Leave it to a global pandemic for Brittany to have a summer packed with tourists. The annual summer French tradition of "les vacances" saw a grand exodus from Paris but much of the travel remained within the Hexagon. Staying close to home led many to test out the waters in Brittany. So much so that Brittany registered 54 million hotel night stays for July and August, 2nd only in France to New Aquitaine. All these new tourists also got to eat local, even some specialities that come from a can.
Brittany, the most western region of France, has also been a bit different. From its unique language (Brezhoneg) that bears more of a ressemblance to Irish Gaelic than French, to strong musical traditions, but also to amazing food. A European powerhouse for agriculture and fishing, Breton cuisine delights with the simple goodness of the high quality locally sourced products. The inventors of the crepe have also taken over the world with the very decadent kouign amann.
Canned Goods Chefs Keep in Their Pantries
The mass of tourists were probably more interested in dining on some freshly fished langoustine missing out on a speciality that every Breton keeps at home. But Breton canned specialities have recently caught the eye of New York Magazine. The mix of a global pandemic and shelter-in-place has led to a renewed interest in fine canned goods and Brittany has some excellent ones. NY Mag, known for its long formats on American cultural and political life, selected the 52 best tinned goods that chefs keep in the their pantries. At the top of the list were the sardines from Les Mouettes d'Arvor and Pate Henaff.
Henaff, a family affair since 1907, has a special place in Breton food hearts. The closely guarded recipe for this pate of the finest pork from Brittany blended with spices has always been there when Bretons have had a "petit creux". Helping to create a cult status from fisherman going on a long journey, apéro between friends or for those just looking for late night snack. Henaff is so renowned that US space agency NASA asked them to team up with French chef Alain Ducasse to design and package a “special occasion” menu of treats for astronauts heading to the International Space Station.
Can't get to Brittany anytime soon? Check out Epicerie Fine Hénaff & Co.
is an organization established to create, facilitate, promote, and sponsor wide-ranging innovative and collaborative cultural and economic projects that strengthen and foster relations and cooperation between the United States of America and the region of Brittany, France.