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.
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.