10 great ideas for teatime
When you’ve been rushing about all day, good old-fashioned teatime is just what is needed to restore flagging energy levels. Fortunately, Brittany is home to lots of tasty treats that all the family will love and which will also help you get to know the region better...this time with your taste buds. Kids will love salted butter caramel, Breizh cola (Brittany's very own cola) as well as ripe and juicy fresh Plougastel strawberries or sweet and savoury filled pancakes – yum!
This is the essential ingredient in all Breton recipes. Even in cakes, the butter is salted. This speciality dates back to the Middle Ages, when salt was the only way of conserving food. When France brought in la gabelle, a tax on salt, most regions stopped salting their butter. But at that time, Brittany wasn’t under French rule, and since then, Breton butter has kept its salty flavour. Spread on bread or on a crêpe, it’s simply delicious!
Butter, sugar, chocolate, banana, or frangipane; with or without ice-cream, crêpes go with so many yummy things that your children will certainly find something they like. You’ll find them all over Brittany, in one of the many crêperies, bakeries or local markets. And parents can wash down this traditional Breton speciality with a bowl or bolée of cider.
Not too big, vibrant red in colour and most of all full of flavour, Plougastel strawberries are just made for lazy summer days, for both young and old alike. Brought back from Chile by Amédée-François Frézier in 1714, this fruit adapted well to the oceanic climate of the Finistère region, similar to that of South America. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Plougastel area was responsible for more than a quarter of France’s strawberry production.
Breton palet biscuits
Palets are delicious thick-cut buttery biscuits that are found across Brittany. Made from shortcrust pastry using salted butter and vanilla flavoured sugar, they take their name from the game palet which your kids might also come across. In the game, a metal disk, the palet, is thrown onto a wooden board and it's because the biscuits are a similar shape that they got their name.
In Breton, kouign (pronounced a bit like 'queen') means cake and amann means butter. Add some sugar and you’ll have the three ingredients of this delicious cake! Even though the ingredients are simple, it’s not quite so easy to make; as the old adage goes “All can try, not all will succeed”. While it’s cooking, the butter-sugar mix melts and gives the cake a melt in your mouth texture on the inside and a caramelised one on the outside. Very hard to resist!
Salted butter caramels
Invented by Henri Le Roux, a chocolate maker from the Quiberon area, the slightly salted butter caramels, with crushed walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds won the prize for the Best Sweets in France in 1980. Since then, their success has never waned. Today, they exist in many forms: as a creamy spread to go with crêpes, as ice-creams, in cakes or macaroons...delicious!
The far breton is a classic cake. The recipe is very easy: flour, eggs, milk, butter and sugar, all cooked in the oven. Simple, but delicious! This cake normally has prunes in it, but you can also make it without or add a few raisins if you fancy. Quite hearty, it will fill up hungry little tummies at teatime, especially if it’s washed down with a glass of local apple juice.
Niniche de Quiberon
The niniche is a long thin boiled sweet from the Quiberon area. The sweet was created in 1946 by Raymond and Yvonne Audebert, owners of the Maison d’Armorine sweet factory. Since then, this family-run business has expanded and now offers more than fifty types of niniches, each different but equally delicious: tropical fruit, cola, chocolate, honey, strawberry-milk, mint, caramel–coconut, caramel–orange...
In the Rance valley, craquelins are a childhood favourite with many Bretons, who used to spread them with butter and dunk them in their hot chocolate. The recipe has been around since the Middle Ages: the mixture, made from flour, eggs and water, is poached in boiling water before going into the oven. This is what makes these little bread biscuits crack when you bite into them before simply melting in your mouth. Nowadays, you can find them filled with fruit or caramel, and covered in chocolate.
The marketing slogan says “The cola from the Phare West”. It’s a clever pun as in French phare means ‘lighthouse’ and there are lots in Brittany; but it’s also a play on the sound of ‘Far West’ in English. However, Breizh cola has a taste that is distinctively and decidedly different from the famous American brand. Produced since 2002 by the Lancelot brewery, it now represents around 10% of the cola market in Brittany. Breizh Cola was also the first fizzy drink brand to bring out a version made using extracts from the stevia plant in 2010; a string of successes that will certainly be a hit with your teenagers.