The Bay of St. MichelSeptember 8, 2017 in France
This morning we hike the coastal trail of Normandy and Brittany. It's lovely and we are thrilled to be walking outdoors. The weather is cloudy, foggy and misty but it's not actually raining. Later, with the undulating ups and downs of the trail, we realize we are pretty warm and the layers begin coming off.
We reach the lovely town of Cancale where the group stops for a second breakfast....of oysters!!!
People are gathering at the oyster market on the beach and so are we. Annie orders two dozen oysters which are opened as we watch. She has selected the medium size. Whoo - Bill and I watch with interest, but have no interest in trying these slimy, wet bivalves and surely not at 9am. They are judged fresh, briney, clean tasting and delicious. Two dozen disappear with much slurping. We march on.
This bay is famous as the heart of the oyster farming industry - along with other seafood like scallops, mussels and prawns. We will visit assign oyster growing co-op in the afternoon. But first, a stop for lunch at Cancale. We sit on the porch of this little restaurant and savor the view over the bay. Lunch is served. The most popular choice at the table is moules frites. To everyone's alarm, there are five dozen perfect mussels in a delicious sauce. The serving size is enormous! Only one person finished his allotment. Bill has ordered the whole fish. He expertly fillets it and finishes with a flourish. I've ordered cous-cous. The serving is ENORMOUS: 5 shrimp, four mussels, a chunk of sea beam, a chunk of salmon, four merguez sausages. On a huge bowl of warm cous-cous. Yikes. I give up about 1/3 of the way through. Everyone saves room for dessert of course! It's the French way...
Of then for more of the coastal walk above the sea. Then onward to a visit to the oyster growing co-op of the Bay of St. Michel. The managers are charming. They tell the story of oyster fishing in Brittany over the centuries. There is an excellent documentary in English about the movement to 'oyster farming.' It's low tide, so we can see the frames where the oysters are grown. We see the factory floor where the oysters are washed many times, sorted by size, packed for shipping and sent to Paris in refrigerated trucks. It's a fascinating story. And then they offer us -oysters.
No one wants more food...we just had lunch about an hour earlier. But everyone soldiers on, not wanting to offend our gracious hosts. It's 3 inn the afternoon. More Montrechat is poured. Plates of fresh oysters and seafood pate arrive; We are DONE FOR. Whew, we do best imitation of enthusiasm and ultimately stagger out for the trip to our hotel in Dinan. Burp.
Dinner later in Dinan in a very elegant 16th century building. Three courses, lots of wine, cream, garlic and laughter. It's the French way...Read more