10 French places (that are not Paris) you must visit

When it comes to tourism in France, Paris definitely dominates the headlines.

And while it is charming, magical and a place everyone should visit at least one, this doesn’t mean other French cities should be overlooked!

Snowy mountains, golden sand beaches, no-house-for-miles countryside, buzzy cities, adorable little towns, France has it all.

And because there’ll be more than enough ‘Paris’ content coming to this blog very, very soon (I’m on my way there as you read this!), I thought it was only fair to balance things out by sharing 10 other French places you absolutely must put on your travel bucket list.

1. Lyon

Located in the South East of France, near the Swiss border, there are many reasons to put Lyon at the very top of your travel bucket list.

Lyon | 10 French cities (that are not Paris) to visit

First things first, food.

France is always acclaimed for its gastronomy, and Lyon is the capital city of French gastronomy. No molecular food to be seen there! Lyonnaise cuisine focuses on home cooked dishes and the classics, with the ultimate aim of highlighting carefully chosen ingredients.

Lyon, France

Lyon’s ‘bouchon’ restaurants are the place to go to taste the best local dishes such as sausages, duck pĂątĂ© or roast pork along with local wines. Much like tapas bars in Barcelona, the locals have their favourites and will happily give you tips.

Lyon | 10 French cities everyone must travel to

Besides being a delicious city, Lyon is also a beautiful one and is home to 2,000 years of history. The Historic Site of Lyons has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998 and includes examples of Roman and Renaissance architecture.

2. Saint Malo

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Located on the English Channel, Saint Malo is a walled port city with a badass history!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Traditionally with an independent streak (and a tradition of asserting its autonomy in dealings with the French authorities and even with the local Breton authorities), Saint-Malo was in the past notorious for privateering.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

The city still shows marks of its hectic past, making it the perfect destination for history nerds and pirates lovers!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

And then, there are some of the most beautiful beaches in France, green-toned water, the freshest seafood
 and SALTED CARAMEL!

Read more: 10 reasons to visit Saint Malo / Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries / 10 awesome souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo

3. Corsica

Corsica | 10 French places for your travel bucket list

A small island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea (and the birthplace of Napoleon), Corsica is nothing like mainland France.

Corsica | 10 places in France to visit before you die

Mountains make up two-thirds of the island, forming a single chain and creating jaw-droppingly beautiful landscapes and the dreamiest of backgrounds for hiking.

Corsica | 10 places in France too beautiful for words

Surrounded by the sea, covered in forests and under a rather mild weather, Corsica is the perfect destination if you’re in for a bit of a walk on the wild side!

4. Strasbourg

Strasbourg | 10 French cities to visit before you die

Strasbourg, the capital city of the Alsace region, sits near the German border in northwestern France and it’s the perfect example of what makes border cities so special.

Strasbourg architecture, much like its culture, blends German and French influences perfectly.

Strasbourg | 10 French cities to put on your travel bucket list

And there’s a lot to see: from the breath-taking gothic Cathedrale Notre Dame to the hyper-modern European Parliament building, as well as many other EU-related buildings and the too-cute-for-words Petite France area, Strasbourg is a small city that packs up a lot!

Strasbourg | 10 French cities perfect for a weekend getaway

Perfect for a (potentially FlamenkĂŒche-and-beer-fueled) weekend city break!

5. Nantes

Nantes | 10 best French cities to visit

Long rated one of France’s best places to live, the capital of the western Loire was once a powerful maritime city. Nowadays, the waterways are not as influential as they once were, but Nantes has many other aces up its sleeves.

Nantes | 10 best French cities to travel to

There’s something fascinating about how the old (including the ChĂąteau des Ducs de Bretagne, former home of the Dukes of Brittany and Anne de Bretagne) mixes with the new and a walk through Nantes will take you way into the past and back.

Nantes | 10 best French cities to travel to

Even more interesting is Nantes’ ever-growing number of art and cultural diversions. Highlights include open-air Les Machines de L’Ile, an unprecedented artistic project channeling Jules Verne’s “invented worlds”, of the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci, where you can ride a 12-m elephant-machine, as well as a trip to Le Lieu Unique,the national center for contemporary arts, housed in a former biscuit factory at the center of the city.

