As with every other region in Finistère, these islands have their own culinary specialities. Seafood, particular ways of cooking and particular crops: here’s a little tour of the dishes that come from the very edges of the world.
In the waters off Île d’Ouessant, they grow very particular type of seaweed called Undaria. Already an integral part of Japanese culture, this seaweed is best known under the name of ‘Ouessane’, taken from the island off our coasts. On the island itself, lamb stew cooked ‘sous la motte’ is also very famous. The stew itself is not very exotic, but the cooking method certainly is. While the ingredients and cook in a cast iron pot, the pot itself is surrounded by ‘mottes’, or clumps of turf. These clumps fall away within about five hours. The turf is taken from the moors of the island, where the scented heathers grow.
Over on the Molène Archipelago, it’s the sausage that is cooked in a special way: with seaweed. Molène sausage, smoked in seaweed, has become increasingly popular beyond the island itself over recent years. Since 2002, there has even been a laboratory dedicated to it. Located in Le Conquet, the ‘Laboratoire des fumaisons d’Iroise’ is a place where foods are traditionally smoked, ensuring the ancient processes survive.
At the extreme latitudes of Finistère, the potato is the star of the show. On the Île de Batz and the Glénan islands, the potato draws from the island soil to develop its particular flavour. In the south of the region, it’s a favourite for accompanying Glénan Cotriade, a traditional fish-soup.
On the Île de Sein, on the other hand, the star is neither the potato, seaweed nor smoked foods. It’s Sein’s ’café mou’ that has made a name for itself among gourmet enthusiasts. Based on coffee cooked with bread, it is now served by the restaurant ‘Pirates de la Pointe du Raz’ located on the coastal point itself.
Finally, as the islands are surrounded by the sea, shellfish and seafood such as abalones are everywhere in the island markets as is the beautiful Breton lobster with its distinctive blue tints that turns brick-red when cooked; they’re just some of the jewels of Finistère’s gastronomic delights.