the great crêpe challenge

I never knew that crêpes were, like, a thing. I think my mom once bought a pack of frozen “crepes” that we were too lazy to ever defrost and reheat. I figured they were like pancakes for people who like to stay hungry.

But when I was on the ferry to Belle Île, I was told by some fellow tourists that one of the primary vacation activities on the island is crepe-eating – because crêpes are not just a French thing, they’re a Breton thing.

Eager to be a good tourist in Brittany, I got my next lunch from a crêperie truck parked in the plaza in Le Palais, one of the harbor towns on Belle Île. I ordered a ham and cheese crêpe and was corrected: I wanted a ham and cheese “galette”. I just nodded at the woman and took my crêpe. (Later I’d learn that “crêpes” are made from white wheat flour and usually served with sweet fillings/toppings; “galettes” are made from blé noir/buckwheat and are salty or savory).

I was disappointed. The galette was soggy, the ham smarmy. I mean, I still ate it. But I started to think the Bretons needed to get out more.

But back on the mainland a few days later, after stuffing myself with seafood in La-Trinite-Sur-Mer, my dad’s cousin invited me to dinner at one of his favorite crêperies: Crêperie Saint François. There were plenty of happy-looking diners at the little tables in the courtyard, but my expectations were low. Pierre suggested going the “classic” route: cider and a “galette complète” (ham, gruyère, and an egg – also sometimes confusingly called a “crêpe salée complète”).

He poured the cider: cold, dry, bubbly, and good. And then our huge crêpes/galettes arrived. My first bite was one of those dumb food experiences where you stop chewing and just sit there almost frowning for a few seconds, kind of stunned that it tastes so good.

Did the “compléte” seem so perfectly delicious because of my low expectations, the couple glasses of cidre on an empty stomach, or just a magical combination of crispyness and high-quality ingredients?

It became my mission to find out. My relatives were happy to help. During the following few weeks they took me to all their favorite crêperies, and each time I ordered a complète and we waited and wondered – would it be as good as The First One?

The one in Guerande wasn’t. (The cider was still just fine).

Near Morgat, the scenery was stunning and the crêpe was pretty good (at Crêperie Bar du Veryac’h):

And then, in Locronan, at Ty Coz, every crêpe at the table was delicious. (E. said her goat cheese and apple version was the best crêpe she’d ever had):

The winner? I don’t know. I’ll have to go back and try them all again.


Did you think I ate just crêpes all summer? Ha. What about my other five meals a day? I also ate lots of other buttery things — Kouign-amann, cream puffs, and straight-up fresh salted butter (at La Cigale in Nantes):

…and cheese and crackers on the Loire River (it’s not a booze cruise if you’re drinking wine…and there’s a superhero on board):

And plenty of ice cream, mussels, and grilled sausages in between:

More food fun HERE.

 

 

5 comments

  1. Anne-So

    Ah ah Excellent :-))
    Il faut que tu reviennes pour qu’on te fasse goûter d’autres crêpes et gagner le challenge de la “galette complète”. Le challenge de la “crêpe au chocolat” serait pas mal non plus !!

    Like

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