeknight “galette complète” (ham, egg, and cheese), and schoolchildren clap their hands and exclaim over a “bonne beurre sucre” — a simple dessert crêpe brushed with salted butter and sprinkled with sugar. Try the housemade gros lait, a thick, tangy, yogurt.

Crêperie l’Epi d’Or (19 route de Quimper, Pleuven, tel: 02 98 54 88 32) dishes up buckwheat galettes, paper thin with edges like fine lace. The menu offers an array of fillings, but I loved my plain galette, at once crispy and chewy, savored with a bowl of buttermilk.

Ferme de Kerheü (Kerheu, Briec, tel: 02 98 57 92 67) is not a crêperie, but a local organic farm that produces beurre de baratte, butter made from soured cream and seasoned with coarse, gray sel de Guérande. This soft, salty, tangy butter has a flavor reminiscent of toasted hazelnuts and is the secret to a truly delicious crêpe. If you’re lucky enough to find the farm (I got horribly lost), stop in and buy a few sticks to bring home.

lighthouse

Where to sleep and shop in Brittany?

Manoir de Lanroz (282 chemin de Lanroz, Quimper, tel: 06 86 43 45 93) is one of my favorite bed and breakfasts in France, housed in an gracious family manor that resembles a castle. The rooms are decorated with antiques, windows offer views of a sparkling lake, breakfasts are generous, and the owners, Monsieur and Madame de Brommer, are exceedingly kind.

The Armor Lux factory store (21-23 rue Louison Bobet, Quimper) offers an array of Breton mariniers (striped shirts) in more variations than you could possibly imagine. Prices are a little more expensive than you’d expect from an outlet shop, but the classic blue-and-white with three-quarter sleeves is irresistible (they even make them for babies). The perfect place to indulge your inner seafarer.

bowl

lace edges

*

Hungry for more? Today’s post is a companion to my new book, Mastering the Art of French Eating, a food memoir that Peter Mayle, the author of A Year in Provence, says is “very elegantly served. A really tasty book.”

Curious? Order your copy here:
*Amazon
*Barnes and Noble
*Books-A-Million
*Indiebound
*iTunes

And more from the series, Where to Eat in France.

Topics: Mastering the Art of French Eating, Where to eat in France | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Where to eat in Brittany”

  1. Suzanne Codi Says:
    October 3rd, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Hi Ann

    Just got 2 copies of your book in the mail today, one for me and one for a francophile friend. Can’t wait to start reading!

  2. Heather in Arles Says:
    October 3rd, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Your book is sooooo wonderful, Ann! This chapter in particular made me want to hop on a TGV…wait, all of them have…oops. :)

  3. Fwei Says:
    October 3rd, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I’m so glad that I got your book in the post last week with all the fine recommendations from you.

  4. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) Says:
    October 3rd, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    LOVE this series Ann! Saving this for my next trip back to Brittany!

  5. Lisa Says:
    October 3rd, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    This post made me lament the closure of Ti Couz, San Francisco’s one true crêperie Bretonne even more than usual! Our first night’s dinner during our upcoming trip to Paris will definitely be at West Country Girl in the 11eme. I can’t think of a better first-night meal than the simple goodness of real galettes and a nice cider. (And caramel au beurre sale for dessert, bien sûr!)Plus, it’s a short walk from our apartment, which is about all my jet-lagged body will be able to handle! :-) Will have to visit your recommended spots some other time. They sound wonderful!

  6. Jeanne Says:
    October 4th, 2013 at 3:46 am

    I am enjoying your book so much! Wow, this last photo of the galette makes me so hungry. Eating in plain brushed with French butter sounds just amazing.

  7. CK Says:
    October 4th, 2013 at 10:49 am

    What great pictures! I love Bretagne, especially during oyster season!

  8. Jill C (MadAboutMacarons) Says:
    October 4th, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Loved your chapter on this in the book, Ann. Look interesting addresses. Can smell the sea air from your photos! Love that last shot. They really do look like lace. Crispy, buttery beauties.

  9. Bob Says:
    October 9th, 2013 at 3:29 am

    The photos are a perfect companion to the word descriptions in your book.

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