The time has come that summer scoots off for it’s hiberation. Holidays are up, funs over, kids. But, still I managed to squeeze in a little weekend break in France. Where? In my favourite place ever, obviously – Brittany.
I love taking some time out of my own little bubble to live in a different culture, even if it’s just a few days. It makes you realise what us Brit’s have and haven’t quite got right! Here’s my quick fire 10 best bits from Brittany.
The 10 Best Bits from Brittany
1) There are NO chain restaraunts
Really, there are no chain restaraunts in any small towns. And I can tell you, they are not missing out. Every typically French restaraunt you will end up in is absolutely divine. Check out L’Olliada in Grace Uzel. A little family run gem, hidden away in a cosy converted barn next to their home. French through and through.
2) Their bars serve you more than just a pint
Wander around and keep an eye out for a ‘Tabac’ sign, it will usually lead you into the local bar. Think of a place you can rock up for a coffee in the morning, or a beer later in the day. Add to that you can pick up your lottery ticket, smokes and even your baguette on a Sunday. Painfully and wonderfully French! Check out Edelweiss in Plessala for a friendly local bar with regular music nights. With a little feline reguluar too..
3) It’s beautiful countryside
It’s a far cry from the London suburbs. You can go walking for miles. There’s fields of corn, cows grazing and every little village must have maintenance men that would be up to Kew Gardens standards, as all the plants are blooming beautiful. Not a motorway in sight (or in sound – bloody M25 on my doorstep!).
4) All the wine is amazing
I am a wine drinking expert, but wine choosing expert? Not so much. So, it was a pleasant surprise that every glass was of seriously good quality. We didn’t bring back much honest..
5) There’s a lot to visit too
Okay, so when you do eventually want to break out of the sleepy countryside, there are so many cool towns to see and explore. Try Dinan (pictured below) for some charming old buildings, Pontivy for a spot of history, or St Brieuc for some shopping. There’s also the Mont St Michael to see on the way home.
6) The boulangeries – They had a bread vending machine!
Bread is of serious importance in France. Out of hours? No problem, an actual baguette vending machine is located outside your closed Boulangerie! I love that I am not the only visitor to be amazed by this, as this French enthusiast blogger has made note too! Big up the a-m-a-z-i-n-g patisserie also.
7) Strawberry Kronenbourg. Say no more
It’s a thing and it’s soooooo good. Kronenbourg avec fraise syrup.
8) The friendliest locals
Strip away the stereotype about the French. I’ve made friends in France far quicker than any back home. Brittany has loads of ex-pat’s living the dream too, so most local villages expect a Brit or two. It’s a relief that their English is better than my French. The only picture I have is blurry, featuring my beau, red-wine drunk with our French buddies, playing piano (another story..) So, here’s a picture of Pontivy instead!
9) It spins at it’s own pace
Maybe it’s just me, living so close to London inevitably means that things are fast-paced big city style. One of the Breton charms is that you feel completely detached from that. Walking around sleepy villages, you realise that the illusion of busy = better is..well, rubbish. Even in the larger towns they seem more relaxed. Take the 12-2 lunch thing, annoying at first, but on closer inspection, it’s great. I bet their office workers never skip lunch!
10) The best bit? It’s only an hour away
Legit, you can fly to Brittany from London in less time that in takes me to commute to East London. It’s a 55 minute flight. In under an hour you can be in the bliss of the French countryside. Sorry to my international readers as that may not be quite so accurate..
Get up off the couch and book that trip! If my guide hasn’t tempted you enough than just think of all the airport toblerone you will have to bring back too (yep, munching as I write..).
Vegan Bagel Stack
This powerhouse vegan bagel stack was thrown together with all the leftover bits in my fridge, result! It was what we call in our house, a ‘cobbler’. Combining smoky peri-peri hummus, smashed avocado, fresh basil leaves, shredded carrots, toasted pine nuts and baby spinach. It turned out absolutely divine. This is a real vegetarian vitamin hit and is super filling. Not forgetting to mention, all this is quished together inside a toasted rye & pumpkin bagel. I’m salivating at the thought!
Now, whilst I eat predominantly plant based any way, I don’t go out of my way to vegan-ize (sorry!) .Still, it’s always a little extra bonus to know you’ve managed to avoid all animal based products whilst creating new meals in the kitchen! Add to that I was using up supplies to avoid waste, you’ve got yourself a real all-round eco lunch.
Yes, Vegan Food is Filling
After enjoying this tasty lunch I went on to the club and played tennis for HOURS. Even after all the running around I did on court, I didn’t feel hungry in the slightest. So that breaks any pre-conception you might have that vegan food isn’t as filling. I’m no expert at vegan foods, but I find if I load up a meal with lots of healthy fats like those found in nuts & seeds it does the trick. Not only does it add extra crunch and flavour, but it keeps me full up for longer.
I was hoping to use my own grown basil by this time, although it’s all gone to seed, so I got a fresh bunch to use. Not going to lie, I was tempted to call this my own grown but I’m a terrible liar! Basil is definitely one of my top herbs to use, it’s great on pretty much everything.
Just Say No To Packet Sandwiches!
I’m trying to vary my lunches at the moment, as I am on a bit of a post-holiday health kick. I have had so many salads that this vegan bagel stack was a welcome change to the normal fare. Also, if I was going out to the sandwich shop I would have been very tempted to have something filled with cheese. Think I made the right call for my healthy eating plan to stay home and prep this. I’m sure you’ve had those moments where you think another boring pre-packed sandwich just won’t do!
Variety is the Spice of Life
You can change up the flavour ideas as much as you want in a recipe like this. I used a spicy peri hummus as a base on one side, with the smashed avocado on the other. However, if you aren’t a fan of spice you could always opt for plain hummus and put some time into seasoning the avocado instead. I usually would dress it with lemon, black pepper and coriander. This time around I left it plain as I had a lot of other flavours going on already.
Y’know, just in case you want to re-create my lunch creation…
- 2 Pumpernickel bagels
- 1 Tbsp peri peri hummus
- 1 Smashed avocado
- Small, thinly sliced carrot
- Fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts