OUR INSPIRATION: BRITTANY
Brittany is a western peninsula of France, bordered by the English Channel in the North, the Celtic sea and the Iroise Sea to the West and the Bay of Biscay to the South.
From the standpoints of its resources and its landscapes, Brittany is multifaceted. Over time, its inhabitants, from Argoat (inland) to Armor (coast), were able to develop a wide assortment of recipes featuring products from the sea and from the land, because despite Bretons’ reputation for drinking, they do not neglect food by any mean!
A cooking authentic and rich in flavors
You are undoubtedly no stranger to crêpes, Plougastel strawberries and kouign amann, but are you familiar with kig ha farz, the fried far of Etel, salicornia or Paimpol beans?
Nothing could be more natural for a Breton, by way of hospitality, than to offer a piece of bread or a crêpe with salted butter. This food is every bit an essential product as pork or salt!
A pinch of salt, a dozen buckwheat crêpes, fresh vegetables, Plougastel strawberries and... life is beautiful!
Bretons’ beverage of choice, which occupies an assured place as a tasty accompaniment to a meal at the crêperie, is cider. According to tradition it is drunk from bowls. This sparkling beverage, obtained from several varieties of apple, has an alcohol content of 2% to 7%, which means that in many households it can accompany meals.
In Brittany, cider apples are those selected especially to produce a high-quality cider or calvados. Unlike dessert apples and cooking apples, they are generally small and rich in tannins.
The only Breton wine is Muscadet, which is produced throughout: Brittany and has used the designation "appellation d'origine contrôlée" (AOC) since 1936. Muscadet is the Nantes grape variety par excellence.
Legend has it that it was brought from the Middle East in the Middle Ages by a monk. In fact it’s a variety of grape known as Melon de Bourgogne, which has been cultivated since the early 17th century. This dry, white wine is a splendid accompaniment to oysters, shellfish and all sorts of fish and seafood. It flavours sauces and marinades and can be drunk alone or accompanied by scones.
THE BRETON LANGUAGE
Breton (brezhoneg, in Breton) is a Celtic language spoken by 206,000 people in Brittany, or just 5% of the population. Native Breton speakers are also known as “brittophones.” It belongs to the Brythonic branch of the insular Celtic languages group, i.e. from the island of Great Britain and it is related to both the Cornish and Welsh languages, which are used in the United Kingdom. Breton is recognized as a minority or regional language in France and as a regional language of Brittany, alongside French and Gallo. According to UNESCO, it is classified as a “seriously endangered language."
What do Jacques Cartier, Jules Vernes, Chateaubriand, Bernard Hinault and Yves Rocher have in common?
They are all of Breton origin!
CONCISE BRETON GLOSSARY
Breizhad breton (inhabitant)
Breizhoneg breton (language)
Bloavezh mad! Happy New Year!
Mat an traoù? How are you?
ti-krampouezh crêperie (ti=house)
farz forn far breton
fest-noz evening dance party
Korrigan little dwarf
Nozvezh mad! Good evening!
Degemer mad! Welcome!
Trugarez! Thank you!
Yec'hed mad! (pronounced "yerr mat") Cheers!