Nantes | 10 French cities everyone should visit

And no visit to Nantes is complete without a feast on the region’s food specialities, including fish with beurre blanc sauce, Gateau Nantais (a kind of iced almond cake), all washed down with a chilled glass of crisp muscadet!

6. Lille

Lille | 10 best French cities to travel to

Lille is an architectural beauty with strong Flemish influences, but it’s also a historical hot-spot.

Long an industrial centre, Lille has made major efforts to reviev itself in the last two decades it has made great efforts to revive itself, efforts that were rewarded with Lille becoming the European City of Culture in 2004.

Lille | 10 best French cities to travel to

Most of the city old buildings have been renovated to their original beauty and are well worth a look, especially the Old Stock Exchange building and the magnificent Grand’ Place, which has many historic houses and is also home to markets and other public events.

Lille | 10 best French cities to travel to

Less famous but equally stunning is La Piscine, the craft & industry museum, worth a visit for the outstanding art deco interior and the mosaic indoor swimming pool alone!

Lille | 10 best French cities to travel to

Flea market lovers will want to plan their visit around the Grande Braderie de Lille, the largest flea market in Europe, taking place at the beginning of September and gathering about 2.5 millions visitors each year.

7. Bordeaux

Bordeaux | 10 best French cities to travel to

Bordeaux is of course the destination of choice for any wine lover. From vineyard tours to pretigious tasting sessions and wine festivals, there’s something for everyone and every budget.

Bordeaux | 10 best French cities to travel to

And while oenology and gastronomy are at the heart of many a trip to Bordeaux, there are many more reasons to pay the European Best Destination 2015 a visit.

Bordeaux | 10 best French cities to travel to

A city at the crossings between past and future, Bordeaux is elegant and surprising. From the amazing mirror of water to the monumental Grand Theatre and its small-street city centre, it’s truly a city of contrasts.

Bordeaux | 10 best French cities to travel to

On foot, by bike, tram, Bordeaux deserves to be explored before re-joining the docks in the evening for a stroll and a taste of the region’s many specialties on the edge of the river.

8. Annecy

Annecy | 10 best French cities to travel to

Settled on the shores of the Lake, and surrounded by mountains and woods, Annecy is one of the most popular towns in the Alps, and with good reasons as it combines the advantages of a town with unlimited water-based and mountain-related activities, such as hicking, cycling, pedal-boat on the lake, or even swimming.

Annecy | 10 best French cities to travel to

The old town is also well worth climbing to, with buildings dating back to the 12th century and many a great ice cream parlour to reward your effort!

9. Ile de Ré 

Ile de RĂ© | 10 best French cities to travel to

Located bang in the middle of continental France only a couple of miles away from the Atlantic coast, Ile de Ré is my happy place.

It’s where I spent all my holidays growing up, and I go back every opportunity I get.

Postcard from the Ile de RĂ© | Cake + Whisky

It’s a beautiful little island, all in shades of blue and green, with white houses, endless beaches of golden sand, salt marshes as far as the eye can see and loads of bikes.

Cake + Whisky | Ile de RĂ© France beach

There’s more markets than you could possbily hope for, all bursting with fresh produce, gorgeous little restaurants dotted around the island, and the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Postcard from the Ile de RĂ© | Cake + Whisky

(and seeing that as you read that, I’m wiggling my toes in the sand on one of Ile de RĂ©’s beautiful beaches, expect more Ile de RĂ© pics coming your way very, very soon!)

10. Disneyland!

Disneyland Paris | 10 best French cities to travel to

Alright, alright, that last one is cheating a little bit… But then, when a place makes perfectly responsible adults act like 6-year-olds, surely it is worth a visit!

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10 French places (that are not Paris) you must visit

Restaurant Le 5, Saint Malo

As you might have gathered by now, food in Saint Malo was truly spectacular.

There was Michelin-stared lobsters, Michelin-worthy lemon tarts, and a loooooot of salted caramel.

But dinner at Restaurant Le 5 was truly quite magical.

Hotel de France Le Chateaubriand, Saint Malo | Cake + WhiskyHotel de France Le Chateaubriand, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Restaurant Le 5 is a bit of a locals’ secret and can only be accessed via the lobby of Hotel de France Le Chateaubriand (where we stayed).

