Monday, April 21, 2014

Driving to Brittany from Normandie, and about the best kouign amman in St. Malo, Tokyo and Manila.

Today, in Normandie living a Travelife, we decided to cross over to neighboring Brittany for the day, to visit the seaside resort town of St. Malo.

I last visited St. Malo almost exactly 18 years ago, as part of a very memorable three-week driving trip through France.

Lovers on a beach, yesterday in St. Malo

This trip took us all the way down this area of France, and then up the Loire Valley, before going on to Provence.

We then dropped the car off finally in Lyon, where we had a nice meal at a very famous restaurant, before returning to Paris via the TGV.

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From that trip 18 years ago, I have fond memories of St. Malo, including its beautiful beach. So I wanted to revisit this town again, now that we were so near.

I had another reason as well.


Kouign amman are sold in every bakeshop in St. Malo

I wanted to cross over to Brittany to have a really authentic kouign amman, which is the local calorie-laden flaky pastry that I love so much that I look for it all over the world.

I've found two places outside France that serve good kouign amman: one is at Brasserie Cicou in Manila, and the other is at Brasserie Viron in Tokyo.

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They make very different kinds of kouign amman, but both versions are good enough to make me throw ideas of a diet out the window, and to absolutely resist sharing this wonderful dessert with anyone.


When we got to St. Malo, we asked locals where the best kouign amman could be found. They are seling a dime a dozen here after all, to use a cliche expression, so it's hard to choose the best.

I couldn't very well try all the ones I saw anyway.

We were pointed to a chocolatier called Garrand, which is at the edge of the St. Malo's main street, if you are coming from the sea.

We walked the entire street and almost gave up, actually, as we still had not stumbled on this particular store.

Caramel candies are also a specialty of Brittany

Finally I asked a shopkeeper about Garrand, and she replied: "It's just a few more minutes down this road, after Comptoir des Cottoniers."

Comptoir des Cottoniers is a casual clothing shop found all over France, with branches in other parts of the world. They even have one near me in Tokyo.


So eventually we found this shop, which really is a chocolate shop selling kouign amman rather than a specialized shop for kouign amman.

They had plain kouign amman, as well as kouign amman with apples, and kouign amman with caramel.

Being an absolute sucker for caramel, and especially for the caramel of Brittany which is made with sea salt so that it is sweet and salty at once, I asked for the more calorific kouign amman with caramel.

The sales lady even heated it for me, and I had this with a very cold bottle of Badoit right on the spot.

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The verdict?

The kouign amman at St. Malo was good but really heavy with ingredients, rather than flaky and at the same time crusty from being baked with sugar.

The latter is how I always like my kouign amman, and fortunately, the two places I just mentioned in Asia do their respective kouign amman this way.

Kouign amman is sold everywhere in St. Malo.
Even in tin cans for taking home as a souvenir.

The verdict on the single authentic kouign amman I tasted in St Malo today?

I like the ones I've had with relish in Asia much more. But perhaps I shouldn't have asked a local and instead trusted my instincts, as I've probably had way more kouign amman than most locals of St. Malo, in my sweet and never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

1 comment:

  1. Have you tried the kouign amman at Wildflour in Net Lima, BGC? Quite flaky yet at the same time crusty from being baked with sugar! ��