Ever since I can remember, my French grandfather, Papi, has stood stoically at the platform of the TGV in Quimper, proudly awaiting the arrival of his offspring, les americains, les veeps (V.I.P.’s). As we descend the steps of the train, we breathe a sigh of relief. The traveling is over. We have arrived at what I might call our second home. And, with the same reliable welcoming, we know that we will be eating crêpes and drinking cidre at a crêperie along the way home.
So, when I arrived in Quimper this weekend, exhausted from a seven hour plane and a five hour train, I was overjoyed to see Papi and to know that I would be having one of my favorite meals. Originally, I had planned to document my meal, but let’s face it, I was overcome by jet lag and extreme lack of sleep to even remember to do so. All I could think about at that moment was food and sleep. So, instead, what I will do is recount our feast of crêpes and cidre, and share with you a few of the photographs that I managed to take during my post-travel recovery.
To quench our thirst, Papi ordered a bottle of cidre, fermented apple cider native to Bretagne (this stuff is so delicious you nearly forget that you are drinking an alcoholic beverage). I began with a beautifully lacy, perfectly golden crêpe au blé noir (buckwheat flour) with gruyère, tomato, and a sunny side up egg, similar to a complète, which is composed of gruyère, ham, and egg. Papi had a goat cheese crêpe, simple, yet equally as delicious and flavorful. After devouring that first, well-deserved crêpe I then proceeded to have one gruyère crêpe and one tomato crêpe, while Papi had a second goat cheese crêpe as well as a ham crêpe.
Needless to say, crêpes are simple creations, evocative of Bretagne’s peasant roots, when a crêpe meant merely a crêpe au beurre, no filling involved. “Putting ingredients in a crêpe is a result of tourism,” according to Papi. “When I was a boy we ate crêpes au beurre once or twice a week. Twelve of them at one meal if we were quite hungry.” Well, thank goodness for evolution, because I am sure that this would not be one of my favorite meals if I were limited to crêpe au beurre. Papi agrees.