“Farz” in Breton means or rather refers to a patisserie from Brittany. There is not one household from Armorica, the land of the sea, that doesn’t get served this famous little gem. It is right up there, between the Breton Cake and the Kouign-amann, our famous multi layered super buttered national dessert. Breton Farz, or like the French call it “Far”, is normally made with tea soaked prunes inside and a dash of rum. It is basically a crêpe dough or batter, slowly baked. Everyone has a recipe back home! I decided to jazz the whole thing up with modern flavours, some 70% cocoa chocolate and a little something called Aronia, wonderful and tasty berries I planted two years ago; let’s say between a blueberry and a blackcurrant… Instead of the Farz being made in a big dish, I decided to make small ones; hence the name “Farzig” meaning little farz. I could also have called it “Farz Bihan”, bihan being “small” in Breton, a bit like the Irish “Beag”… See we are so close to each other, much more than one could think. But hey! Before I go any further… What are Aronia berries I hear you say? Well, let me explain…
It was a few years ago to the date, August 2010 in Dublin airport. I was picking up my Uncle and his wife for what was going to be their first visit in Ireland; the second time only I was going to meet him. This was a special moment, a reunification after so many years of tears and sorrow, questions unanswered and self inflicted silences. By hugging each other in the busy terminal, we were finally making peace on behalf of our own stubborn late mothers, unaware of the tragedies that had unfolded before our time, keepers of only a few pieces of a puzzle, fragments of broken lives; this jigsaw was going down!
Ok, ok, I know it’s a bit of a mouthful as far as titles go, but I couldn’t figure out a better way to put it. It was last Sunday, I was tidying the house you see, cleaning the windows, defrosting the freezer, you know the kind of stuff men are known to never undertake… uh? Well not me, every so often, a miracle happens and for some reason, I go nuts. As I was almost finished, I stumbled upon a bunch of bananas that was over ripe for my morning enjoyment, yet, not black enough for a banana cake… Dilemma!
Last Sunday, I travelled early to East County Galway for the 20th “Potato Fleadh”, organised by my friends Caitlín and Pádraig Rua. Known across the Isle of Ireland as the “Fleá na bPratai”, it is a candid and warm gathering of friends or gathered friendships, a fertile ground for strong family ties; an illustrated analogy surrounding the peaceful cottage, could be the hundreds of acres of bog land, layers and layers of wild colourful growth, in a perfectly tuned cycle. Like I said, I left early, the boot of the car full of craft beers and cheese… I love visiting my hosts bearing gifts. I selected a few tunes for the road, from Bob Dylan to Blind Willie Johnson in order to set the mood; anxious to make a grand appearance, I put on my recently purchased GAA Gaelic Football Brittany Team Jersey on. They had been invited and qualified to play in the International Gaelic Games this week in Dublin… A proud moment for Hungry Breton! I could picture all their faces now, the reactions! Singing along with Blind Willie Johnson on the speaker phones of the car while flicking the gear stick on fourth; “The rain don’t fall on me”…. How optimistic was I?
Summer 1995, Galway; I guess this could be the sequel to the “Fleá na bPratai” story. Having moved a couple of months before to the City of Tribes, I had tried to work in some of the multiple cafés and small “restaurants” the town had to offer, without too much luck. Lack of confidence and experience in the domain surely played a role in my misfortune, but believe it or not, the summer that year was so hot, that there was very little trade during day time. Our landlord Mícheál was a nice guy, he popped in sometimes for a cuppa – and to pick up the rent- , a former Irish Army Peace Keeper, a “Blue Helmet” with squinting blue eyes; he would suss you out, like a Blade Runner before you could even open your mouth.
– “I hear you are finding it hard to get a job in our fine City; how are you on a ladder?”
Well, Happy Aniversary Hungry Breton, two years already! Here is the first post exactly two years ago!
Hungry Breton, playing Irish music…
This year marks a milestone anniversary for me, I left Brittany twenty years ago, the land of Crêpes and apple ciders for the mythical “Island of Winters” and black beers. Born and bred in Armorica – The Land of the Sea – I could easily have become a fisherman or a lighthouse keeper; as contradictory as it may sound, they both are a form of a calling, a thirst for peace, freedom… Or escapism. Definitely a thirst though! In more ways than one.
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