Friday, 8 July 2011

Le Conquet, Partie II

Posts for 5-7 July 2011

Ferme de Keringar


If, for some strange reason, you were only permitted to make one thing with butter, pastry, and the caramelisation process, kouign-amann should be that one thing. As I noted in my previous post, my taxi driver en route to Le Conquet suggested I try this buttery dessert (which should not be consumed lightly) before I leave Brittany; who knew a bike ride in the Breton rain into Le Conquet would eventually lead me to my notice of this regional specialty? Flaky, sticky, and oh-so-buttery, this is one dish I wish you the best of luck to stay away from.

Perhaps today was my regional specialty day, but the open air market also presented kig ha farz (or try this recipe; take note of different spellings for the same dish), the other suggested dish I try. It was a bit difficult to eat when separated and presented to me as shown above, but when combined together, everything worked. As the vendor/cook explained to me, the base of this dish (left) is the farz, or to put another way, flour cooked in water and then strained (giving this dish an alternative name of far en sac). As you can see in the photo, there are two types of farz that are prepared. The lighter one is called farz blanc and is made of essentially crêpe-based ingredients (notably all-purpose flour), resulting in a sweeter taste and creamier consistency; the darker one is farz noir and is made of galette-based ingredients (notably farine de blé -- buckwheat flour), resulting in a more savoury and drier taste. These are eaten together with ham (in the form of thick slab bacon, etc.) which is stewed alongside carrots, cabbage, and potatoes. To finish off the richness of this dish, a simple sauce of shallots and butter is drizzled on top of the meal. Three distinct components, one clear Breton-style cooking.

After lunch, we broke up into smaller groups for movies in French at Le Conquet and, following some Internet café time, headed back to Keringar for dinner. We began with a tarte au chèvre, which was both creamy and had the distinct, saltier taste of goat cheese as one would expect. For our main course, we were presented with a potato gratin and, of course, jambon.

For dessert, we ended our meal with Far Breton aux Pruneaux, also known as far au four. Similar in consistency and ingredients as the farz blanc mentioned above, the batter is baked, and is sweetened and given textural contrast by the addition of prunes.


Today was our first day of the students’ mini stages (within the context of our programme, work placements) both on the Ferme de Keringar and throughout Le Conquet. From the specifically foodie lens, some of the students baked bread with grade schoolers, others worked either in a poissonerie or chacuterie, and a few even worked in the kitchen at the farm. The stages took place in the morning, with another set of hours to be completed tomorrow. This said, following the stages, we went into Le Conquet for lunch and I had my first galette which did not remind me of cacao (which I'm still trying to decide if that's a good thing or not). As evidenced by the past few days of eating, I can say once you have tasted the cuisine of one restaurant, it starts to blur into a general sense of regional cuisine among others in close proximity. Nevertheless, it's very difficulty to mess with egg, ham, and cheese.


Following an afternoon of activity--whether at a ropes course or playing cards back at the farm--we reconvened for dinner and were treated to a first course of vegetable soup which two of the students had prepped during their stage. Clearly stewed for quite some time, the rustic approach to vegetable soup (here, carrots, onions, and turnips; side note: I learned earlier today that turnip in French is navet) was a perfect way to start off an evening meal which had been preceded by chillier weather than expected.

And then, who would've guessed it, this evening was the group's first taste of kig ha farz! Needless to say, everything combined together worked perfectly. It was also a lot easier to explain to the group what we were eating given my previous encounters with it.

For dessert, the students presented us with a large tarte aux pommes (and by large, I mean this was one tart that fed 24 easily), which had also been prepped by them. In addition, the tart was served with a crème anglaise which held the flavours together.


It’s rather difficult to imagine, but today is our last full day in Keringar before our departure to Paris. Following the second round of mini stages, we divided into three groups, each of which went to a different restaurant. It seems, in this region at least, one can expect to find one of three staples: galette, pizza, and pasta. Not that these are terrible choices, I'd just like to include here that I'm looking forward to a more diverse list of choices in Paris and the near future. In any case, I went with a ham and cheese pizza, which was once again accompanied by an egg for added richness. As for dessert, I chose an apple and passion fruit combo.

Following an evening presentation of the students' mini stages and language lesson games, we had dinner together and celebrated our last night on the farm. Yesterday’s sous chefs, along with the addition of another and myself, helped prepare this evening’s dinner of poulet bourginon. For dessert, and to also celebrate the birthday of one of our students, our last taste of Le Conquet was in the form of a trifle-esque parfait.

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