France: Day 9, Rochefort-en-Terre

It’s so nice to be accepted into another family, and to be able to live the way they do for a bit. You get a taste of someone else’s life and habits. That’s when a trip is more than just a visit to a different place, and becomes an experience.

And on our last day in Rochefort-en-Terre, there were still things to do and dishes to eat.

cleaning mussels

Cleaning the mussels for steaming in white wine and onions. This is how Frédéric won Misun’s heart.

curled kitty

This is not a small chair made for a kitty. This is a human-sized chair with a large kitty in it.

steamed mussels

 

quatre-quarts

Quatre-quarts is the French version of pound cake. It means “four quarters”, which refer to the portions of egg, sugar, flour, and butter used. In this version from the Breton region, nothing else is added, which makes it perfect for spreading jam or honey.

feet by the fire

I spent a lot of time doing this.

beef bourguignon

My first taste of authentic beef bourguignon, originally a peasant’s dish, slow-cooked with red wine to tenderize the meat. It was SO GOOD. My saliva glands are swelling just from looking at the picture.

kouign amann

Kouign-amann is another cake that’s authentic to the Breton region. It was traditionally made by flattening any leftover dough from cooking, adding sugar, then buttering one side. The dough would then be folded in half, and one side was buttered again, and this continued until it became the shape of a cake. When baked, the sugar caramelizes and makes the cake a mixture of crunchy and soft. No wonder the name literally means “butter cake” in the Breton dialect.

There’s only a somewhat mild taste (which is why it goes perfect with ice cream), but it’s extremely heavy.

cutting sausage

The thing that threw me off about this sausage is that it’s not very salty. The taste is very mild, and mainly fat. The skin was also quite tough.

Skype

Be home soon.

Savage Coast

Before leaving, we headed out to La Côte Sauvage (the “Savage Coast”), known for the huge waves that pound the stones on shore. This was by far the most challenging shooting condition I’ve ever been in. The winds whipped any shallow water into a froth, which meant it was not only impossible to hold the camera steady, but I was frequently pelted by large waves of foam. A storm had just moved in, and covered the area in dark clouds, covering a lot of important light. The fine spray from the huge crashes was relentless, and ended up covering all my equipment and clothes. I couldn’t change lenses, out of fear that I’d get my sensor dirty; it was hard enough cleaning the water off the glass of my lens.

It was all worth it though. You truly feel like you’re in the middle of untamed nature here, certainly something that isn’t always possible to experience even if you live far out in the country.

Côte Sauvage 1

 

Frédéric

Shot inspired by Caspar David Friedrich’s painting, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog.

Côte Sauvage 2

 

standing on the beach

 

The town of Rochefort-en-Terre

The sun was bright and the air was clear for a few hours, and this was the only opportunity in three days we had to go out to see the town without a torrential downpour ready to soak us in two minutes. The sleepy little village is actually quite an active tourist spot during the peak periods, famous for it’s crêpes (in this town of six restaurants, apparently five of them a crêtperies). That’s when the roads are so crowded that they block all traffic, but on the off-season it’s very quiet and peaceful.

downtown Rochefort-en-Terre

 

country house

 

Morgane in the rain

Morgane says, “I don’t need a coat. I won’t get sick. Seeeeeeeeee?”

chateau de rochefort en terre

Château de Rochefort-en-Terre

corner store

Christmas lights up already.

sheep

A flock of sheep literally across the road from the villa.

side road

 

small church

A chapel on a hill.

statue

Rochefort-en-Terre has been a battleground in several conflicts.

touching seeds

 

old buildings

 

old church

 

rain gutter

A very old rain gutter. How rare would something like this be in North America? There were also cartoonish faces embedded in some of the bricks of a few houses, portraits of the owner and his wife from long ago.

pastry-wagon

Dear Mr. Proprietor, please wheel your pastry wagon 20 feet to my house.

Europe 2010 travel diaries

8 comments

  1. Wonderful things, as per usual. The “very old rain gutter” is a “gargoyle”, isn’t it?

    • I was going to say that I thought it did look like one, but I imagine that one of the distinguishing characteristics of gargoyles are wings.

  2. Dear Jeff,
    Thank you for all the wonderful photos and comments. It really brings some good memories of your stay with us not long ago. I feel terrible that I wasn’t here to say goodbye. I hope that you enjoyed your week in England.
    I look forward to seeing the rest of your trip. Hope the transition back to reality isn’t too difficult.
    All the best,
    Tanya

    • Thanks for the hospitality…next time I’m in Rochefort-en-Terre, I’m definitely picking up that conservateur du beurre!

  3. This batch of photos are my personal favorite in some time…. it reminds me of how I always had envisioned George Sand’s Nohant. (Come to think of it I must look THAT up. )

    The video is so cool, wish it were longer. I didn’t know seafoam could become like soapsuds! Very fun…but not for your equipment….The coast is more rugged than I realized France would have.

    Oooh tell me, did they add any fruit into the boef bourguignon? I make one I adore that calls for cherries.

    For anybody who wants to know, my art history teacher made us swear to remember that rainspout figures were gargoyles, whereas the faces or heads not used for rainflow in the architecture are termed grotesques. Just so she doesn’t haunt you too.

    • I think this coast was particularly rugged, which is why it sort of stands out from the rest in France. I wish the video was longer too, but it was so hard to keep steady with the huge gusts of wind.

      No fruit in the bourguignon, but that sounds like an amazing idea. It’s such a simple recipe, even a single extra flavour would stand out.

  4. I actually find the streets and architecture quite similar to those of Quebec. And Frederic looks like the actor David Morse.

    • I don’t think I’ve been to Quebec enough to tell if the architecture is similar, but certainly in Old Montreal there’s the same kind of European flair and personality in the buildings.

      And Frédéric totally does look like David Morse! I never saw that before, but now I can’t stop thinking it.

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