In My Kitchen, October 2017. Bretagne

After travelling around Central and Eastern Europe for three weeks, I was really looking forward to our first French rental house. Before unpacking or looking at the other rooms, I checked the kitchen and its equipment, running around like a headless chook, opening cupboards and drawers. The kitchen in Pont Aven, Brittany, did not disappoint. The cupboards were well equipped with decent wine glasses, serving platters, quality frying pans, a set of sharp knives, a pasta pot and some oven proof gratin dishes. This was a cook’s kitchen. These things are often missing from rental houses.

The kitchen, on Rue Le Petite Tourte, Pont Aven, Brittany

Outside the kitchen, beyond the tiny enclosed stone wall yard, a rapidly running stream provided a soothing background symphony to my kitchen activities. The rapids form part of the watery world which makes up this ancient mill town. Pont Aven’s water courses, the River Aven and it’s creeks, once operated around 14 water wheel grain mills. Many old stone houses are built directly above or next to a rapid. As the weather was damp and fairly cool, winter comfort food dominated my cooking style in this stylish stone house.

Produce bought at the local market. Backyard, Pont Aven, Brittany.

The food of Brittany is tempting, with plenty of seafood and fish, apples and cider, the famous creamy butter with fleur de sel, buttery biscuits, tarts and cakes such as Far Breton and Kouign-amann, not to mention the crepes made from Blé Noir, or buckwheat. We occasionally dined out, but in the end, the lure of the kitchen and home cooked meals became too great.

Some basics from the local supermarche.

Who can resist cooking with Crème Fraîche ( entiere s’il vous plaît ) when a small carton costs around 0.66€. My new cheat’s white sauce is a winner. Add one finely chopped garlic to a few tablespoons of crème fraîche, let it sit while you cook some pasta. Drain the pasta well, then return to the same pan, stir the sauce through the hot pasta, add some chunky smoked salmon and lots of herbs. Voilà.

Fasta Pasta

I found these cute pot set yoghurts at the market in the nearby village of Tregunc, straight from the dairy farm. Sold in little glass jars for 0.40€ each. I will never eat commercial yoghurt again.

Breakfast Pont Aven. Pot set yoghurt with peaches and raspberries

Sometimes when driving about for the day, lunch is simple: a smelly cheese from the market and a baguette from the boulangerie.

Car snacks.

I’ve developed a taste for this lovely red wine from the Loire, Chinon.

A light red wine, Chinon, from the Loire region

French cooking is superb but there’s plenty of cheating going on too. Freshly cooked beetroot is available in all the markets. They make a great entrée with some goat cheese.

On market day, the Roti stall is popular, as sensibly dressed older women come to buy their rotisserie chicken, beef or saussison along with a portion of Boulangerie potatoes.

I succumbed to the roast man’s version of Far Breton, a nice little dessert to take back to my kitchen to reheat. I make Far Breton at home, mostly for my D.I.L, who can’t get enough of the stuff. I love the way the prunes are suspended in this version.

Far Breton- for Leanne.
Trying to stay away from the Patisserie.

The Traou Mad galettes of Pont Aven are irresistible. This tin has been refilled twice!

Also trying to stay away from the real estate office! House for sale in a little village near Pont Aven. Fantasies abound in every village. Dangereux!!!

For Rod.

I’m linking up with Sherry, from Sherry’s Pickings, once again, who hosts In My Kitchen, a monthly series where bloggers share their kitchen inspirations. If you’re new to blogging and love food, this is a great way to join up with other like-minded folk. There are no rules and no obligations. Write about your kitchen and get the post linked by the 10th of each month.

58 thoughts on “In My Kitchen, October 2017. Bretagne”

  1. Morbier and Far Breton! That’s killing me. And warm baguette fresh from the bakery. I can eat a large part of a loaf while walking home. Food envy and nostalgia strikes hard. Which mushrooms did you find till now?

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  2. Surely did not expect this post during your travels! Perfect little Brittany town in a lovely situation [Thanks Mr Google!] and a very comfortable pied-a-terre it seems. Oh the food looks as if the market had come to us . . . and the ‘cheating’ really is not cheating. And the pasta will be made tomorrow: monthly food delivery arriving in the morning, tho’ no el cheapo crème fraiche and only commercial yogurt . . .

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    1. I have always wondered why creme fraiche is so pricey in Australia, given our abundant diary supplies. The supermarkets in France carry little fresh milk- one small shelf- but acres of creme fraiche and other luscious creamy fresh fromage products. The milk favoured is UHT- a product I only use when totally desperate. when at home. Odd.

      The house is a little larger than your typical pied- a-terre.- Three stories, with two large bedrooms, two bathrooms, to die for linen, top floor with a sunny outlook over the ancient chimney pots of the village, a ground floor living room with a huge old fireplace, stacked wood, some nice antique dressers, tasteful art on walls- at round AU$100 a day, right near the historical centre. I have to hand it to Mr T, he has done his homework.

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      1. We had no fresh milk recently in Vanuatu either – all UHT milk. It was formerly a French colony with it’s own huge dairy farm run and built by the French but upon independance the French burnt it to the ground before leaving. All history I learnt in April this year and not nice to hear, but since then all UHT milk.

