Fine Food

All lovers of sea produce, fruit and vegetables and traditional recipes will enjoy our specialities; Haute Bretagne has an excellent reputation for food. Why not judge for yourself?

 

Produce from the sea

Even though deep sea cod fishing now belongs to the distant past, noble species of fish are still landed at Saint-Malo, such as sole from the English Channel, sea bass and skate (which the Malouins call “sea eagle”) fished along our coast.

Along the Emerald Coast, restaurateurs can find plenty of ingredients for a sumptuous platter of shellfish and seafood to delight holidaymakers who enjoy fine food.

The Cancale oyster, whether flat or hollow, is characteristically firm to the bite and has a delicate taste of the sea. Grey shrimps from the Mont-Saint-Michel Bay served with a slice of buttered rye bread and a few drops of lemon juice are absolutely heavenly. Equally as good are delicately tender plainly served clams, or abalones, a rare find but an outstandingly fine taste, and edible crab, cooked simply and served with mayonnaise. Even the most demanding of palates will be satisfied by Brittany lobsters caught off the shores of Cancale, and the quality of Bouchot mussels from the Mont-Saint-Michel bay will win you over completely.

On the freshwater side of things, eels, a speciality of the Vilaine region, are much appreciated by enthusiasts. Try them in a “civet” (a kind of stew) and appreciate the full talent of chefs in the region of Redon.
 

Meat and poultry

Meat and poultry from Haute Bretagne are also of exceptional quality. The cereal-fed Coucou hen from the Rennes region has a wild and vigorous temperament and can be used in many recipes for a delicious meal. The quality of Janzé chicken and capon from the Gateway of Brittany (Portes de Bretagne region), as their Red Label certifies, sets them apart from the rest.

Salt meadow lamb from the Mont-Saint-Michel Bay is served from Easter to Christmas, roasted and garnished with flageolet or French beans. In the region around Fougères, if you want to enjoy a Sougéal goose, it will be prepared for you in the form of rillettes (potted), a “civet” (stew) or a “daube” (casserole).  And in Brocéliande, during the hunting season, wild game provides a supply of tasty delights for meat lovers.

 

Fruit and vegetables

The market gardening zone in Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes, to the south of Cancale, is an extremely fertile area well suited to vegetable crops such as new potatoes or green cabbage. Garlic, carrots and asparagus from Cherrueix have a reputation for their quality as does the Petit Gris melon, a small but strongly perfumed melon from Rennes. The Redon chestnut, which can now be seen in “professional cookery”, has given the region’s chefs the inspiration for a number of original recipes.

 

Dairy products

Ribot buttermilk, plain or with a buckwheat pancake, has a sour taste a little like yoghurt. Salted butter, another speciality recognised by connoisseurs, sings praise to the scents of the region’s pastures. Other milk-derived products, such as “caille”, ”minguaux” and “jonchée“, all different forms of milk curds, form the basis of original sweet or savoury speciality dishes, seasoned with mixed herbs or red fruits.

 

Sweet delights

Haute Bretagne also has a few moments of pleasure up its sleeve for lovers of sweet things. These include the “pommé de Bazouges-le-Pérouze”, a jam made with apples and cider; the inevitable “Far Breton”, a kind of cake; the Parlementin, a speciality from Rennes made of almond brittle and cider flavoured apple sauce; the Saint-Malo patate, made from crushed almonds, Kirsch and cocoa, and of course, wheat pancakes served as a dessert.

 

Specialities not to be missed

A close relation of blinis, pitta bread and taco shells, the “galette de blé noir” is a buckwheat pancake which originally served both as a plate and as something to eat. Well cooked on both sides, crispy yet soft, it can be garnished with an egg, a knob of butter, or slices of andouille or sausage. The Saint-Malo craquelin, a very light wheat cracker, is a less well-known variation but you will often come across it being served in hotels with a certain local charm, particularly at breakfast time.
 

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