France: Days and Nights in Carnac, Brittany

Sunday, November 28, 2010 15 No tags Permalink 0

While in France, Monsieur P and I took off to Brittany for a few days. We stayed in the family’s Carnac beach house and rolled crepes for breakfast. “This is how you do it,” he helpfully instructed. Apparently I didn’t know how to correctly apply salted butter to the crepes. “Little even dabs,” Monsieur P noted as he looked over and frowned at my method of eagerly slicing hefty butter chunks onto the crepe, heheh.

It was also important to fold the crepe correctly. It’s first folded into quarters (a very large crepe to begin with!) and then butter is applied straight down the middle. Next you fold the right side to the middle, and do the same with the left. Once you have a thin, long triangle, you roll it all the way lengthwise from the right side to make what’s essentially a crepe-stick. Monsieur P preferred his with butter alone while I was most happy with an even combination of butter and salted caramel. He made the espresso and I poured the orange juice.

Or other mornings we had baguettes with more butter (even I was impressed by how much butter we went though during our stay here!) and a fantastic fresh apricot jam by Monsieur P’s mother.

And sometimes we’d even venture out for breakfast (though it was so cold I preferred to stay in with a cozy sweater during the mornings). A plain ham galette for me…

…and an egg and cheese for him.

For lunch we’d walk to a local restaurant, always partaking in deep bowls of Moule Frites and Oysters, a beer on the side.

We visited in the off-season, so only a few places were opened for business. It was quiet and wonderfully peaceful.

Afternoon walks on the beach? Check! A visit to the Carnac Stones? Check! And then ice cream too! That’s Mint Chocolate Chip on top, but the focus here is Salted Carmel, which as you may expect, was insanely wicked and borderline too salty. But it hovered on the side of just right, with the full-bodied, smokey, slow dripping salted caramel oozing over the top. Look how it shines. Seriously!

Monsieur P’s brother was thoughtful enough to stock the beach house kitchen with jars of salted caramel, and I smothered the sweet affair on top of everything I could get my hands on…

…cookies, crepes, palet bretons (buttery cakes, cornbread-esque affairs), and baguettes. Or even better, a finger dipped straight into the jar.

Monsieur P had fond memories Chez Marie, the oldest creperie in town and one his family frequented during the summer when he was a child. “We must go!” he declared. Three hours later, we drove out to Chez Marie and indulged in no less than two crepes a person. We learned that management changed since Monsieur P’s last visit over a decade ago. And post-dinner the two brothers concluded that the food simply wasn’t as good as they recalled. Or perhaps what’s stored in childhood memory will always be more delicious than reality? Who knows. It was still good enough for us to have a wonderful night.

This was my favourite combination from dinner – eggs, ham, cheese, and anchovies! I noticed that many of the other tables had this same combination but with mushrooms in place of anchovies.

For dessert, Monsieur P kept it simple with a butter and sugar crepe…

…while his brother had a crepe of sliced bananas, oodles of salted caramel and fresh whipped cream. My goodness!

I went the Banana Flambé route, done table-style…

…with a personal tower of whipped cream on the side. Heheh, indulgence yes, but the atmosphere begged for it! A cold evening, wooden tables, a stone building, and many mugs of hot cider.

Today, it’s a windy 35F in Manhattan, a Sunday afternoon, and there’s not one decent creperie to be found! France literally feels like another world away. Alas, I’ll make do with a latte and croissant from Ceci-Cela. In two weeks I’ll be in warm Hawai’i to visit home and family, and then back again in Manhattan for Christmas and New Years. Am looking forward to trying all the new Honolulu restaurants that have cropped up since my last visit!

15 Comments
  • K and S
    November 30, -0001

    delicious! ways to have crepes :)

  • Tamakikat
    November 28, 2010

    Mmm. Those crepes etc look delicious.

  • Kathy YL Chan
    November 29, 2010

    Hi Tamaki and Kat!Thanks! They were all awesome…I only wish we could have them more frequently in NYC! :)

  • anonymous
    November 29, 2010

    Have you tried Creperie in LES? It's quite good! Never enough butta, right? :)

  • anonymous
    November 29, 2010

    Or Caf Triskell in Queens.

  • Debinhawaii
    November 29, 2010

    Looks like a wonderful trip. I am loving all those crepes and that salted caramel would be dangerous around me. ;-)

  • anonymous
    November 29, 2010

    No better way to start a day in Brittany but to eat crepe. :)

  • anonymous
    November 30, 2010

    Those crepes sure are yummmmy!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    November 30, 2010

    Hi Kim!Ooo I've been to Creperie before, but not Caf Triskell yet..will give it a try soon! Thanks for the rec :)Hi Deb!Oh man, I was literally going through the salted caramel by the JARS! ^_^Hi Retro Sweets!I much agree!! :)Hi TESOL!They were, they were!

  • anonymous
    November 30, 2010

    (delurking…)I'm going to Hawaii on the 11th for a conference/vacation and your old posts have been invaluable for dining ideas! And the photos, mmm. I may have to eat extra meals every day so I don't miss anything. Thank you for writing!

  • anonymous
    November 30, 2010

    I love France… must visit again… with crepes in Brittany on the agenda ;)

  • Kathy YL Chan
    November 30, 2010

    Hi Julia!Thanks for delurking, hehe :) I'm glad to hear the blog was useful. Also check the "Desserts in Hawai'i" link at the top of the homepage for dessert suggestions. I'll also have more updated Hawai'i posts in December!!Hi Stephanie!Yes, a must do for sure! :D

  • anonymous
    December 1, 2010

    great post…especially because it has inspired me to get off the computer and go COOK!

  • anonymous
    December 2, 2010

    I think its time to trade in my American boyfriend for a French one! This post left me salivating for crepes like there was no food left in this world.

  • Kathy YL Chan
    December 2, 2010

    Hi Dmarie!Thanks – hope the crepes came out great! ;)Hi Christine! Heheh, just make sure the French one can cook! That's the most important part ;)

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