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  3. Total kitchen envy here, I’m so in need of a holiday, a break from responsibilities and routine, sigh! It’s a legit holiday pass time checking out property “a vendre”. To be able to buy great bread wine and cheese, and a treat from the patisseries is what dreams (and holidays) are made of. Sounds wonderful to me…

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  4. Yes, I could not believe the UHT situation [emergency rations for me here in the country] . . . . the British expat photographer Roger Stowell lives in the Vendee region SE of Brittany and last week there was a lively discussion going on re that on his blog . . . BUT they can get lait cru most everywhere and that is not so easy here!! Fab house . . . . yep, love lovely linen also . . . have fun . . .

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      1. It is beautiful here right now. I arrived at Casa Debbio yesterday and I have been wandering through my garden. The lavender is past its best, but the perfume is divine. Most of the plants are shutting down for the winter, but Filippo walked with me and told me how beautiful they were in summer. I will begin pruning in a few weeks. I can’t bring myself to cut them yet.

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  5. We were in Brittany about 30 years ago and absolutely loved it – wouldn’t it be wonderful to have your own place there – i was thinking that that kitchen was just right for a family. At our local farmers’ market there is a young French man who sells beautiful cheese and the one you have looks very much like his Epoisse – or the ‘stinky’ – it’s addictive.

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  6. Oh, Francesca, I am starving right now! How beautiful is this entire post. They started selling that French yogurt in the cute little glass jars here in the States. A bit pricey, but not as expensive as the Australian yogurt–Noosa–which is so deliciously, sinfully creamy and I can never finish a carton in one sitting. I do need to try the French brand, if for nothing else than those cute little jars.

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  7. Oh, like everyone else, I am so envious! I have very fond memories of French markets, buying fresh produce for an easy lunch. The most difficult aspect was deciding what to buy from the large range of food available!

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    1. So true Anne. Making decisions at the markets and buying smaller quantities as the French do. Cooking is such a pleasure here. Found a tree in the garden loaded with perfectly ripe figs- where did all the birds go?

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  8. hi francesca
    thanks so much for joining in this month even tho you are out and about on your travels. so many good things. love the look of that pasta with the creme fraiche and salmon. oh my those little jars of yoghurt are so cute and so cheap. Cooked beetroot? that would be fab to buy. and how marvellous to be able to buy ready made Boulangere potatoes. everything just looks so yum. i can see why you would be tempted to buy a place there. thanks for the mention . safe travels. cheers sherry x

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  9. Loved this article on France Francesca – my style of food! Love the old French architure showing their old homes, cathedrals and fashion shops. It all reminds me of Montreal – the language “boulangerie”, “fleur de sel”, “baguettes”, “fromage”, “le billet s’il vous plait”, “chinon” and “creme fraiche” – all wonderful expressions which make me exlaim “c’est la vie!”. They do something to me, and the architure is so beautiful. Merci!

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    1. It is indeed ‘la vie’ and we have more than a month here . Now in another house in Monpazier for two weeks in the region of Perigord, which is full of little well preserved medieval villages, each around 20 kms apart, and more markets. Cooking here is such a thrill, just doing small shops as we travel between the villages. Some days we just hang around in the garden, drink rose` and write or catch up with ourselves. Off to another market today. Merci d’avoir commenté.

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  10. What a wonderful place to find yourself. A cook’s kitchen is quite remarkable for a rental place. Most I’ve encountered were basic at best. French markets are marvellous as are the brocantes for all sorts of wonderful junk including vintage kitchen ware. Sounds like an ideal holiday to me. Enjoy your stay at Rue Le Petite Tourte. More posts from here, I hope.

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  11. When in such a place of wonderful produce spending time in the markets, local shops and therefore a kitchen is irresistible… Your accommodations sound fabulous. Real estate hunting when on holidays is one of the things we love to do… although so dangerously tempting in Italy.

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  12. Oh wow Francesca, this is a dream! I particularly love the idea of smelly cheese from the market and a baguette from the boulangerie. I think I could do this very regularly, given the chance! The rental house kitchen looks so welcoming and bright. Enjoy and safe travels.

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    1. I’m now in Monpazier, and another gorgeous French house. It is a classic Bastide town, one of the best preserved from the 1300s, in Dordogne. No doubt you’ll be hearing ore about it when my posts catch up with me, if they ever do.

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  13. Francesca, I can see why you opted for home-cooked instead of dining out. What a wonderfully appointed vacation kitchen, with fresh produce and ingredients to entice your imagination, too. Simply loved this… and the house for sale. Dream on!

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  14. It looks like you had a beautiful time in Brittany Francesca. I know if I went to France, I’d probably never come back! Love the creme fraiche pasta sauce with smoked salmon recipe! So simple and easy to make. I’m drooling over every single food photo, imagining I was there too 🙂 I think I would come back to Oz with an extra kilo (or 10) on me – I’d have to pay for excess luggage on my person 😉 xx
    https://missfoodfairy.com/2017/10/10/in-my-kitchen-october-2017/

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