Monday, December 09, 2013

Rennes with Charlotte

I've been longing to go to Brittany since I landed in France.
 
When Charlotte (of Sunday's fab cooking class) asked if I'd accompany her on a day-trip to the marché des Lices in Rennes I jumped. She's researching butter for her French ingredients cookbook.
We were both researching sunshine and Rennes, just a 2-hour train ride from Paris, has plenty of it.
 
Marché des Lices is huge - two big buildings surrounded by outdoor venders.
You'll find the butter inside. I didn't know most Parisian patissieres prefer beurre de Charante though Brittany is famous for its butter. The Charante's Ile de Ré has salt too like Brittany's Fleur de sel de Guerande. Honestly when you're food shopping in France don't leave home without your Atlas de la France Gourmande or else forgetaboutit.
I was ready to dive into this vat of créme fraiche since I've just discovered the stuff. But Charlotte said no. The label on the vat indicated 'industrial' not 'artisanal' (made in a place with less than 50 workers) so a big NO.
Instead Charlotte bought crème fraiche from a no-name vat. We both bought his hand-made salted butter. I just noticed a tag on it says '19 12'. Does this mean I have only 10 days to polish off this bebe?
 
Mont d'Or is the cheese French people eat especially at Christmas. You just dip a spoon into it.
Note crystalized salt on the outside of this perfectly aged Gouda. Keep an eye out for that. Every minute was a lesson with Chef C.
 
Did this vender tell his assistant,
'Don't forget to wear your best Pieter Bruegel outfit for the marché!"
They could have stepped out of this painting.
 
Fromager Beillevaire was at the marché
I bought this 'p'tit plateau' of 4 cheeses plus their barratte butter. I am so loaded with butter at the moment...
Outdoors fresh and kicking seafood looked amazing.
Yet no one was selling it ready-to-eat on the spot. I could have downed these Coquilles St.-Jacques (scallops) if someone let me...
An oyster seller from Cancale displayed a few plates of oysters.
They were probably just decoration.
The vender was happy to open a half dozen for me then and there for a mere 6 € or was it 3€?
He used this handy tool to grip them.
Eaten icy and deliciously fresh in the cold air - no oysters ever tasted better.
Their fresh moules samples were tasty too.
The Bouchot mussels come from nearby Mont St. Michel - they're small and sweet.
We were lucky to find the only seafood place near the marché - a moulerie, L'Abri du Marché.
When I spotted the waiter carrying the 'formule' of the day (8.80€) my mind was made up. Charlotte had them with creme. I tasted my first Breton cider from Loic Raison. I'm hooked.
 
Perfection.
I ordered a crepe since that's what you're supposed to eat in Brittany.
Even though it was lacy as any Breton's lacy cap I was full of moules and happy as a clam. Where are you going next Charlotte? I'm in. Now I'll go butter my toast with 3 kinds of butter.
 

31 comments:

  1. Foodwalker3:42 AM

    Love the blue plastic bag plate for yr oysters!
    That's eating them on the hoof I guess...

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  2. Georgia3:47 AM

    What a 'rustic' adventure you had.
    Three stars all around!

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  3. I love that market! I have a Cypriote friend who lives with her son and husband in l'ancienne ville there and we go to the market every time I'm in town. Which reminds me that I need to schedule another visit! Bientôt!! Merci, Carol!

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  4. Veronica6:15 AM

    I chuckled reading your Brittany post. Last
    time I brought butter home from St Malo. OMG!! It's soooo delicious. Am sure it'll always be on the bring home list. i was told the best is Marie Morin or something like that. Not available in Paris. My local grocer in St Servan (now part of St Malo) called his distributer to inquire. I bought it there, kept it in my hotel's freezer during my Paris stay and brought it on the plane home. Fabulous!
    Isn't Brittany amazing?? But you'll have to visit a lot more than
    Rennes. Cheers, Veronica

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Charlotte was looking for the little no-name producteurs, not known brands.
      We got an address to visit of a small farm for instance.

      Delete
  5. What a wonderful day you both had. So much deliciousness as always. I've never understood it when cheese plates come with butter. Do the French really eat their cheese with butter on the baguette? Not that I don't like French butter, or cheese, I love them both, but have never tried them together.