Hotel de France Le Chateaubriand, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky Hotel de France Le Chateaubriand, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Which is the perfect excuse to take a peak at the hotel’s charming Colonial-meets-retro lobby and stunning dining rooms on your way up!

And before you know it, you’re on top of the world (or at least, Saint Malo!)!

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A classy nautical theme runs through the restaurant.

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With stunning, 360° views to match!

Restaurant Le 5, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

And a seasonal, fine dining set menu worthy of the very best restaurants!

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For starters, foie gras was the most popular option.

Restaurant Le 5, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Served with pickled baby vegetables and red onion relish, it was the perfect balance of creamy, crunchy, tangy and sweet and absolutely dreamy!

Restaurant Le 5, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Vegetarians weren’t quite as lucky though…

Restaurant Le 5, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Despite their starter looking absolutely stunning, it was very much just a plate of tomatoes.

Ruby red, adorable on-the-vine cherry tomatoes, but tomatoes all the same.

For fish- & meat-eaters though, things kept getting better and better with mains.

Restaurant Le 5, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Yellow pollack fillet, Espelette pepper, fennel panna cotta & yuzu foam

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A vibrant fish dish and one of the best things I’ve eaten sofar this year.

Restaurant Le 5, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

All washed down with a few too many glasses of crisp Chardonnay…

And topped off with a choice-ditcher’s dream dessert: CafĂ© Gourmand.

Restaurant Le 5, Saint Malo | Cake + WhiskyRestaurant Le 5, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

AKA a cup of espresso, surrounded by a selection of mini-desserts.

Friand, canelĂ©, macaron… we got all the classics and then some!

 

Panoramic views over Saint Malo, stunning food and even better pudding, Restaurant Le 5 has it all. Perfect for a romantic date or to celebrate something special!

More info + bookings here

Restaurant Le 5, 12, Place Chateaubriand, 35400 Saint-Malo, France

Restaurant Le 5, Saint Malo

10 awesome souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo

I am not one for tacky souvenirs.

Magnets, snowglobes, shot glasses, pebbles… If it’s going to stay in a corner of my living room collecting dust, it might as well stay in the store.

Which doesn’t mean I don’t want to bring home any goodies when I go away on holidays.

10 awesome souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo, Brittany | Cake + Whisky 10 awesome souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo, Brittany | Cake + Whisky

Things to remind me what a wonderful time I had when the holiday blues next strikes. Things I can share with those I had left behind to give them a taste of that specific trip. Things I will be happy to find in a few months, once my tan has faded.

Following my recent trip to Brittany’s beautiful Emerald Coast, I thought it might be useful to create a little guide of souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo if you want to skip the junk traditional stuff but still bring a little piece of Brittany home with you!

10 awesome souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo, Brittany | Cake + Whisky

1. Salted caramel. Obviously. You’ll find plenty of varieties, from supermarket jars to small, artisan-made batches, and even some flavoured versions. Get one of each. Spread on everything. Scoop some in your coffee, drizzle on yoghurt or ice cream. Worse come to worse, eat by the spoonful. You really can’t go wrong.

2. The butter of the stars. With a silky texture, aromatic complexity, a light dusting of salt, a smart balance of flavors and a creative collection of flavours, Bordier Butter is unlike any other one. And as for all luxury goods, the proof is in the client list, and Bordier butters reign supreme on the menus of the finest restaurants in France and abroad. The easiest way to take the French Palace experience home with you!

Bordier Butter flagship store, La Maison du Beurre, is located 9 Rue Orme

3. Buckwheat everything. Frequently listed as one of the world healthiest food, buckwheat remains quite niche outside of Asia and Brittany, where it’s the main component of the region’s most iconic dish, the Galette (a savoury buckwheat pancake).  Despite its name, buckwheat is gluten-free (it is actually a fruit related to rhubarb and sorrel) and a variety of buckwheat-based food items, including flour, biscuits and tea, are available in supermarkets and speciality shops.

La Maison du Sarrasin, a store specializing in all things buckwheat, is located 10 Rue Orme

4. A fresh Kouign Amann. If you like croissants, you must try Kouign Amann (and if you don’t, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore…). Those little round cake/pastry hybrids are made with bread dough containing layers of butter and sugar folded in and result in a sort of caramelised croissant. They are about a billion calorie each but definitely worth every one of them.

