Quimper is a city of art and history. During the past 1500 years, Quimper in Cornouaille has seen granite worked into intricate patterns, the development of hand-painted pottery, traditional costumes embroidered with beads and ribbons and museums filled with exhibits, yet all the while the timeless river Odet rises and falls with the rhythm of the tides. The lively city brims over with history and a joyful, harmonious charm which spans the centuries. The tradition of trade, which was etablished in the middle Ages, is visible in place names in the city. Among the places to visit: the Cathedral church of St Corentin (built between the 13th and the 15th centuries with stained-glass windows added in the 15th and 19th centuries; it is a marvellous example of Gothic architecture), the Musée des Beaux Arts (in a small Italian-style palace built in 1867; it houses a rich collection amassed by the Conte de Silguy and contains an exceptional group of 17th and 18th century Flemish and Dutch pictures and works by 19th century landscape artists such as Corot and Boudin), the Musée de la Faïence & Centre d'Art Contemporain (this Museum traces the 300 year old history of pottery in Quimper; it is housed in the former Porquier pottery works on the left bank of the Odet at the Centre of Locmaria; the Museum has over 2000 exhibits comprising pieces with religious or historical themes, scenes from everyday life or abstract designs which are the subject of a thematic exhibition every year) and the Quartier, situated at the heart of the new cultural centre of Quimper, near the Theatre de Cornouaille (it is the scene of temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, supported by top-quality editorial activity, which shed a new light on contemporary art and provide a platform for the launch of new talent). Quimper is famous also for its creative gastronomy: traditional produce are les crêpes dentelles (wafer-thin pancakes), unrivalled for their delicacy and succulent taste. The exact creator of the crêpes suzette is widely debated among food historians. Henri Carpentier, the chef for the Rockfeller family in the early 1900s, claimed to have invented the dish in 1895. In Brittany, they became part of the daily life in the 19th century.
CRÊPES SUZETTE À LA COINTREAU
Wafer-thin pancakes with orange and Cointreau liquor
Ingredients for 4 runners: 10 sugar cubes; 1 orange; 1 lemon; 120 ml Cointreau liquor; 120 grams butter, cut into small pieces. For the crêpe batter: 120 grams flour; 2 eggs; 240 ml milk; 60 grams butter, cooked until brown; 15 grams caster sugar; finely grated zest of half orange and half lemon
Make the crêpe batter: sift the flour into a bowl. make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into the well. Add one third of the milk and gradually mix the wet ingredients into the flour until smooth. Whisk the remaining milk, the browned butter, sugar, and grated orange and lemon zests. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, rub five of the sugar cubes all over the orange, to take up the the oil from the zest. Rub the remaining sugar cubes all over the lemon.
Make about 20 crêpes.
Heat some clarified butter in a crêpe pan. Pour off the excess butter and ladle enough in enough batter to cover the base. Immediately tilt the pan so the base is evenly covered.
Cook the crêpe until it begins to form bubbles on the surface and the edge turns light brown. Use a palette knife to carefully loosen the edges of the crêpes.
Turn the crêpe over with the palette knife (or try to flip it over with a flick of the wrist), and cook for a few seconds until the second side is lightly browned. Slide the crêpe out of the pan.
Pare the zest from the orange and lemon, using a citrus zester, then squeeze their juice.
Melt the sugar cubes in a large frying pan and stir in the zest and juice. Taking the crêpes one at a time, turn them in this sauce to coat both sides, then fold into quarters. Arrange the crêpes on warmed individual plates.
Add the Cointreau to the sauce, whisk in the butter, and serve spooned over the crêpes.
Bon appétit! Enjoy the meal!
Suggested drink - What to drink with the crêpes? Cider, nectar from a magical fruit. A cider making region since the Middle Ages, Brittany has made cider "the people's drink". The character of cider is recognised in its pure yet bitter taste, its roundness and the lingering flavours of fresh apple, butter and hazelnut. As with good wine, cider has its distinctive areas, set apart from one another by their microclimates, soil type and the variety of fruit used. Finally, with their fruity taste, the "mild" ciders are perfect with sweet crêpes.