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Rule, Bretagne

The first French oysters I ever ate, pre-degustation

People, I was serious when, in my big post-France entry, I said I had gone berserk for French oysters. Really and truly, if you love oysters, to eat the ones from France — which I’d never had before this trip — is a glorious, never-to-be-missed experience. I loved it so much that I’m thinking about saving up to take a trip to Brittany, to eat those sacred bivalve closer to their source. Check out this LA Times piece about going on the oyster trail in Brittany. Excerpt:

I discovered the supremacy of Brittany oysters a decade ago on a three-day trek from St.-Malo to the great gothic monastery of Mont-St.-Michel. Along the way I stopped in the village of Cancale where every waterfront restaurant had an oyster-on-the-half-shell special.

I let the first Cancale puddle on my tongue, husky with the taste of iodine and ocean floor, before releasing it down my throat, a sensory experience completely unlike ordinary eating. After I polished off the rest I sat looking over the wide, flat bay and then ordered another dozen. I could have eaten more, though perhaps not as many as the 19th century Englishman who must have set a record by consuming 12 dozen, washed down by 12 glasses of Champagne, while the clock was striking 12, according to M.F.K. Fisher in her small 1941 classic “Consider the Oyster.”

Take a look at more about oyster eating and culture in Brittany. I love to eat when I travel, but this is the first time I’ve ever actually seriously thought about a vacation built around gastronomy. Any of you readers ever been to Brittany? Tell me about it.

I’ve been to Holy Rome, and I’ve been to Holy Jerusalem. Next, I’ll go to Holy Cancale.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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