The rich fishing grounds off Finistere’s shores, harvested by its 4,000 fishermen, make this the leading department for fresh fish production - 25% of the national catch. Not surprisingly, gourmet seafood is easy to find, from heaped plates of mussels and ‘fruits de mer’ (seafood platter) to ‘cotriade’ (fish stew). The restaurants of Loctudy display signs for ‘demoiselles (young ladies) de Loctudy’- delicate, sweet tasting langoustines - the port’s speciality catch.
Finistere supplies early vegetables such as artichokes, carrots, cauliflowers and the pink ‘Rose de Roscoff’ onions once peddled in England from the bicycles of the ‘Onion Johnnies’ - stereotypical Frenchmen in berets and stripy t-shirts. ‘Ale kig ha farz’ is a traditional dish made with beef or pork and lots of vegetables. The ‘farz’ is a buckwheat dumpling cooked with the meat and vegetable stock and all served with a rich onion and butter sauce.
Finistere’s small breweries have undergone a revival and their high quality products have a distinctive flavour. Visit the Deux-Rivieres brewery near Morlaix which makes Coreff bitter from the purest barley. Also look out for Britt from Tregunc and Tri Martolod made in Benodet.
Brittany is France’s largest cider producer and Cornouaille cider has AOC status - just the thing with a Breton speciality crepe and some mouth-watering Plougastel strawberries. Try ‘e kouign amann’ butter cake created in the little seaside town of Douarnenez in 1865 and best served slightly warm, and take home boxes of famous Pont-Aven biscuits as presents for the family.