Food and Drink
Here in Upper Brittany, you can enjoy the best of both worlds with local food from the land and the sea ! Fish and seafood from little harbours, the open sea and along the shore. Fresh vegetables including tasty new potatoes, dairy produce from the lush meadows, fruit from our orchards... good local food is part of our way of life.
Fish and shellfish
Delicious and local ! Although the days of deep-sea cod fishing are long gone, prime fish is still landed at Saint-Malo, including Dover sole, line-caught sea bass and ray caught off our coast.
Chefs and restaurateurs on the Emerald Coast have no problem finding everything they need for a fine platter of local seafood to tempt discerning visitors. Cancale oysters, both flat and Pacific, are well-known for their firm flesh and subtle salty flavour. Grey shrimps from the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, served with brown bread and butter and a squeeze of lemon juice are truly scrumptious.
Delicately-flavoured, tender clams, the refined taste of the rare abalone, succulent crab served with mayonnaise, exquisite Breton lobster, caught off Cancale – a gastronomic delight - and last but not least, exceptionally fine mussels from the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel.
Still on the water, but moving inland, eels are a much-appreciated speciality of the area around Redon, where they are served in traditional dishes by talented, local chefs.
Meat and Poultry
The meat and poultry produced in Upper Brittany is of an exceptionally high quality. 'Coucou' chicken from the Rennes area are well-known for their fierce, energetic temperament. They are fed on cereals and feature in many delicious recipes. The quality capon and chicken from Janzé in the Vitré area are recognisable by their 'Label Rouge' status.
Salt-marsh lamb from the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, roasted and served with flageolet beans or French beans, is served from Easter to Christmas. Sougéal goose from around Fougères is excellent in rillettes (a rich meat spread) or braised in red wine. In the Brocéliande area, game provides a source of gourmet pleasure for meat-lovers.
Fruit and vegetables
The fertile land of the market gardens around Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes, south of Cancale, is highly suited to growing new potatoes and cabbages. Cherrueix garlic, carrots and asparagus are well-known for their quality, as is the sweet-scented 'petit gris' melon from Rennes. Chestnuts from Redon, which often feature in 'haute cuisine', provide the best chefs of the region with inspiration for original recipes.
Buttermilk, on its own or with a galette, has an acidic taste similar to natural yoghurt. Salted butter has a flavour which connoisseurs will recognise as that of the rich meadows of Upper Brittany. Other milk products caille, minguaux and jonchée are types of curds which are flavoured with summer fruits or herbs to form the basis for sweet and savoury specialities.
Sweets and other goodies
Upper Brittany has many specialities for visitors with a sweet tooth : : le pommé de Bazouges-la-Pérouse, is a jam made from apples and cider, le parlementin is a speciality from Rennes of almond nougatine and apple purée flavoured with cider, la patate de Saint-Malo is made from ground almonds, Kirsch liqueur and cocoa, and of course, far breton and la crêpe de froment or sweet crepe.
Specialities not to be missed...
The galette de blé noir (buckwheat crepe) is a cousin of blinis, pitta bread and tacos as it originally served as both food and plate. Cooked on both sides, soft and crispy, it is eaten topped with egg, butter, slices of andouille (smoked chitterling sausage) or sausage. The less well-known craquelin de Saint-Malo, is a very light biscuit, often found on breakfast tables in hotels and guest houses.
Exceptional dishes made from simple recipes and top-quality ingredients.
Cercle culinaire de Rennes : a cookery school and discovery centre for food from Brittany