In a last minute decision, Bistro Breizh will not be a Living Forest Campground this Thursday, Friday or Saturday the 22, 23 and 24th of September. We will be back on Sunday the 25th, and will also be opening Monday the 26th.
This is mainly due to not having the energy to do three 14 hour shifts back to back, and we’ll be at Arbutus Distillery to cover the grand opening of their cocktail lounge from 17:00 to 22:00 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
So we’re going to change up the hours a bit. Things die down fast after 14:00 so we’re not staying around, and Sunday seems to be really busy earlier in the morning, so earlier opening on Sundays. Still considering swapping Thursdays for a Monday opening – any requests?
Also making it clear that closing time is an estimate. If it’s really dead Bistro Breizh will sometimes close earlier, and if people keep coming I’ll usually be happy to stay open later unless there’s somewhere else I must be.
Which means our smoked salmon, spinach and goat cheese galette is now available, at least until we run out again.
Unfortunately, due to poor planning on my part I arrived at the shops 1 minute before closing. The fish market and the butcher, Nesvog, are side by side and I had to choose between lox and sausage. So there won’t be any galette saucisse until Friday at the earliest.
When you look at it, you might think “hey, it’s just a sausage wrapped in a galette”. And you would be technically correct. But it’s much more than that. It’s tradition. Not really old tradition, it having only started in the 19th century, but still tradition. A tradition that has certain rules. Flexible rules for the most part. Sometimes quoted with humour. But still a few rules.
Sure, there are those who call any sausage in a galette “galette saucisse”. They fill it with stuff, they add ketchup or mayo, and they still call it “galette saucisse”. But to those who care it’s not really “galette saucisse”. It’s just “saucisse in a galette”, which is not the same thing at all.
To enjoy a galette saucisse is to share a common bond with, first and foremost, the people of Rennes and its environs. Specifically, “Rennes, Est de l’Ille et Vilaine, Sud de la Manche, Ouest de la Mayenne”. Here’s a handy map of the original distribution:
The real galette saucisse is intimately linked to the Stade Rennais, the Rennes football club. So the distribution of the galette saucisse today tends to be stronger in areas that have the most fans of the football club.
There is an association, the “Sauvegarde de la Galette Saucisse Bretonne” or SGSB. (Safeguard of the Breton Galette Saucisse), which promotes the original galette saucisse bretonne while trying to mitigate the impact of people claiming to serve galette saucisse when they are in fact serving nothing of the sort. To do this they wrote up ten commandments, as such organizations often do. The ten commandments are guidelines, and mainly meant for those in Bretagne. It’s understood and accepted that those us far from that centre of civilisation will have to adapt and overcome.
The real goal, however, is to never forget what “galette saucisse” actually is. Here at Bistro Breizh, we try to provide the most authentic form of this dish as possible. We try to follow as many of the commandments as possible, just because we want people to share that connection. And when you go visit Rennes, you can have a galette saucisse there and say “yes, I’ve already had this back on Vancouver Island”, and when you describe what you had they’ll all agree with you.
Here is the annotated version of the galette saucisse commandments according to the SGSB:
I – Saucisse, moins de 120 gr, tu ne feras
The sausage must not be under 120 grams pre-cooked weight. Because the breton sausage is so lean, that’s also close to the post-cooked weight.
II – Point de moutarde, tu ne mettras
No mustard or other condiments applied to the galette saucisse. It is permissible to provide mustard on the side, although this is frowned upon by purists. It is never permissible to provide other condiments, such as ketchup, mayonnaise, or non-Dijon mustard. That’s not just the purists, that’s almost everyone who cares.
III – Grasse, jamais, tu ne seras
The “saucisse bretonne” that forms the core of the galette saucisse is a LEAN sausage, with very little fat. Although easy to obtain in Bretagne, these have to be custom made elsewhere.
IV – Au Stade Rennais tu excelleras
Specific reference to their home, the Stade Rennais, the main football club in Rennes, where they are the official food.
V – A 2 mains et à toute heure, on te mangera
To be eaten by hand, at any time. No knife and fork for this dish!
VI – Un verre de cidre, t’accompagnera
Must be accompanied by a glass of cidre (“hard” cider, usually between 3 to 6% alcohol). Unfortunately, in certain far away lands with prohibitionist era liquor laws, this cannot be done. Food trucks and others are allowed to serve cidre in Bretagne. Not in B.C.
VII – Maximum 2 Euros, tu coûteras
Should not cost more than 2 euros, about CAN$3. Sorry, but it’s not going to happen here in B.C.. These rules are meant for central Bretagne, where high quality lean pork, good quality buckwheat flour, even the billig (crêpe griddles) are a fraction of the price available elsewhere. Sadly, good quality ingredients are much, much more expensive here in B.C.. The buckwheat flour, for instance, is 9 to 11x more expensive here than in Bretagne. The quality lean pork is about 2 to 4x more expensive here.
VIII – Service, sourire, tu les auras
We do try to serve with a smile.
IX – Parfaitement on te grillera
The sausage is grilled, not boiled. It is then finished on a grill just before serving. To be perfect it should be done on a wood fired grill, but there are many issues with doing that, even in fixed locations.
X – A Rennes, cette charte, on respectera
The rules are meant for Rennes. It’s understood that in other lands, some of these rules might not be possible to follow.
So that’s what we here at Bistro Breizh are trying to accomplish with that most humble of dishes, the galette saucisse. Hope you enjoy yours.
Heavy sigh. Temporary plumbing fix I made to open today didn’t work. Leaking. Will need to make fix permanent but that will take a few hours. I’m a good if not excellent crêpier but I’m not so good at carpentry or plumbing.
Sorry folks I’ll open ASAP. (Friday I hope). Sorry for the late notice.