Welcome to our Brittany Blog
Tuesday, 6th November 2018
Baguettes, a national treasure.
The french are very proud of their baguettes, and quite rightly so!, I drive 15km to our favourite boulangerie for a baguette tradition!
Baguettes could soon be recognised as an official part of France’s cultural heritage by Unesco.
If successful, French baking and patisserie would be officially recognised as “intangible cultural heritage”, and recorded on the prestigious Intangible World Heritage List.
The traditional bakery sector in France is worth €11 billion, comprising 32,000 companies and 180,000 employees.
In recent years due to a sharp drop in demand for traditionally-made bread, as well as competition from supermarkets there is a real concern for the traditional French boulangerie.
Thursday, 1st November 2018
Toussaint and chrysanthemums
Toussaint, today we celebrate the lives of family and friends that have died.
The first of November is Toussaint (All Saints' Day). This Catholic holiday is a holy day of obligation and a public holiday in France. Families come together and usually go to the cemetery to honor their deceased relatives and put chrysanthemums on their graves. In France, this is pretty much the only time of year that you see this flower, because it's associated with death here so never give chrysanthemums as a gift.
The next day is All Souls' Day. In many countries, this is the day that people are supposed to go to the cemetery. But since 2 November isn't a public holiday, the French tend to go the day before.
Tuesday, 23rd October 2018
Cannabis pizza anyone?
A pizza restaurant in Lille has created the city’s first ever legal pizza dough made with cannabis.
The restaurant has managed to keep this pizza legal by using hemp flour, purchased from a local organic food shop, rather than leaves or oil of cannabis itself.
Hemp, which originally comes from the cannabis plant and has the botanical name of “Cannabis Sativa L”, is legal in France. It contains less than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element in cannabis that causes users to become “high”.
Despite this, orders for the pizzas have risen by 30% since the new flour’s introduction, and have even attracted a visit from four local police officers keen to check out the legality of the new dish.
The chef explained that it is just like any other flour but has an added nutty taste. Hemp flour also has significant health benefits, it is a good source of protein and fibre, and is easily digestible.
Monday, 15th October 2018
JCB set to work at La Maison Rose
It is with quite an indecent haste that Mark has a JCB ripping up the garden at La Maison Rose. The last guests have literally just left, just hours ago.
One of the benefits of living in a small community is that you don't have to look far if you want something done. You will ask one person, if they can't help they will put you in contact with someone else...
Mark first met Jean-Claude about 7 years ago when they talked about wood. A couple of years later we needed some amendments to a septic tank and after asking around, someone said, you need to speak to Jean-Claude, he has a JCB. It appears that Jean Claude carries out all of the necessary ground works in Réminiac!
Today, he is creating a new parking spot at La Maison Rose!, but already 2 people have stopped him ( Jean Claude, not Mark!) to talk about hiring him and his JCB for an hour or so!
So, yes it is all about who you know!
Wednesday, 10th October 2018
Beneath the Elysee Palace
As part of the European Heritage Weekend, the Elysee Palace, home of French presidents since 1848 opened its doors to the public for just 2 days!
Under President Emmanuel Macron's office and the Elysee's 18th-century golden reception rooms is an underground world where a small battalion of workers makes the whole place tick. They labour out of sight in a maze of austere corridors and narrow rooms with artificial light and grey and beige walls.
Every morning, the basement comes to life when fresh produce, fish and meats are delivered to the kitchen and checked for quality. Most of the food — except items like coffee and chocolate — is sourced in France. The kitchen staff of 28 people, plus apprentices, serves 92,000-95,000 meals per year. They cook daily for Macron and his wife Brigitte and for some Elysee employees, and handle official dinners, big events like receptions at the Chateau of Versailles west of Paris and prepare in-flight meals for the presidential plane. Presidential tastes and menus remain one of the best-kept secrets of the Elysee.
From the kitchen, a dark corridor leads to one of the most protected places of the Elysee: the wine cellar.
A first room presents a selection of classic wines for working lunches and dinners and a selection of aperitif drinks.
The second cellar, much bigger, is protected by a locked door. Higher quality bottles are stocked there and all visitors are banned from entering.
The head sommelier's mission is to select wines that fit with the chef's menu and to buy the finest vintages to replace them: exclusively French, of course.
The multiple underground corridors seem like a labyrinth to outsiders. But the smell of flowers points the way to the florists' rooms.Three people prepare flower table decorations that will then systematically be re-used in other bouquets. The flowers are only displayed when needed for an event, and then immediately go back into cold storage in the Elysee basement.
The flowers are matched to suit the tablecloths and tableware and the flower colours are chosen so that they don't clash with the clothes worn by visiting heads of state. Roses are regularly used but not lilies as they are too fragrant, and not mimosas, because they can provoke allergic reactions.
It is just another world!, but it is fun just to have the tiniest glimpse of what goes on beneath the Elysee Palace.
Tuesday, 2nd October 2018
Butchers are Murderers
I don't think that veganism or vegetarianism will ever catch on in Brittany!
Organic food is still deemed as a bit weird and hippy!. I remember when Iona and Joe were at Primary school the teacher planned to do a series of lessons on the benefits of organic foods and organic farming. Wow, the poor teacher, i don't think she could have possibly imagined the backlash from just the mere suggestion that organic foods are an option. The parents were up in arms, complaints to the mayor...there was only one lesson on organic foods.
But in the larger cities vegans are certainly making their views known, as they have publicly called butchers 'murderers' and 'food terrorists'.
Last Saturday, a day of protests was organised by vegan activist group Boucherie Abolition.
The group describes itself as “anti-speciesist”, which means it is opposed to the idea that human beings are superior to other animals on Earth.
They have branded butchers as “murderers” and “food terrorists”, calling for “zoo-icide” to be criminalised and “shops of the zoo-locaust” to be closed. Some said that "being a butcher is not a real job' and one activist stood outside a butchers shop with a small pig and cradled it like a baby.
One activist said: “We will finally be able to show the real victims. Speciesism is similar to white supremacy and other oppression such as racism. We will leave shops in peace when they leave animals in peace."
In response, one shop customer said: “They are idiots, these vegans. It is ridiculous to want to force people to stop eating meat.” Now, that was definitely a Breton!
Tuesday 4th September
Mobile phones banned in schools
Mobile phones have been banned for primary and middle school pupils in France amid a government drive to improve focus and prevent online bullying.
The government passed a law banning their use during the school day, with exceptions for disabled children and in case of an emergency.
French high schools, which take pupils aged 15 and over, are able to put their own rules in place.
It comes as studies of British adults show up to 70% believe a similar move should be implemented in the UK