Thursday, May 22, 2014

Euro 2014 - Close to Home

This episode is where our hero proves that one does not have to drive for hours and hours in order to traverse incredibly narrow roads, get lost with arcane instructions, and yet still find valuable photo opportunities. 

There is so much natural beauty on the Brittany coast and we had barely scratched the surface on what was just around us.  So in light of the fact that we'd miscalculated numerous times and spent many hours driving just to get to the locales we wanted and was very much saddle sore from driving, we made a pact this last week to try and stay close to home. 

I really wish we could have taken some pictures or videos of some of the roads we drive on.  They are so incredibly narrow with building walls right on the road side. hilly, curvy.  You are going down one of these in the middle of nowhere and a bus or a truck comes and you have stop and find a place to off to the side which may mean going in reverse.  The signage is always some what arcane.  We have Wife madly looking at two or three maps, the GPS sometimes working, sometimes not.  It is actually great fun in spite of the stress and truth be known Wife and I actually seek out these types of things.  Something about the adventure of navigation and discovery.  Sometimes you do all this work and you get to the site and it's "You call this a two star vista!!!!".  Other times it is "OK this is wow!"

But First A Word From Our Gastronomer

Fruits de Mer - The Tower of Seafood

This little place with the blue lobster on the wall is a seafood shop that has a small tasting room where you can enjoy a variety of mollusks and crustaceans.

The Plateau de Fruits de Mer is a real 'must have' for those who like such things.  Much like my experience in Concale, it is something that escaped me all these years.  We saw this place when we were with the 3s in Tréguier on Monday so we made a reservation for the next day.

Really excellent quality 
 Le Gouffre

This means the abyss or gulf in French and is the major point of attraction (two stars according to Michelin) in the presqu'Ile de Plougrescant.  Since our time was almost done after our lunch we said we had to find it.

After wandering around we found this
Nice but not the Gouffre

Ah, that's better

I never knew Brittany was big on the list of vacation spots for snakes but evidently so since there are signs specifically for them.

 Real scenes from Gouffre

If It's Wednesday, We Must Be Looking For Pointes

That would be the French word for a point of land that sticks out into the sea where one frequently finds panoramas.  Les Pointes are never on major roads.  They always require wandering into the small roads that you only have if you've bought and very detailed local map.  They are never in your GPS.

We spent a whole bunch of time looking for this place going down the worst of the narrow roads of the day.
It would have been great except for being all overgrown with trees.

We had much better luck later on after lunch at Pointe de Minard
The weather even cleared up for us a bit after being pretty hazy all day

We saw this trail on arriving that would take us down closer to the water
We took a pass on that one

Then we saw this trail that went parallel (in fact our good friend the GR 34) and we followed that for a while

Local Stuff

The town of Tréguier from its harbor

Looking at our local church in Plougrescant when I drive up in the morning for bread

My view of the sea as I drive back with my bread

Salt Butter Caramels

This takes a bit of explanation.  Like so many places there are certain food items that a place is known for.  In New Mexico we have chile.  In Maryland they have crabs.  In Minnesota they have...well I'm not sure what they have but I'm sure Terri will let me know.  In Brittany there are a number of things.  Butter is one.  The butter here is freaking great let me tell you.  And it is always salted which while the norm in the US is totally the exception in France.  And they are known for making these caramels using the salted butter.  Except for the fact that this craft really has mostly died off and what you have is mass produced plonk that is passed off as the real thing.

We did our research and found a little place only open two days during the week that in fact made the real thing in Tréguier.  The first time we went there they were closed for their pre-season cleaning.  But we succeeded on the second time.  There are three people total in this shop.  The guy you see below who makes the candy.  A woman who bags everything.  And a young lady who handles the front and 'all other duties assigned'.  All there are are four ingredients; sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream.  I took these pictures through a glass wall so I apologize for the lack of clarity.
Here he is cutting and measuring butter

The butter waiting to be added
 If you look carefully on the left you can see the large cooking station with a paddle sticking out where he was turning the sugar, corn syrup mixture as it caramelized.

I'm not much of a candy person but these were incredible.


Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

Yum, caramels! I wish I could try one.

Let's see, if I had to guess Minnesotan specialties, I would say walleye, hotdish, wild rice, and fried food at the fair. But I'm sure Terri will have better suggestions.

Diana said...

It has been a real treat to follow your blog (after realizing you two are afoot in Europe!) The photos and posts are terrific...Steve & I travel vicariously through you and Gloria. Thanks for the glimpses of life abroad. And we thought having a drone to survey our vegetable fields was exciting...wait, it's true!

Agent W said...

Such wonderful adventures you are having! What a sweet surprise to find the caramels!

Juan Arroz said...

Bravo more, more!!!