Saint Malo’s best Kouign Amann is to be found at Les DĂ©lices du Gouverneur, 6 Rue Porcon de la Barbinais 

5. The most beautiful fish preserves. I love those. Not only are La Belle Iloise‘s preserves super pretty, but they’re also the best I’ve tried. There is a huge variety of flavours for you to choose from, they make excellent presents and even better nibbles for your next dinner party.

La belle Iloise, 4 Rue Porcon de la Barbinais

6. (not pictured) A Breton-stripped top. When in Brittany… Armor Lux & St James are the most trusted brands in France, and both have a store in Saint Malo.

7. An intriguing spice mix from Roellinger. If you’re a bit of a spice nerd (I feel you), Epices Roellinger is your idea of a true Aladdin’s Cave. There’s vanilla and pepper from every corner of the globe, jars of the world’s rarest spices from floor to ceiling and exclusive spice mixes you won’t find anywhere else. Whether you’re an expert cook or really just starting, there is something for everyone. The hardest part is choosing.

La Boite à Epices, 12 Rue Saint-Vincent

8. A bottle of Breton cider. Cider is Brittany’s regional drink of choice and the perfect accompaniment to galettes and crĂȘpes. French cider is different from its British counterpart; it is both less sweet and more sour, making it the perfect pairing for fish and pork dishes.

9. A new bikini. There’s this lovely little French brand I love called Princesse Tam Tam and they do the cutest bikinis. I had to stop myself from buying the whole store. They’re a bit pricey but the quality is amazing (I got my previous bikini from them and it’s lasted me a good 5 years). Definitely worth the investment.

Princesse Tam Tam, 12 Rue Broussais

10. Zero sunburns. Best present you can give yourself. Trust me on that one.

What sort of souvenirs do you bring back home from holiday?

10 awesome souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo

10 reasons to visit Saint Malo

1. Because Saint Malo is a city with a badass history!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Saint-Malo traces its origins to a monastic settlement founded early in the sixth century.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

From then on, the city had a tradition of asserting its autonomy in dealings with the French authorities and even with the local Breton authorities.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Later on, St Malo mariners were the first Frenchmen to Canada, the Indies and round Cape Horn to the Pacific seaboard. Worldwide trade brought extravagant prosperity to the city.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

The thing is that you can read the story in modern day Saint Malo’s townscape and a tour of the ‘citĂ© corsaire’ is the perfect way to discover it all.

Emeraude Guides offers some brilliant tours of the city, both in English and French, as well as a variety of excursions, which you can book through their website. Alternatively you can get an audio guide from St Malo Tourism Office for 12€.

2. Because there’s something magical about being surrounded by the sea.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Being built on a rock reclaimed from the sea, water pretty much circles the whole of Saint Malo.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Which make for rather high maintenance (those walls are here for a reason!) but also for breathtaking views of the sea from… well, pretty much anywhere, really!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

From the top of the bulwarks to almost every hotel room in town, the sea is everywhere in Saint Malo!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Including on the menu of many restaurants!

(PS. Did you catch my previous post, all about Malouin Michelin-starred chef Luc Morbihan’s top tips to cook lobster?)

3. Because Saint Malo is home to one of France’s most beautiful beaches.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Brittany is the region with the  longest continuous coastlines in France and each stretch is more beautiful than the next.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Transparent, blue-green water (hence the ‘Emerald Coast’ nickname) and golden sand as far as the eye can see, Saint Malo truly is a little piece of beach-goer paradise!

4. Because the city is an absolute architectural dream.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Looking at the stone buildings and the pastel blue facades, one can hardly imagine that the historic walled city of Saint-Malo was almost totally destroyed by American shelling and bombing as well as British naval gunfire.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

The city was carefully re-built according to original building designs from 1948 to 1960 and has since re-gained its original beauty.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

5. Because people who like butter are always the best people.

And god knows Malouins do!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

From the Bordier ‘Butter House‘ (yes! a store/museum focusing on all things butter!!), to many a food speciality and about a billion different kinds of butter biscuits, butter is EVERYWHERE in Saint Malo!

And there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with that.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Oh, and the ‘Butter House‘ also happen to have the prettiest floor…

6. Because you haven’t truly lived until you tried Kouign Amann.

A butter-enriched, caramel crusted croissant and one of the very best pastries France has ever created (and I don’t say that lightly).

