Ille Et Vilaine Cuisine and Wine

Seafood platter, Ille et Vilaine, Brittany, France

Brittany is renowned for its cider, crepes and galletes (pancakes) and you will certainly find no shortage of these delicacies in the department of Ille et Vilaine.

Great seafood and shellfish restaurants can be found all along the Emerald Coast - sea bass and skate are popular local catches enjoyed in the restaurants of St Malo.

Sample succulent Cancale oysters raised in enormous beds in Mont-Saint-Michel Bay and traditionally eaten with a drop of lemon juice or vinegar sauce.

The Bay also produces a rich harvest of lobster, shrimps and mussels and tender lamb from the surrounding salt marshes is a favourite roast for Christmas and Easter.

However, this region of Haute Bretagne also has its own special dishes such as civet (a type of stew) of freshwater eels from Redon, cereal-fed Coucou hen from Rennes and Sougeal goose, either stewed, casseroled or potted, from around Fougeres.

The Broceliande forest is a source of wild game in season. A plentiful supply of wonderful fresh vegetables from new potatoes to Cherrueix asparagus is on hand from the market gardening region around Saint-Meloir-des-Ondes. Try Rennes’s little perfumed ‘Petit Gris’ melons.

Those with a sweet tooth will no doubt be familiar with Brittany’s ‘Far Breton’ cake but have you tried ‘Parlementin’ - created by a group of Rennes pastrycooks in 1999 and named after the city’s Brittany Parliament - it’s an almond brittle with cider and apple sauce?

Take home wonderful marron glace made from chestnuts gathered in Redon’s woods and shop with the children in Saint-Malo for ‘patates’ (potato-shaped sweets) made of almond paste and kirsch dusted with cocoa and chocolate sardines.

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