If you ask Bretons they invented pancakes or as they call them – galettes. And this is the fact they are not ready to debate. Savoury pancakes are tasty traditional food from Brittany made with buckwheat flour. They are eaten as a main course with ham, cheese or eggs. Or for those who are brave enough, even with andouillette, a coarse-grained sausage made with pork intestines.
For centuries the galettes made from buckwheat flour was the staple food for the people in Brittany. Buckwheat flour (or sarrasin in French) came originally from Central Asia and was introduced into Europe at the time of the Crusades. Even if buckwheat is still grown in Brittany, it is no longer staple food but it is used to make traditional galettes. This simple food was usually eaten with sardines and eggs, but today is often accompanied by ham, cheese or sausages. In some more luxuries recipes, pancakes from buckwheat are even eaten with “Saint James” shell.
To make the Brittany style pancakes is more or less simple. You will need a buckwheat flour, pinch of salt, a little water and butter. The buckwheat flour and salt are mixed with water in a large bowl. The batter is spread evenly with a light wooden implement called rouable on the cast-iron griddle (also know as a galetière in French). When the pancake is nicely baked, it can be “filled” with different ingredients. The common way is to put a little bit of butter in the center and than a slice of ham. Then to break an egg over the ham and cook it for few extra minutes. And at the end to put some cheese on top and fold the side of galette over. Voilà! The traditional galette from Brittany is ready.
Buckwheat galettes are mainly eaten as a main course. Sweet pancakes (crepes in French) that you can have for a dessert, are on the other hand, made of wheat flour and have various fillings, from jam to chocolate or honey. Traditionally, lait ribot, sort of buttermilk accompanied well salty pancakes but also a local cider, an alcoholic drink made from fermented apples or even a glass of cold chouchen, made from fermented honey.
The award for the best galette in the world goes to… No, this is not a joke, there is really a competition for the best galette in Brittany and therefore in France. Last year, “Mad’moiselles Breizh”, the restorant won the first price and since then you need to call a months in advance to book a table!
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