Archive for December 17th, 2017

December 17, 2017

The drink of Brittany, the ciders!!

Well, we do drink beers and have some good ones (see previous posts), and wine but not really; the original to go alone with the galettes and crêpes is the cider of Brittany. We love it and buy by the case ::)

Let me tell you a bit about them, as they can differed a bit from areas within Brittany, and we drink mostly those in the Morbihan dept 56. You can find out about the Breton ciders here:

An organization especialising about those in Finistére dept 29 is here:

And to locate a good cider distillery you can look here:

Now some background onto them:

The designation Appellation Cidre de Bretagne or Cidre Breton is a protected geographical area such as a Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP) since 2000.  According to the Union Nationale Interprofessionnelle Cidricole, the Breton ciders are characterized by a variant color from straw yellow to tainted or woody brown  according to the varietal composition and the terroir (site of cultivation of apples). Now site in renovation but you can reach when done thru here:

The variety Guillevic label rouge given since 2000 is done using apples of the Guillevic variety only, pure juice ,not gasified not adulterer and non pasteurized.  It is produce in my area of the Morbihan and it is with a soft acidic flavor and aromas of fresh fruit, flowers, and exotic fruits like pineapples. The body is pale yellow, with green reflects, crystalline with fine persistent bubbles.

The Breton Cider is serve in cups of terracotta shiny smooth call Bolées small bowls with handle or without and the form in cylindrical style. You have Cidre doux or sweet with less than 3 degrees alcohol, Cidre Demi-Sec or half dry with alcohol between 3-4 degrees and the Cidre Brut with alcohol of 4 degrees or more usually 5,5 degrees.

The production of fermented apples is known in Brittany since the 8C. In the 12C several varieties of apples from Spain (I started drinking the ciders of Asturias Spain !) were grafted with local varieties to improved their concentration of tannins and the conservation of ciders.  Until the end of the 19C the harvest of apples and the cider production was very loose and the price varies in the same proportions according to the harvest of apples, the offer and the quality. Brittany produces 40% of all cider consumed in France with the biggest producers located in a radius of 60 km around the city of Rennes, representing 84% of the volume in Brittany. Also, in addition, you have about 70 artisans local producers in farms that gives a different twist to this wonderful drink.

As to the production and apples we have plenty to tell, to condense here it is.

The first ciders arrive in the market early October coming from the region of Dol (Dol de Bretagne) ; the farmers from the marshes kept this tradition to collect the apples early. It is a cider doux, acidic, very nice to the taste on drinking but needs early drinking. The varieties of apples are the rouget de Dol and rouget blanc, bit apples. It was sold like table apples in England and Germany.

In Ille-et-Vilaine dept 35, was for long the biggest producer of cider apples in France; and the areas of the basins of Rennes and Vitré  still are the region with the biggest production.  The ciders here are generally light, acidic low in alcohol and nice bouquet.  The varieties are the bedan rouge aigre, marguerite and gilet rouge.  Before ,this region exported part of its apples to Germany for apple juice.

Along the valley of the Rance , and around Dinan the cru call  “de Pleudîhen” is more acidic and stronger than that of Rennes.  The varieties are  the Jeanne renard, chevalier jaune, and marie menard.  The land is more granitic, and the arable land less deeper and less rich than on the basin of Rennes given apples less stronger, fruits richer in sugar,and a density on the must higher.  The Valley of the  Rance has always been a rich region of cider apples and exported the ciders to other areas of Brittany such as Léon  and Trégor, where varieties stronger and good conservation are harvest such as the richarde, vallon, and toupie etc.

The more we go west, the more the crus are acidic and less apples to mix with. The region of Vannes is an exception.  Here is the base for the guillevic variety that only use alone a doux, acidic well perfume and average alcoholic. In the south of the Finistére dept 29, in the apple orchards of Quimperlé they mix the acidic varieties in  Clohars-Carnouët, Moëlan-sur-Mer, Pays Bigouden ,and  Fouesnant . The crus are known for their strong color and acidic taken from their varietals such as Chuero briz, c’huero ru and kermerrien. In the north of the Finistére , you have it is not much cultivated and import their apples from the east of the Côtes-d’Armor (dept 22) such as  Dinan, Plancoët, and Matignon. The basin of Fougères produces a lot of apples but do not give a cru well done.

