Located on France's rugged northwestern coast, Brittany is a region with a rich maritime history and a vibrant culture of seafood. For Jim Gossen, the acclaimed seafood industry leader from Louisiana, it's a destination that has been particularly inspiring.
Last August, he was invited by Breizh Amerika, an organization dedicated to promoting cultural and economic ties between Brittany and USA, to attend and speak at the Interceltic Business Forum.
There, he was able to immerse himself in the region's seafood culture, meet with local fishermen and seafood producers, and forge new connections with like-minded seafood enthusiasts. This time, Jim has returned to Brittany to further explore the seafood delights of this unique corner of France.
Breizh Amerika recently interviewed Jim about his latest trip to Brittany.
Jim, can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Jim Gossen, a Louisiana native with Cajun roots who has dedicated my career to the seafood industry in the Gulf of Mexico. I am proud to have owned and operated six restaurants in Louisiana and Houston, as well as founding Louisiana Foods Global Seafood Source, which grew to become Texas' largest seafood processing and distribution company.
Throughout my career, I have been passionate about promoting the importance of the Gulf's environment as an economic engine and home to diverse cultures, and I have supported innovative marketing efforts to drive demand for Gulf seafood. I have also been an ambassador for the region's fishermen, promoting a vision of a healthy environment going hand-in-hand with productive fisheries. It has been a lifelong mission of mine to promote the cultural importance of the Gulf of Mexico. Lastly, I also serve on many conservation and food organization boards.
Before visiting Brittany for the first time, what did you know about this region?
I knew that Brittany was famous for oysters and the Atlantic coast but other than that I was unaware of Kouign-Amann being created here, nor the quality of the butter and magnificent taste of both.
What surprised you about Brittany, France?
It’s beauty, the friendliness of the people, the decadent Kouign-Amann, the amazing salted butter, its seafood selection, the amount of oyster growers, the Interceltique Festival, and the quality of life.
Can you share a list top places a food lover should visit in Brittany?
I haven't visited the whole region but I've already in love with Saint Malo, Cancale, Pont-Aven, Belon, Lorient, and Quiberon,
Here is a list of places you shouldn't miss if you visit the region:
Chez Jacky - an emblematic place to taste flat oysters from Bélon in southern Brittany. This seafood restaurant has been located on the banks of the river, in Riec-sur-Bélon (Finistère), since 1976. And run by the Noblet family, oyster producers since 1908.
Les Beurres Bordier - It is one of the most famous butters in France, and even in the whole world. The most prestigious restaurants on the planet are supplied by them.
In Saint-Malo, you can capture a little of the atmosphere of the Bordier house in the shop “La maison du beurre” which brings together products for tasting and a small exhibition on the history of butter. An emblematic place in Saint-Malo that delights locals and tourists alike.
Boulangerie de Baye, Angélique et Cedric - When you come to Brittany you need to try a real kouign-amann. The best one I had during my trip was from this award-wining, family owned bakery in Southern Finistere.
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.