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    Replies
    1. Ah ha! I tested it out this morning since I have all the right ingredients.
      And since I too thought it was insane.
      In fact it's trés delish!
      I'm thinking the butter adds a salty note to the cheese perhaps.
      Charlotte would know best...

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    2. They do it here in Austria, too. The butter's not salted, though, meaning sweet butter and strong cheese flavour complement each other deliciously. A dollop of Muscut wine jelly does not hurt either.

      Delete
  6. A moulerie! I would have died and gone to heaven! This post includes so many of my favorite things - moules, fromage, beurre, crepes,and cidre! Last trip to France included 6 days in Brittany. We were able to visit Cancale and sample the oysters there - my husband was thrilled. Glad you got to visit - more trips are in order for sure.

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  7. Yum! Everything looks wonderful!

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  8. Oh Carol, that is a day trip fantastique! I predict that you will be returning to Brittanny.

    (I have done a petit post about NYC Christmas decorations. I hope to do another...but time is precious.)

    xo

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  9. D___! I thought I had gotten there first with the creme fraiche…..but now, I have to admit I have never had artisanal creme fraiche….only the industrial, very industrial big name brands. Rats! Another thing on my to-do list. :-)

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  10. That looked like a great learning trip for you, lots of things to saveur . I'm sure you'll definitely go back there. Artisan butter is a sure winner, it's true the difference it makes to what you're eating or cooking. Great interesting post.,.

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  11. Moules, frites, crepes & you can never have too much butter. I think you just described heaven.

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  12. Oh my! I enjoy all your adventures, but this is one of my favourites. Mussels, crepes, cheese, butter. And, oh that architecture! I could spend the entire day taking photographs. If I could drag myself away from the food, that is!

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  13. WineWalker1:57 PM

    I'm hungry!!

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  14. Anonymous2:27 PM

    I love the way you tied the vendors clothing to the Petier Bruegel painting! You do such an amazing job of weaving art and life together. Who can do that:) !!! Carolyn

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  15. Lynne2:40 PM

    I am soooo jealous! Everything looked so delicious ....the butter, oh the butter

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  16. I can taste it all now! Luscious! Always enjoy and pass along blog to friends, especially my French sister, Jeanine Rougier, from Lyon...her cooking is sublime!

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  17. Sibel5:08 PM

    How was yr toast with 3 kinds of butter??

    Take me to Rennes for your next visit:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cut the toast into little squares but I can't yet tell the difference other than to find them all so yummy. Formerly one stick of US butter stayed in the freezer for months. Here it's a different story.

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  18. I just learned to make crème fraîche and now you tell me I need further research? And then I thought Normandy was the place for butter, more research?

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    Replies
    1. Normandy, Brittany and the Charante are all neck and neck when it comes to butter.
      France is filled to the gills with excellent ingredients...why we need Charlotte's guidebook.

      Delete
  19. Chef Charlotte3:49 AM

    The post looks wonderful - I am so impressed how you put it all together - write so little and say so much! bravo.

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  20. I swear I could smell the fragrances wafting from the market stalls while walking alongside you (I didn't? You sure?)! Thank you for these exquisite meanderings among France's finest foods.

    Loved the 'p'tit plateau' of 4 cheeses - I noticed they are shrink-wrapped, but without separation amongst them. I suppose you have to let them sit out on the countertop, separated, for a while, and they'll forget they were intermingling in such close quarters.

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    Replies
    1. No not shrink-wrapped at all.
      Just heavey duty plastic packing over all.
      They never shrink wrap a cheese
      They wrap it in white paper only!

      Delete
  21. Carol, What a wonderful day at the market. I hope you will get back to Brittany soon. New email subscriber.
    xx,
    Sherry

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  22. I know that started out as a butter tasting trip, but the oysters look so much better!

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  23. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Carol,
    This is to express our warm appreciation for the appearance of Bear a post or two back---! Plus, sil vous plait!
    Affectionately, Patricia and Eric, Minneapolis, MN

    ReplyDelete
  24. oh god - i came late to this one. did not need the yummy distractions! that creme fraiche - the shellfish! butter is so lousy tasting in the states these days! (sorry, had to say it!)

    bonnes fetes!

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    Replies
    1. Oh Why didn't I get more oysters!
      I just saw 6 Breton huitres for 14,50€
      I know we paid .50 centimes each and they were fresher

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