The terroir of Finistère satisfies the busy lunchtime diner with two key products, le blé noir and le lait ribot. Both masculine nouns. Blé means wheat and noir means black but the US word for the crop is buckwheat. Buckwheat is not a wheat. In fact, it is not a cereal but a fruit which yields a starchy flour darkened by specks of broken seed coat. In Brittany the flour is made up into savoury pancakes with milk and eggs, and called une galette.
We all enjoyed our galettes at Crêperie Chez Mamie, at number 4 Impasse de la Gare, 29000 Quimper, France. In fact Mamie’s pancake house is just across the road from the two stations, the bus station and the railway station. Joined-up thinking by the Finistère authorities to place the coach and train station on the same site. Crêperie Chez Mamie prides itself on being bio, that is organic, and reducing food miles by using local producers, which it boasts on the reverse of its menus. The service is super-fast if you ask for it, and full of tourism knowledge if you say you have time to stay and chat. I didn’t, so I ate my delicious galette quickly then headed out for my writing lesson at the écrithèque.
Staying in the writing and eating theme, our evening meal was at the resto Chez Max, in a courtyard just beside 8, rue du Parc, 29000 Quimper where the proprietor devoted himself to our dining and literary tourism needs all evening. Alas, we could not locate the French original of that stanza from my previous blog post, even though chestnut trees stood beside the River Odet on the rue du Parc just outside. The challenge remains. Chez Max, in the converted tailor’s workshops of Max Jacob’s parents, has its own collection of books and scrapbooks of the poet and writer. I noticed at least one diner who had forgotten she was there to eat; she stayed looking through the archive material all evening. She appeared to be taking photographs of one of the books.
Je voudrais prendre des photos de ce livre, si c’est possible. I’d like to take some photos of this book, if that’s OK. Asking permission, or saying what you’d like to do is best introduced by the conditional of the verb vouloir, to want. Je veux, can seem rather forward of you, so soften it to the more polite, je voudrais.
I chose a white wine, Quincy (yes, pronounce it Can like Quimper) an AOC from the Centre region made on the Domaine Roux, many miles upstream on the River Loire. Jean Claude Roux uses sauvignon blanc grapes to produce a white with a palette that reminds me of mangosteens, that fruit which is currently finding its way into superfood drinks in the UK.
Posted in: Travels with Charlie in Search of French