Imagine Brittany at wintertime, the small sleepy town of Pont-l’Abbe suddenly awakens and becomes vibrant during the cold days before Christmas. The festive atmosphere brings everyone in the neighborhood together. Although snow may be rare in the region, but strong icy winds blow in from the Atlantic. This does not dampen the excitement of the celebrations to come.
Chef Thierry Le Queau comes from a family of fishermen and farmers. Having the bounty of the sea and the earth at their disposal. Thierry’s family developed a good taste in food and were all natural cooks. ‘Christmastime was usually the time my dad went back home and that made it very special for me’, he recounts. For the holiday, he remembers his father brought back the freshest turbot and monkfish while he helped his mother to prepare the spiny lobster with Armoricaine sauce and the langoustines poached in court-bouillon served with mayonnaise. ‘It’s always been classic, simple, healthy, yet flavorful countryside dishes that we had for dinner’, he further adds. For the dessert, of course nobody wanted to miss a huge slice of the Christmas logs from Pont-l’Abbe’s finest pastry shop.
‘Home grown produce from my family’s farm, freshly caught seafood cooked in sea water, were always staples to make our Christmas dinner special’, says Thierry. ‘However, for me, the best part was that it all started with the Prat-Ar-Coum oysters we had’, he continues. This set the tone for every Christmas meal. Not only because of the sentimental reason, Thierry values these oysters for their unique flavor. The nutty flavor together with its sweetness make these oysters extraordinary.
‘You see, the best way to enjoy these delicate oysters is to splash them with vinegar and shallots, then you drizzle them a bit with squeezed lemon. There you have it, the pride of Brittany!’, he exclaims with a wide smile and a youthful sparkle. This Christmas, to take away his homesickness, Chef Thierry plans to serve his favorite Prat-Ar-Coum oysters at Lyon. Do sample them, if you have the chance.
Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE December 2013 edition
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Photos by: Himawan Sutanto