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Forget about learning how to say it (‘coo-nee-ha-man’ in case you were wondering), just get your hands on one ASAP.

7. Because buckwheat is totally underrated!

Buckwheat is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds, and one of the healthiest food there is.

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More importantly, it is the key ingredient to galettes, the traditional Brittany savoury pancakes.

It’s gluten and dairy free, and packed full of good-for-you stuff.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Ask for the ‘complete’ (with ham, cheese and egg) or have it with smoked salmon (my personal favourite) and a nice cup of cider.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

As I they say,  one galette a day keeps the doctor away!

8. Because SALTED CARAMEL!

Just stating the obvious there.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Onto crĂȘpes, ice cream, baked into cakes and biscuits or even by the spoonful, there’s no wrong way to eat salted caramel, so make sure you make the best of the opportunity!

(Plus you’ll be supporting the local economy, so double brownie points for you!)

9. Because it’s small enough not to get lost but be enough so you won’t get bored.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

From being a total beach bum, to touring Saint Malo’s many restaurants, bars and foodie spots, seing the final resting place of famous French writter Chateaubriand, going on excursion to nearby islands, learning about the city’s rich history and trying out all sorts of sporty activities (surf, segway… you name it!), Saint Malo is the perfect destination no matter what sort of holiday you’re after!

10. Because it’ll only be the beginning of your love story with Brittany!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Saint Malo is well worth a spot on your Travel To Do List, even if it’s only for a long weekend. Just a few days there felt like a proper break and I can’t recommend it enough!

Thanks to its great links with British ports, and with plenty more to see in the area (including the Mont Saint-Michel, a Unesco World Heritage site), Saint Malo is also an excellent home port if you’re planning to stay in Brittany for a little while longer.

And it’s all so pretty (and delicious), how could I blame you?

Can’t wait to start planning your trip to Saint Malo? Visit Brittany Tourism’s website for all info, including practical information, accomodation and more ideas of what to see and do!

10 reasons to visit Saint Malo

Lobster Masterclass at L’Ecole du GoĂ»t, Saint Malo

I rarely buy (or cook) seafood.

Partly because they’re rather pricey little buggers, partly because they are quite a bit of work (and as you all know by now, I’m lazy).

And more importantly, because I’m totally lacking the technique to be sure that my investment (both in terms of time and money) will be worth it.

But this all changed after our first morning in Saint Malo and a (cooking) life-changing lobster masterclass with Luc Morbihan, chef of Michelin-stared restaurant Le Saint Placide.

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Just arrived and already working!

No time to lose: there was water to be boiled, lobster to be cook…

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

And of course, cake to be baked!

One of my very favourites as it happened: Almond friands (See my gluten-free recipe if you fancy making some!)

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Studded with beautiful, vibrant raspberries.

While the friands where baking, we moved onto the lobster.

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Learning tips and tricks to pick the best of crustaceans…

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

In short, a good lobster is a live lobster, with long antennas, strong claws and a head that’s well attached to the body (with no gap inbetween).

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

We prepped the lobster before learning how to cook the tail and claws, as well as make a lobster jus.

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

The tail must be cooked in just-boiling water for no more than 5 minutes, before being cooled down and de-shelled.

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

The sure-fire way to get beautiful, still slightly transluscent lobster tail every time!

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

There were also some gorgeous wild asparagus.

A real treat as the season is so short!

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Quickly pan-fried with a bit of butter…

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Dressed by Luc’s expert hands.

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

And topped with the lightest, most divine saffron emulsion known to mankind.

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + WhiskyHow to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

A beautiful dish that highlighting Brittany’s best produce.

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And a stellar example of Luc Morbihan’s cooking style: refined, yet simple, and absolutely divine.

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

So good in fact that I could hardly get myself to stop nibbling at it while we moved on to another recipe.

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Lobster, bisque and herbs.

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

With lobster tail and claw, dressed with a reduced lobster bisque and a whole garden of micro-herbs (beetroot, nasturtium & brussel sprout flowers).

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + WhiskyHow to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Delicious and pretty as a picture!

Last but not least, a more homely take on the mighty lobster (and possibly my favourite of the 3 dishes).