Now we try many in the various restaurants we go to or crêperies but the ones we do buy for home and like the best are the

Distellerie de Gorvello in Sulniac, the Tradition brut, more here:

The musée du cidre in Le Hézo but nice cider on the spot produce, more here:

The Cidrerie du Golfe , at Arradon, more here:

Cidrerie Nicol at Surzur, more here:

Cidrerie des Terroirs at Colpo: more here:

Enjoy the ciders is as local as you can get , get them while they last, traditions are important. Drink in moderation of course, but drink lol!!! Cheers and Happy week, me on vacation lol!!!!!!




December 17, 2017

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XXII

And on a bright sunny cold Sunday , family time on the woods of the Morbihan, we set out for our town Christmas market or marché de Noël.  This is a small town so small market ok; Pluvigner.

We set out walking from the parking behind our post office building into the main street and the place St Michel and place du Marché. Several chalets selling all kinds of Christmas and local product goodies. We load it up on chi chis (churros), honey, and jams of different fruits, the always wanted baguette breads, and gingerbread cookies.

I took advantage to take some pictures of places we patronize in town. These are the Optic 2000 eye care store, the La Croix Blanche hotel:restaurant , au gout du jour workers cafeteria restaurant with a always unbelievable menu of 10€ including 1/4 bottle of wine, main dish ,and dessert. The Sulky PMU café for a drink or betting on horses, the maison de la presse for a magazine, newspaper or play lottery; the Le Stadium bar for a game and a cold beer; the Paton kebad for a quick lunch with my gang, the café central for another great menu of 11€ coffee or beer, the Le Scampi award winning pizzeria; the shoes store Laétitia Chaussures, the Deco mania store for gifts and trinkets, and the bakery or boulangerie Tual in city center.

Of course, some pictures of the Christmas market especially the old cars, and some classic such as my old dear Mustang, and the American jeep, and the cars from the 50’s. Many more in the pictures.  Of course, Pluvigner has a lot more. I like to tell you the story of the city and some sights in a general condense way just to give you a taste of what this small old town has to offered. Enjoy it.

The town is part of the agglomeration of Lorient and a member of the community of the Pays d’Auray. And principal town in the area with many villages around it for a total of just a bit more than 7K inhabitants. It is about 25 km from the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Morbihan ,and near the bigger cities of Vannes (34 km), Pontivy (37,5 km), Lorient (37,5 km) and Auray (15 km).  Walking and bike rides are very popular here and great forests around us such as those of domanial de Camors and Floranges. Pluvigner has a total of 8 283 hectares (20467 acres or  32175 square feet) of territory with several villages around it and part of it such as Bieuzy-Lanvaux and Malachappe, and many more smaller.

The mayor’s or city hall building is at Place St Michel, Tel : +33 (0), Fax :+33 (0) Open Mondays to Fridays from 8h45-12h and 13h45-17h30, Saturdays morning from 8h45-12h. More info here:

A bit of history from our city hall pages that I will translate here:

The first traces of humans here goes back several thousand years before Christ, and some instruments such as axes in polish stones  have been found back in 1982 in the village of  Talhouët. The Gaul’s and predecessors were established here too building closures of two buildings, one circular and the other paramedic, tombs and fragments of pottery. The Romans were, also ,here and some traces left at Kerguy. In the 5C AD the Bretons came over the Manche to the today Brittany or Bretagne; accompanied by numerous monks and at this time Brittany is Christianize.  The parish of Pluvigner was founded in the 5C by Saint Guigner and his disciples coming from Ireland to evangelize the Armorica ,todays Brittany.  Saint Guigner born in Ireland known there under the name of Fingar, son of a king, Saint Patrick that evangelize Ireland converts him Christian. The father upset that his son abandon paganism chase him out to the point of having to leave Ireland. Here in Armorica he takes the name of  Guigner. According to the legend he landed at Pluvigner and found the monastery of Moustoir around 445AD. Around the year 450AD his father died, and Guigner goes there to renounce his heritage and the crown of his father; in Great Britain, he tries to evangelize the Jutes, Anglos, and Saxons that occupied a great territory and were pagans. He built up an expedition of missionaries to land at Cornouaille around 455AD with 770 men. The Jutes and Anglos led by a chief named Hengist, massacre Saint Guigner and his troops. He martyred here and the town bears his name in Breton language, Plu is parish and vigner is a contraction of guigner so therefore Pluvigner.

There is a lot of old evidence all over here of ancient times many from the times above such as Coët Magoër, Kerchero, Kerbernard , and  Goh Castel. The town name in 1259 was PleGuinner,then in 1325-1337 the writing change to PleuVingner; at this time the town was part of the feudal jurisdiction of the Baronnie of Lanvaux after been given by the Duke of Brittany; that at the time was part of the Abbey of Lanvaux (there is a marker here in the village of Bieuzy Lanvaux)  then the collegiale Church of Saint Michel. The Roman style has been left very little here as the gothic is more representative.

In the 18C, the town was touch an epidemic of maybe Variole records are not sure. At this time the community of the Sisters of  Wisdom come here in 1774  to take care of the sick people. They spread their gospel as well for two centuries, the hospital where they cure the sick was communicated tot he Chapel or Chapelle Saint-Adrien, that houses today the municipal library and multimedia center. At the end of this century marked by the French revolution , it was held the first municipal council in Pluvigner that replaces the parish in many domains; until 1792 the civil registry was done by the priests but by this year the rector of Pluvigner passes the authority to the first Mayor of the town. This is ,also, the period of the Chouans (the farmers who fought the French revolution for King and God here) and were present in Pluvigner. Many were made prisioner and put into the prison of the old convent of Ursulines in Vannes. The natives of Pluvigner participated in all the wars but it is interesting to note that is one of the few towns in France that has a memorial to those fallen in the war of 1870, that ended all imperial or royal pretentions and started the French Republic in earnest.

Some of the landmarks here and the main Church of Saint Guigner  or in Breton Iliz Sant Gwignier that I have written in my blog before, and next the now extinct but with ruins is the Notre-Dame des Orties , still visible are the cross transepts dating from the first quart of the 15C, a triple arcade and other three simple that gives to the choir and wings in arc.  Other sites are the Church of Saint Bieuzy, Chapelle de la Sainte Trinité, Chapelle Notre Dame de la Miséricorde, Chapelle Saint Adrien, Chapelle Saint Colomban, Chapelle Sainte Brigitte, Chapelle Saint Fiacre , Chapelle Saint Goal, Chapelle Saint Guénaël, Chapelle Saint Mériadec, and Chapelle Saint Guy.

To these, you need to add all the Crosses and Calvaries found in our territory such as Calvaire de old cemetery of Bieuzy Lanvaux, Cross of the short cross, Cross of the route to Bieuzy Lanvaux, Cross on the rue Job Le Bayon, Cross of Navéos, Cross of cemetery of Pluvigner, Cross of Pondic, Cross of Véniel, Cross of Vorlen, Cross Jégado, Cross of Lesmadien , Cross of Coët Magoër, Cross of Kerneur, Cross of Loguiviec, Calvary of the Church of Saint Guigner, Cross of the Chapel of the Miséricorde, Cross of the Chapel of Saint Fiacre, Cross of the Chapel of Saint Guénël, Cross of the Chapelle of Saint Guy, and Cross of the Chapel of the Sainte Trinité.

You continue looking and finding, fountains and well of years ago such as Fontaine Lavoir de Saint-Trémeur,  (pray here to relieve the stomach aches ), The  fountain and lavoir (laundry) were connected to the Chapel today gone. The Fontaine Lavoir du Lenno, Lavoir du Guern, Lavoir de Ker-Ivo aka Pen Prat, Fontaine Saint-Guigner and lavoir du Tanin, Fontaine de Miséricorde, Fontaine de Trélécan, Fontaine and lavoir de saint Bieuzy, Fontaine de saint Goal, Fontaine de saint Mériadec, and Fontaine de sainte Brigitte , as well as the wells of  the  place du Marché, wells or  puits du Tanin , Puits place Ler Paris, and Puits place Ler Vraz.

And I continue or rather Pluvigner continues with some beautiful buildings and castles around the villages such as The Manoir de Kerdesaroué from 1598 where the founding family stayed until the end of the 17C. The fiefdom of Kergo known here since 1426 and passing to several until given as donation in 1642 to the Carmelites priests of Sainte-Anne-d-Auray. The Manoir de Kergroéz known since 1448 where a cross is erected honoring the first owner coming from a military family of Jégado.  Several families continues the line with families still around since 1618!  The Manoir de Kerjean, belonging to the same family frm 1450 to 1790, the Blévin.  The family now traces the inter marriages and link to the current families of  Coëtmen, Marbœuf ,and La Bourdonnay.

The Manoir de Bodeveno there from 1340 to 1536, and passing by several families. Early in the 15C the lands of Kerlois were held by the lords of Lesvellec and Kérisper . It transmit to other families such as the Cadoret and their heirs sell the property in 1607 to the Le Gouvello lord of Kériolet known by their son the abbot Pierre de Kériolet (1602-1660) while living in the manoir he went to Mass in the chapel of the Miséricorde. After his death the private chapel of Kerlois was built. Passing again thru several owners. Inside the Chapel along a pass of the Cross with trees you come upon it and inside you see a portrait statue of Saint Vincent Ferrier on the left and on the right of Saint James the Mayor (Santiago de Compostella) both in wood.

The castle of kéronic was between 1426 and 1448 held by Henri de Launay. This family lived here for over 150 years been owners of several lordships in the area such as Bézidel at Brech, Pont-Sal  at Plougoumelen, Kergelin  at Languidic and Talvern. It made alliances and marriages with the leading families in Brittany such as the  Rosmadec,  La Forest, Baud, Tumelin , and the  Arradon. A new alliance took place in 1550 dividing in two branches the family. More transferring of ownership due to marriages follow. The last family of  Charpentier held the heritage until the French revolution (been nationalize in State property). Next to the castle there is the private Chapel of Saint-Joseph built in 1640.

There is one more Church of importance ,that of Church of Notre Dame de Fatima aux Granges. It was in 1889 that the sisters of an orphanage built for the children of the marines/fisherman lost at sea and the place was called Notre-Dame des Pins. In 1895 a Chapel was added in honor of a daughter of a rich senator, name Marcelle and the Chapel becomes dedicated to Sainte Marcelle. From 1957 yo 1962 the orphanage closes after been acquired by the parishers cooperators of the Christ the King coming from Paris.  The building eventually passes to the vocation of Notre Dame de Fatima. The building is in a neo roman style with a Latin cross. The stained glass in the choir shows on the left the initials of the Virgin Mary and on the right of  Saint Joseph , in the center those of Sainte Marcelle. Many beautiful statues are found inside such as those of Saint Joseph, with a portrait showing the appearing of Fatima.  Others are  of the Sacred Heart, Saint Theresa of the Enfant Jesus, Joanne of Arc, Saint Germaine de Pibrac and of  Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort.

And two more such as Porh Coët Magoër from the name Coz Magoër meaning old ruins or old walls ; the current name means a forest of ruins. Coming from an old family forgotten in the mid 16C by marriage of the last female to another family name that died in  1579. And many other heirs the last one died in 1772. The Manoir du Guern, it served as a rectory for two centuries. Divided into two parts now many in ruins but the interior is nice with statues of Saint Yves and Saint Vicente Ferrier.

As you can read, there is plenty of history to see in my areas, and honest, not seen them all , many already but I will see them all, promise ::) Enjoy the season to be merrier and why not remembering the old is that makes us stronger today, and ready to continue into the future. The blood is thicker than water ::)  Cheers and happy Sunday!!!

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