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

Lobster soup with pasta and red pepper.

So good in fact that I would happily have a bowl of this for dinner every night for the rest of my life.

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

All topped off with golden almond friands!

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

And a browse in the all-things-wine-and-liquor Aladdin’s Cave that is The Cave de l’Abbaye, where the cooking lessons take place…

How to cook lobster | Masterclass at L'Ecole du Gout, Saint Malo | Cake + Whisky

If you’re planning a trip to Saint Malo, make sure you book a session at Ecole du Gout de Saint Malo for a brilliant introduction to the best produce Brittany has to offer!

You can either book online here or by calling +33 (0) 299201720. Information about the classes available here.

…or play it lazy and book a table at Luc Morbihan’s Michelin-stared restaurant, Le Saint Placide.

And whatever you do, make sure you pick up a few bottles of Breton cider at Cave de l’Abbaye!

Cave de l’Abbaye Saint Jean, 7 Rue des Cordiers, 35400 Saint-Malo, France

Lobster Masterclass at L’Ecole du GoĂ»t, Saint Malo

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries

When it comes to travelling, some ways are more obvious than others.

For most people, travelling = plane. End of the story. And then we all complain about the crazy prices, the long queues at security, the lack of legroom, the dehydrated skin syndrom and the horrendous airplane food.

But you know what? There is a better way!

If you’re travelling to France or Spain, that is.

Let me introduce Brittany Ferries.

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And zero crazy security queues in sight!

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

And before we knew it, we were boarding the Bretagne!

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + WhiskySailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

On board, you’ll find all sorts of entertainment.

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + WhiskySailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + WhiskySailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + WhiskySailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + WhiskySailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

There are 2 restaurants (La Baule, a self-service style restaurant and Les Abers, the Bretagne’s main A la Carte restaurant), bars and cafĂ©s aplenty, several stores and playing areas for children…

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

Even a cinema!

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + WhiskySailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

And nothing but the sea (and maybe a cheeky glass of wine…) as far as the eye can see!

And the food? I hear you say (glad to see you clearly have your priorities right!)

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I have a theory when it comes to French restaurants. If the bread is good, the rest will be too.

And the bread onboard Brittany Ferries is very, very good indeed.

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But the delicious crusty French bread & sea salt flaked butter was only the beginning…

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

For lunch & dinner, you can go down the (packed-full, fresh & vibrant) buffet route, or settle for the (very refined & mouthwatering) set menu.

We went for the latter.

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

Starting with Asian prawn broth with rice vermicelli, citrus and coconut.

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

Poached egg Piperade style.

Followed by equally excellent mains.

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

Cod with wild rice and red pepper coulis.

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

Gnocchi with wild mushroom and Parmesan emulsion.

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

Plateau de fromage (when -almost- in France…)

And finally, my favourite partd & the highlight of the meal: dessert.

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Which came in the form of this stunning Lemon tart.

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + WhiskySailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

Crisp pastry, creamy, tangy lemon curd, all topped with a cloud-like meringue, it was a true work of art and almost too pretty to eat.

Almost.

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One last look at the ocean and we retired to our cabin for a well-deserved rest.

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The cabins themselves are fairly small, but extremely well designed so it really doesn’t feel cramped despite the limited space.

And the beds are much more confortable than you’d guess from looking at them!

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

A good night’s sleep makes a happy Sandra, and the first thing I saw when I woke up only made things better.

I’m telling you: there’s nothing quite as glorious as waking up surrounded by the ocean.

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

Except maybe for a hot cup of tea and a humongous breakfast!

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

And breakfasts aboard the Bretagne truly have nothing to envy to the world’s best hotels’!

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

Take you pick(s) of the buffet or go for a hot breakfast, cooked right in front of you y on of the ferry’s own chefs.

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

There are pastries for days…

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries | Cake + Whisky

And a cake selection Marie-Antoinette herself would be jealous of!

I’ve always said the very best days start with cake for breakfast, and that particular one was no exception…

But that is a story for another time (tomorrow).

In the meantime, I urge you to buy tickets to sail to beautiful Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries as soon as possible. The brilliant team, comfy cabins and glorious food will make it a journey to remember!

More info & tickets on Brittany Ferries’ website

Sailing to Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries